Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The New Show Review Challenge: The War At Home

I have read reviews of FOX's The War At Home that chastise it for being borderline racist, homophobic, and sexist. It is indeed all those things and that doesn't concern me. There is one reason (and only one reason) why I think The War At Home is a terrible show...it's unfunny.

The War At Home stars Michael Rapaport as Dave, a father that will draw comparisons to Archie Bunker. He blames Mary Tyler Moore for ruining women everywhere. He has issues with black men whether it's the boy dating his teenage daughter or the ones that his wife Vicky (played by Anita Barone) once dated. He thinks his son is gay for various reasons that include the fact that his son stays over his best friend's house a lot. Dave is that one person you meet who believes every stereotype is always true. The other characters apart from Dave are just cardboard sitcom cutouts. Vicky is just another smart-alecky wife who is way too good for her husband. Hillary, the teenage daughter, is the typical rebellious (and slutty) teenage girl. Larry, the son Dave thinks is gay, is the outcast middle child and Mike is that preteen boy that likes to play video games and cause trouble. There is nothing distinctive, interesting, or creative about any of these characters.

The War At Home falls into the trap that a lot of comedies fall into. It believes that it's funny because it's offensive. It thinks by making some black jokes or some gay jokes that it's automatically edgy and funny. Sadly, that's not the case. It's pathetic when Dave asks his wife if the myth about black men is true because the joke was done a whole lot better over 20 years ago in Blazing Saddles. And when the show tries to be different by using cutaways where the characters speak to the camera, it fails miserably. Everything about this show is unfunny and uninspired.

Can a comedy be funny if its main character is racist, homophobic, and sexist? Of course it can. Shows like All In The Family and South Park prove this. However, all the offensiveness in the world cannot save a tired, cliché-ridden, poorly written comedy. Michael Rapaport and the other actors involved in this show deserve something a lot better than this. FOX ought to be ashamed of themselves for greenlighting such a terrible show. If this show gets better ratings than Arrested Development, the excellent show that was previously in the post-Simpsons slot, then I think that long-rumored death of the sitcom should actually happen.

1 comment:

  1. I can always count on coming over here to find out what I do and do not want to watch on TV. You provide an invaluable service.

    Did you get the mix I sent (the one with the black marker all over the disk)?