Tag Archives: mid-season replacement

When I’m wrong

Back in March of last year, I spanked Ron Howard’s new family drama Parenthood.

It had suffered the double misfortune of being forced to miscast its lead actress (Maura Tierney, who had become seriously ill) and enter the television year at mid-season, following the hugely popular breakout comedy Modern Family.

Thanks for playing, guys, but the family show and hit of the year had already been crowned.

I was also disappointed in what I found to be stereotypical characters and storylines.  But I had already set the DVR — the cast, including Lauren Graham, Peter Krause and T. Craig Nelson, was really good, after all — so I hung around to see what developed.

Two years later, I’m still here. 

And last night, when Alex broke up with Haddie — and told Kristina that she was the mother he had never had and that he loved their family — it was gut-wrenching.  I literally blubbered.  As I struggled to see the TV screen through my tears, the memory of that blog entry floated in my memory’s eye.

Mea culpa.

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Judging Amy

I don’t think Amy Poehler should be the guest host for the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.”

In the two years since she left the show, she’s been back numerous times to do stints on “Weekend Update,” imitate Hillary Clinton, and guest star on the Betty White special.  She still seems like a member of the cast.

Why bring her back now as a “guest host,” especially when the show is introducing four new cast members?

The two new girls — Vanessa Bayer from Second City and Taran Killiam from The Groundlings — will already have to fight tooth and nail for every moment on stage, since most female roles seem to go automatically to Kristen Wiig.

Now you’re adding Amy Poehler to the mix…so all they can hope for is the rudimentary waitress role or maybe the face-in-the crowd scene.  If they get lucky, they’ll be a reporter asking a question from the audience.

Wow — that rocks.

Don’t get me wrong.  When you consider all “Saturday Night Live” femmes — current and former — Amy is near the top of the list.  She’s not only an amazing improviser, character actor and comedienne, but in all interviews and conversations, she appears to be a down-to-earth, nice person.

That is a rare compliment indeed in that business.

But half the fun of “Saturday Night Live” is bringing in an A-list celebrity who’s not the first name in comedy and seeing what they can do.  Remember how unexpectedly great Peyton Manning was as a guest host?  Or Brian Williams from “NBC Nightly News”?  Even a great dramatic actor can quickly lose his footing on SNL — or be amazing like Christopher Walken.  And that’s what we want to see…not a very-very-recent cast member who seems like she never left.

So, while I’m sad Amy’s sitcom “Parks and Recreation” is on hiatus until mid-season — and she’s no doubt looking to fill her schedule — I think there are plenty of other celebs out there (not to mention the new cast members, hello) who are chomping at the bit for the opportunity to show what they can do in the comedy arena.

But Amy?  Girl, you’re good to go.  Give our best to Will and the boys.

Behave!

Dear producers of ‘Parenthood’ on NBC:

When I first heard that this movie remake was coming to television — and that Ron Howard was attached — I was pretty excited.  Visions of  ‘Arrested Development’ started swirling in my brain.

Heady stuffy.

Then you guys had a bad break when actress Maura Tierney became ill, and you were forced to re-cast and delay the series to mid-season.  Now you are the ‘other family show;’  the brilliant “Modern Family” has already captured the imagination and allegiance of the American audience and the critics.

Admittedly, you have started in a hole.  But now your writers are digging you an even deeper one.

With all the talent you have in place — Lauren Graham, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Monica Potter and Dax Shepherd —  you are wasting them on tired storylines and family conflict we have seen time and time again.  Sure, a diagnosis of Asperger’s is unique to network television, but your treatment of the issue isn’t.

Your actors are better than this.  And if you loosen the reins a bit, I’ll bet your writers are, too.

Your parents are watching.  Make them proud.