Wednesday, June 19, 2024

NBCs New Shows Look Frighteningly Bad and Possibly Racist


You can see a bunch of clips from NBC’s fall line up at I can’t bear to transfer the clips over here.

Here’s the bottom line: they look just beyond awful. The network cancelled “Law & Order,” and put thousands of New Yorkers out of work, for this tripe.

For one thing, the shows feature almost exclusively young, attractive white people. Multi-cultural is obviously not a term that’s come into play in Burbank.

Second, “Outsourced,” about a white guy who goes to India, looks pretty damned racist. “Northern Exposure” it’s not. And India is really Burbank. I felt so sorry for the Indian American actors in the clip. It’s all jokes at their expense.

“Friends with Benefits” and “Perfect Couples” should be cancelled now. Why wait? Just more thirtysomething white people, whining, playing Charades, drinking white wine in the suburbs. Why didn’t they just call it “White Whine”? Black people should just not watch NBC. I guess they don’t anyway, unelss it’s to see Tracey Morgan.

Only “Harry’s Law,” with Kathy Bates, has potential. Of course, it’s from David E. Kelly. Ben Chaplin is in the trailer, which is a good sign. And Bates gets to use the word “asshole.” Ooh. Very cutting edge. I think she’s playing Denny Crane from “Boston Legal.” But ok, why not?

Why do viewers prefer HBO and Showtime, F/X, TNT, etc? Because some actual thought goes into the creation of their shows. NBC has totally jettisoned the 10pm Thursday slot that once belonged to “ER,” “Hill Street Blues” and “LA Law” to some crappy “Sex and the City” meets “Love, American Style.”

And then there’s the whole deal with Jerry Seinfeld. “The Marriage Ref,” which I liked and I know that actually viewers liked, may not return if at all until sometime in 2011. I know that Seinfeld and co. expected to come back in the fall, like a real show, since they saved NBC after “The Jay Leno Show” got pulled.

The network needed 10pm programming, and Jerry came through with A list guests like Madonna, Larry David, and Gwyneth Paltrow. If I were Jerry, I’d be pissed. And you know what? Those “Marriage Ref” shows are going to wind up being video classics one day. I hope Jerry owns them and not NBC. Those clips of the stars are going to be valuable.

Here in Cannes it’s funny to read all these “breaking news” alerts from the network schedule announcements like they mean something. They mean nothing. Almost all the shows look just pathetic; most of them will be cancelled soon after their second or third episode. Real creativity is dead at the networks. Why would anyone watch this crap when Edie Falco is so sublime in “Nurse Jackie,” Jason Schwarzman and Ted Danson make “Bored to Death” a treat, and Debra Winger is coming to “In Treatment”?

The answer is: they won’t.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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