Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Freestyle 11/11/09 - Hank, The Rise and Fall of WCW

ABC cancelled the underperforming sitcom "Hank" this week. I will admit to watching the premiere. I knew it was going to be bad, but I felt like being "in" on the new season somehow, and I'm a huge fan of "Frasier." This show was just remarkably generic. I don't think it says anything about the future viability of the multi-camera sitcom. I still think it's possible to work that form well. But "Hank" came out of the box looking tired and still hoped audiences would watch. It didn't help matters that it was part of a block of modern comedy; shows outside of the studio without the canned laughter.

The whole premise was that Hank was finally joining the "real" world after losing a high-powered, high-salary job. The parts of the show involving the kids were just bad. If you turned the closed captioning on during those scenes, it must have said "[insert generic dad-can't-relate-to-his-kids story arc]." There was nothing about it that showed care was taken with the script. It could have been leftover from 80s pilot hell for all I knew.

Most of the sitcoms I cherish lack plots where kids grind the pace to a cutesy halt. WKRP, "Seinfeld," etc.
The early "Home Improvement" episodes had that working against them. What sitcoms integrated kids well?

I watched the documentary portion of WWE's "Rise and Fall of WCW" DVD set. If it's not the worst main feature they've produced, it's certainly the worst I've seen. The documentary didn't know which timeframe to devote most of its time to, and was very uneven. Instead of keeping tabs on the in-ring product, this program was far too obsessed with who was in charge. Particularly in the 90s (even though that period was covered on the Monday Night War DVD) there was a disappointing lack of covering what made WCW a success. I know most of the inside goings-on thanks to wrestling journalism. But even equipped with that knowledge, the main program was difficult to get into. If you're going to buy it, let the match selection guide you, because the documentary is a waste of time.

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