Shows I’m Not Watching Anymore:
“The O.C.” Through its first season, I was captivated by this show’s mix of self-aware humor and guilty-pleasure soap opera plots. But after three episodes of the new season, I completely lost interest. It’s not outrageous enough to be as much fun as a daytime soap opera, and it’s not funny enough to keep me watching for humor’s sake. It became bland and forgettable to me. What Fills the Void: “Point Pleasant.” This show has all the character prototypes from “The O.C.,” and much of the same soap-opera cheesiness — yet it’s ALSO about a girl who is the spawn of the devil! All “The O.C.” ever needed, really, was some true, end-of-days evil, and I’d have kept with it.
“American Idol.” I quit this one near the end of last season, when I realized I didn’t care which of the final four contestants won. I was set to come back this season, until I learned Fox had scheduled four weeks of audition episodes. I love bad auditions as much as anyone, but FOUR WEEKS of them? No thank you. I might pick it up again when they’ve actually selected the finalists to see if there’s anyone I want to root for. What Fills the Void: Listening to William Hung’s CD over and over and over again.
“Medical Investigation.” I had no medical dramas on my schedule when this one premiered last fall, so I gave it a look and found it entertaining. But after six episodes I realized the formula was never going to change, and tedium set in. Every week there’s a minor outbreak of some mysterious illness, a crew of specialists fly in to investigate, and eventually they figure out what it is. A show with a premise this inherently formulaic ought to have shown somewhere in the first handful of episodes that it could avoid the pitfall and change things up a bit when necessary. “Medical Investigation” didn’t do that, and for me the formula got old pretty quick. What Fills the Void: “House.” It’s also formulaic — in fact, it’s almost the SAME formula, except the patients come to the team of doctors rather than the doctors flying around the country — but with a critical difference: Its main character, Dr. House, is an arrogant, sarcastic jerk, and the show is often surprisingly funny. It’s a formula with a twist, and that will keep my attention a little longer.
“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Once again, the formula became dull. This show needs some variety, but quick. I was amused by a recent episode in which the Fab Five went to England to help a straight guy — a real variation, except that the straight guy and his wife were Americans who happened to be living in England. So there was really no variation at all. I like the idea of going to other countries — or heck, even going to non-NYC places in THIS country — but don’t stop there. Find us a blind straight guy, or a straight guy in a wheelchair, or a bisexual guy, or a woman, or a high school student. Once they helped a man in his 60s, and it was fascinating to see how an older man reacted to everything, to see how different his needs were from a 25-year-old guy’s, and how much they were the same, too. The episode where they helped throw a wedding for a couple where the man was about to go to Iraq? Beautiful. The new “Queer Eye for the Straight Girl” series needs to chucked and its basic ideas folded into the original “Queer Eye.” Let the Fab Five makeover ANYONE, not just the basic “sloppy straight guys with commitment issues and pretty girlfriends” type. The show needs more variety like that if I’m ever going to watch it again. What Fills the Void: Nothing, really. This is the only makeover show I’ve ever watched, except for one time when I watched “Pimp My Ride” just so I could make fun of it.