My favorite autumn sport is upon us—and I don’t mean football. The fall TV season dawned last month, to near-universal disgust. Critical affection for Last Resort and Nashville has been heavily outweighed by the unintentional horrors of 666 Fifth Avenue and its hideous brethren. But as we slide towards November, the season of TV carnage has come at last.
Cancellation should be a sad occasion. The shows that have already fallen—Made in Jersey and Animal Practice—have been replaced with new episodes of the vile Undercover Boss and the viler Whitney. When we get to January, we’ll be treated to even more dismal mid-season replacements. Remember ¡Rob!? But even though we know cancellation only heralds something worse, it’s hard not to smile when the networks get it wrong.
Tortured relentlessly by promos for bad television, sports fans cheer the loudest when something like Animal Practice is cancelled. We first encountered this trash-heap during the Olympics, and knew from the first promo that a doctor comedy starring a Capuchin monkey would not live to Halloween. Over the next 742 promos we were forced to watch, this conviction hardened into hatred, then fury. When the cancellation announcement came down last week, we cheered, “I told you so! I told you so!”, cackling like a Roman emperor when a lion got hold of a particularly heavyset Christian.
Now that the bloodletting has started, whose jugular will open next? Here’s what I’m rooting for:
The Mob Doctor, Fox. The unimaginative title is the cleverest part of the show. Our mob doctor is an honorable physician whose talents are taken advantage of by a cadre of unscrupulous cartoon mobsters, who seem to spend most of their time grousing about how “fugeddaboutit, there’s no such thing as honor any more,” and making threats that they won’t follow through on. We know these guys are toothless because, if they were the kinds of hoods we’ve gotten to know and love on cable TV, the sassy doc wouldn’t last two weeks. On TV, she’s lasted four, but will probably be whacked soon. I’m particularly looking forward to this show’s cancellation because my girlfriend likes it, and I’m sick of listening to it while doing the dishes.
The New Normal, NBC. Tired of critical success that’s not mirrored in the ratings, the peacock is closing down 30 Rock, The Office and Community to replace them with creative masterworks like Matthew Perry Plays A Jerk, Three Guys With Kids Behave Like Children, and Network Executives Scramble To Capitalize on The Gays. That last gem, retitled The New Normal, is among the laziest programming in a competitively lazy field. Of course, this has earned it decent ratings—better than anything else on NBC, anyway—and it will probably survive to see who wins the Presidential election. Vote Romney—he might cancel The New Normal.
Partners, CBS. This show has actually been drawing decent ratings, but CBS is such a powerhouse of lowbrow entertainment that they make a habit of killing the weakest show each season. There’s something I love about that—it’s positively vicious. I haven’t seen this comedic gem, but Wikipedia’s description makes it sound thrilling. “Although they could not be more different,” we are told, “Louis and Joe are lifelong friends and partners in an architecture firm. Their ‘bromance’ is tested when Joe gets engaged and Louis is in a new relationship.” Ah, CBS. Doing their best to cash in on a five year-old bromantic trend. Truly, they are the people’s network.
It’s likely that at least one of these abominations gets taken out back and shot sometime this week. While I continue to root for Nashville to succeed, for the rest of the fall lineup, I’m buying tickets to the execution.