I know, I know, it seems like only eight short months ago that we were treated to the beginnings of the new fall TV season, but here we are already in May, the month of the season finale. We laughed along with the drug-fueled hijinks of That 70s Show, we cried at the trials and tribulations of Dawson's Creek, and we stared blankly at James Cameron's Dark Angel, but all good things must come to an end, so here we are, left only with memories as we look back at the past year of quality television. Since we here at PULP have little to do with our time save watch TV and embark on the occasional excursion to shoot off cap guns in retirement homes, I've taken the time to compile a list of the TV shows that were watched regularly back in PULP's Montreal headquarters. Then, once I realized that the list comprised the entirety of the TV Guide, save WTN and BET, I whittled it down to a list of the shows that were watched and actually enjoyed, or at least given the dignity of a comment or two. So here's a brief synopsis of some of PULP's least hated shows.
Boston Public: Although I'm generally opposed to David E. Kelly, and by extension anything that can be described as 'quirky', I found myself oddly captivated by this TV show. It's not that it reminded me of my high school years, since my high school was nowhere near this insane, but watching it has allowed me to formulated a sort of false memory syndrome similar to the satanic ritual abuse scandal of the mid-eighties. Now, instead of remembering high school as five years spent locked in a dark room watching Boris Karloff movies while pretending to be video editing, I recall a much more vivid and exciting experience, replete with attractive, hip, and off-the-wall teachers, sex scandals, and weekly crises one level of ludicrousness removed from monkey-men invasions.
Dark Angel: It takes a lot of work to make a TV show this bad and keep it on the air for a full season. And, since a great deal of effort was apparently put in to make the program as truly ridiculous as possible, I feel as if I should at least respect their work and tune into the adventures of Jessica Alba's collagen injections each and every week.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Over the years, my childish attraction to Sarah Michelle Gellar's lithe, athletic body and buoyant blonde personality has transformed into revulsion towards her jagged, angular features and buoyant blonde idiocy. However, similar to a train-wreck or a Joel Schumacher film, I am repulsed yet unable to turn away.
Grounded For Life: This new FOX sitcom was touted as being a brand new approach to the sit-com format. It was supposed to be less one-liner oriented, and more laid back, with the humour coming from the situations and the characters as opposed to quippy dialogue, less like Friends and more like crap. Yes, the new approach was apparently to not make any jokes and see if people watched anyway. Well, it worked. I'm hooked.
C.S.I: A really interesting forensic science show that, if nothing else, has made me rethink my planned future career of serial killing in lieu of something a little easier to pull off in this day and age of DNA analysis and psychological profiling, like maybe spree murders or domestic terrorism.
Normal, Ohio: Truly one of the most atrocious shows to ever hit prime time TV. John Goodman played a gay man who moves back to his small-minded hometown, where bigotry and prejudice make for some high-class humour. It's not the stereotypical and painfully unfunny portrayal of homosexuality that bothered me, but rather that John Goodman had a tendency to laugh off the insults thrown his way, and seeing his elephantine figure jiggle like Jell-O in a blender is enough to put me off gay-bashing for years.
Grosse Point: Actually a very funny show that set out to satirize the world of prime time soaps like Beverly Hills 90210 or Party of Five. Satire, which is what Hollywood resorts to when it can't come up with anything original, is a fine art, far removed from mere mockery, in that to spell it you need an entirely different group of letters, and the writers of Grosse Point had mastered it quite well until the show disappeared into the quagmire known as the WB.
Freakylinks: I was determined to like this program, despite its stupid name and stupider premise, but it got yanked so fast I thought it was The Michael Richards Show. The idea appears to have been to make an X-Files-type show for retarded people, but that proved to be too challenging, so instead it ended up being a higher budget version of Psi-Factor, which is The X-Files for stoned people. Nevertheless, it had its moments, most notably when they ran a trailer for The Gift during one of the commercial breaks, and I was sad to see it go.
The Man Show: A high class study of post-feminist backlash hosted by Jimmy Kimmel from Win Ben Stein's Money and some ugly guy who bears a striking resemblance to an ostrich. The jokes and skits themselves aren't all that great, but as the hosts continually drink draught beer throughout the course of the program, watching them get progressively more inebriated as the show goes on is well worth the price of admission.
In retrospect, this season was a bit of a disappointment, with only daytime soap Passions and endlessly looped Destiny's Child music videos saving me from having to do something productive with my spare time, liking curing world peace or working on my blueprints for Jenna Jameson breeding camps. I'm hoping that over the rerun season, I'll discover a show that's actually worth watching, but judging from what I've seen so far, that's about as likely as Antonio Banderas learning English during the summer months, so I'm not holding my breath. With any luck, next season will shape up a bit better, and PULP will be right there to tear it back down again. Provided I'm not bust watching Passions.