You be the judge.
You be the judge.
Oh, this looks so bad. So very, very, very bad. Like, “Rosie Live” bad.
The idea of giving the Osbournes their own comedy-variety show is not in and of itself a bad idea. When I first heard about “Osbournes: Reloaded,” I immediately had thoughts of my favorite cheesy, kitschy variety shows from the ’70s – see the collected works of Sonny & Cher, Donny & Marie, and, of course, “The Brady Bunch Hour” – and could totally imagine Ozzy, Sharon, Jack, and Kelly either turning the genre on its head or totally and utterly camping it up. Either way, I was actually kind of excited to see what might evolve out of this concept. But when they showed us clips from the show, I was horrified to see a mixture of in-studio shenanigans with audience members (they blindfold a guy, tell him he’s going to kiss the beautiful girl in front of him, then switch her out with a wrinkled old woman) and hidden-camera hijinks (the Osbournes working at a fast-food drive-thru). There was a sketch with little kids playing Sharon and Ozzy (cue the cursing 5-year-old), plus a brief clip of the Osbournes trying to guess who their mystery special guest for the week was. The one lone humorous concept came from a bit called “The Osbournes Meet The Osbournes,” where the gang goes around the country to meet other families who share their last name, but even that seems like it would get old really quickly.
More disappointing than this footage, however, was the fact that, as a family unit, the Osbournes remain just as entertaining and charismatic as they were in the days of their then-groundbreaking MTV reality series.
What a waste. What a bloody waste.
And, yet, I guess it was too hopeful to expect something like that from the Osbournes in the first place, particularly when you could see Kelly bristle at the mere mention of the term “variety show.”
“See, that frightens us,” she said. “The way that we see that it’s a variety show is that there’s a variety of different things. And with no disrespect to other variety shows from the past because, I mean, they made the TV of today. It’s just not what we do. We’re not going to be Sonny-and-Chering it.”
Wait, didn’t I just go to one of these press tours…?
Actually, that was back in July, when the networks were busy pimping their new fall schedules; this time, they were presenting us with an idea of what we can expect to see on our favorite broadcast and cable channels from now until they premiere their next fall schedule.
Going out to L.A. in January was a new thing for me, though. It was my first winter tour since becoming a member of the Television Critics Association in 2007 – last year’s was canceled due to the writers’ strike – and, if the rumblings throughout the ballrooms at the Universal Hilton were any indication, it may well prove to be my last January tour. I’m hopeful that this presumption turns out to be inaccurate, but given the current economic climate and an increasing tendency for newspapers and publications to only send their TV critics out for one tour per year, there’s every reason to suspect that the networks will join suit and only be willing to pamper those critics once per year.
Sorry, did I say “pamper”? Of course, I meant, “Treat with the utmost respect.”
It feels a bit odd to be doing a wrap-up of my experiences at the tour before I’ve even had a chance to write up all of the panels I attended while I was out there, but, hey, when you get a good spot on the calendar, you make it work however you can. So still keep your eyes open for my ongoing pieces on the various shows you can expect to find on the broadcast networks during the next few months, but in the meantime, here’s a look at some of the best and worst bits from the January ’09 tour as a whole.
Most enjoyable panel by a cable network: “Rescue Me,” FX.
I’ve been a big Denis Leary fan every since No Cure for Cancer, so I knew the guy was inevitably going to go off on a profanity-filled rant before the end of the panel. What I didn’t expect, however, was that Peter Tolan – who co-created the show with Leary – would start the proceedings by telling Leary to watch his mouth, adding, “If you were going to say ‘cunt,’ don’t.”
From there, the two of them seemingly battled each other in an attempt to offer up the most memorable line. Leary complained about his salary. (“I had a crazy idea of getting paid, like, $250,000 an episode. They put limits on that, let me tell you. That’s Kiefer Sutherland money right there.”) Then Tolan claimed that he was at fault for the show’s fourth-season slump, blaming it on a drug problem and that “I was heavy into a kazillion hookers that year.” Then Leary bitched about how Michael J. Fox was going to guest on “Rescue Me” and get the Emmy that Leary himself has yet to earn. (“Five fucking episodes, he comes in. God damn, $700 million from ‘Spin City.’ He never asked me to do the show. He’s going to walk away with the fucking Emmy. That son of a bitch.”) Then Tolan started mocking Hugh Laurie’s American accent by talking about how he could do a British accent. (“Aye, pip, pip, mate, aye! ‘Allo, Mary Poppins!”) And…well, as you can see, there was really no contest: this may well have been the greatest panel ever.