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Thread: Oliver Beene: USA Today Hates It

  1. #1
    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    Oliver Beene: USA Today Hates It

    Joke's on viewers of 'Oliver Beene'
    By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY

    Please, Oliver, may we have less? Arriving in the midst of a dire sitcom slump that it can only serve to make worse, Oliver Beene represents just about everything that is wrong with the genre. Badly conceived, badly written, badly cast and badly played, this humorless exercise in reverse nostalgia serves no purpose other than to fill the spot between The Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle.

    If Fox really wants to introduce a new era in sitcoms, how about starting with a show where at least one of the main characters isn't gross or grating? If this is the best Hollywood comedy writers can do, give me Joe Millionaire II.

    Though it purports to be about a New York family in 1962, Oliver is really about other TV shows, a common fault in current sitcoms. You listen to the grown-up Oliver narrate stories about his life and his family, and all you hear is Malcolm and The Wonder Years.

    Where Malcolm rings true, Oliver rings crude. You get pee jokes, poop jokes, fart jokes which prompt the mom to say "Boys, grow up." That's not bad advice for most sitcom writers.

    Even the show's structure is stolen from better shows. With its narrator and filmed fantasies, Oliver resembles Andy Richter Controls the Universe, a vastly superior show that Fox seems determined to destroy through neglect. Indeed, if Andy had received one-tenth the promo push accorded the nearly ubiquitous Oliver, it might just be the hit it deserves to be.

    Like so many sitcom groupings, the Beenes aren't a family; they're a collection of types. Eleven-year-old Oliver (Grant Rosenmeyer) is smart, chubby and desperate to fit in. Brother Ted (Andrew Lawrence) is a dimwitted budding stud. Mom Charlotte (Wendy Makkena) is a social climber who dreams of being Jackie Kennedy.

    Which leaves the father, Jerry, a crude, loud-mouthed, penny-pinching dentist played by Grant Shaud. Those who found Shaud's nebbish routine on Murphy Brown tiresome will be surprised, though not pleased, to learn that he has found a whole new way to be tiresome. He shouts every line and punches every joke until you feel like punching back.

    In the weeks ahead, the show expands to include more of the kids' friends, including a gay-beyond-his-years little boy. It's a character that might have been funny, but instead is used as a target of cheap, out-of-period gay jokes.

    You could complain, but why bother? Oliverdoesn't need more attention.

    If anything, it needs less.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

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    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    See, I was looking forward to this show, but now I'm kind of depressed.

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    Swinging in the hammock Ilikai's Avatar
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    My morning news was talking this show up big time, of course its the Fox affiliate here too.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" -- Steve Parker

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    Drummer / Model JR.'s Avatar
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    They've been promoting this to the point of overkill, but I haven't been impressed by the commercials either.

  5. #5
    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    I thought it had potential, but now I share John's concern.

    On the other hand, most critics wouldn't know a good comedy if it hit em up side the head.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

  6. #6
    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    It did all right in the ratings. Finished 14th for the week with about 13 million viewers.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

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    Soccer Kicks Balls cali's Avatar
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    did anyone here watch??

    The commercials turn me off. Have no desire to see it.
    "Rice is great when you're hungry and want 2,000 of something' -- Mitch Hedberg

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    You don't say! Snowbie's Avatar
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    Same here, Cali.
    I watch both The Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle and purposely changed the channel when it came on in between because I didn't find the commercials for it at all funny. I hope it doesn't keep that slot.

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    I saw a few minutes of it. I can't believe they can get away with ripping off Wonder Years so blatantly.

  10. #10
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    I watched it, and it was painful.

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