Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sarah Is Magic

The Sarah Silverman Program Thursday 2.1 (Comedy Central) Series Debut: Loved her movie Jesus is Magic, but not the stand-up comedy bits? Something is seriously wrong with you, which is why The Sarah Silverman Program exists. Silverman plays herself in a loosely-scripted “sitcom” that breaks into musical numbers and animation-hallucinations on a dime, antagonizing her sister Laura (played by her sister, Laura Silverman), nerdy gay neighbors Brian and Steve (Brian Posehn and Steve Agee—probably not really gay) and Officer Jay (Jay Johnston—probably not really a cop) with her Wacky Sarah Antics. Silverman’s cute-girl-who-says-horrible-things shtick (“Today I learned that elderly black women are wise beyond their years … but that young black women are prostitutes”) may lose its punch as she becomes more famous (jagshemash, Borat), but her Program’s debut episode—wherein Sarah’s arrested for driving drunk on cough syrup—promises she has plenty of other tricks up her snotty sleeve … and they’re way more strange and scary. Best line of the ep: “And that’s how I got into crack—Latter-day Saints, my ass.”

Mad TV Saturday 2.3 (Fox) Mary Lynn Rajskub of 24 drops by and mistakes the Asian guy from Mad TV for the Asian guy from Heroes. Yes, it is a gross underutilization of her comedic talents, and furthers the ongoing “Who’s Geek-Sexier: 24’s Chloe or The Office’s Pam?” negotiations not one iota. Far be it from True TV to suggest a pressed-shirts-and-bare-knuckles brawl between the actresses on the later-night Talk Show With Spike Feresten to settle the score, but … who’s Spike Feresten? Come on, we’ve been over this before …

Super Bowl XLI Sunday 2.4 (CBS) Chicago Bears vs. Indianapolis Colts at Dolphin Stadium in Miami: Damn, that’s a lot of animal names … and thus ends my entire span of interest in the Super Bowl. What I really want to know is: Why is CBS plugging an episode of Criminal Minds in the coveted post-Bowl slot? The show’s already an inexplicably huge hit; it’s not like it needs the viewer-boost or anything—why not give the more ratings-deficient sitcoms How I Met Your Mother and/or The Class a shot? Surely, either could stand up against such stiff Super Bowl counter-programming as …

Puppy Bowl III Sunday 2.4 (Animal Planet) It’s still just a bunch of stupid hairballs nuzzling each other around on a miniature plastic football field, with a kitten halftime show and, a first this season, a tailgate party. Get it? Tail-gate? Wait, don’t eat that shotgun barrel just yet: Puppy Bowls I and II are now available on DVD! Why oh why do the terrorists hate us so?

Rules of Engagement Monday 2.5 (CBS) Series Debut: Because of lazy-ass sitcoms like this. Didn’t think anything could come along to make Fox’s ‘Til Death (which, by the way, is still on) look like revolutionary television, but Rules of Engagement … yeah, even the title’s phoning it in. All you need to know: Patrick Warburton and Megyn Price are the bitter married couple, Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich are the starry-eyed engaged couple, David Spade is the blissfully single ‘n’ snarky poon-hound, and then nothing happens for a few weeks until The New Adventures of Old Christine comes back.

Lost Wednesday 2.7 (ABC) Return: Does Jack save or sacrifice Ben? Do Kate and Sawyer get away? What’s the deal with Juliet? Are any of these names ringing a bell? You know, since they’ve been off the air for three months and about 12 new Wednesday ABC dramas have come and gone—all of which answered more questions and tied up more plotlines in swift cancellation than Lost has in two-and-a-half seasons? All’s I’m saying is, kill Charlie. It’s time.

The Comedians of Comedy/Live at the El Rey
Combo DVD of the 2005 tour movie The Comedians of Comedy (Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Zach Galifianakis and Maria Bamford, mostly off-stage) and a show at L.A’s El Rey. If the term “alternative comedy” means anything to you, get this.

The Festival Fake reality-doc comedy from the Independent Film Channel, about a nobody filmmaker desperately trying to screen his movie at the Sundance-ish Mountain United Film Festival (nice acronym). As a satire of such fests and Hollywood, genius; casual observers, best just move along.

Flyboys The fighter pilots of World War I were all hunky male models? Every plane in the German fleet was painted like the Red Baron’s? Historical inaccuracies aside (never cross a WWI buff), Flyboys at least features some great aerial shots and action sequences—and no Nickelback.

Lucky Louie Love it or hate it (there’s no middle ground), Louis C.K.’s Lucky Louie was like no other HBO series before it, capturing the drab-cheap look of bad ‘80s sitcoms and jolting the system with foul language and strictly adult content. Now if it had only been funny enough for a second season.

More New DVD Releases (1.30) Catch a Fire, Dallas: Season 6, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: Season 1, Law & Order: SVU: Season 3, The Marine

The Class CBS’ freshman sitcom has undergone mucho tinkering since its September debut (buh-bye, newscaster lady) and even scored a left-field People’s Choice Award—despite all this, it’s still funny. Now the network is posting video of The Class table reads and show rehearsals, of interest to those who prefer old-school theater interactivity to video-blog amateur hour.