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Two New Reasons to Laugh Sunday Nights

January 7, 2011

Earlier this week I was accused of pimpin’ for Showtime. Twice. All I can say is fuck that; they send me information. If other networks, movies, artists, chefs, stores, bars, whatever want some shinetime on the sofa, then don’t be stingy with the details. Let a muthafucka know what’s going on with your network, movie, art, food, store, bar, whatever. It’s pretty damn simple. With that, let me give you more information about SHOWTIME.

This Sunday night the network debuts two new shows. One, a comedy built around an Americanized version of a hit British show; the other, a dramedy based on a popular British show. No, the irony is not lost…

photo credit: Showtime

episodes, starring Matt LeBlanc as a tongue-in-cheek version of himself, is a seven-part series about Sean and Beverly Lincoln (Sean Mangan and Tamsin Greig, respectively), a British couple who, fresh off their latest win at the BAFTA Awards, are offered the opportunity to bring their show, Lyman’s Boys, to an American network. Attracted by the lure of Hollywood, Sean immediately is excited and convinces his wife to give America a try. She does and comedy ensues.

Immediately the couple are thrown into turmoil, being forced by the network to recreate the show (somehow the series switches from an erudite headmaster at a boys’ school who is in love with a middle-aged lesbian to a dim-witted hockey coach who routinely hits on a hot librarian) around the decision to recast the lead with LeBlanc. Incidentally, LeBlanc is doing good work here. I might forgive him for Joey with this one. Not sure about the movie with the monkey yet, but we will see. The gray hair definitely works.

The rest of the cast includes John Pankow, who plays the head of the network, a big kid who makes decisions on a whim, without realizing how those decisions affect others’ lives; Mircea Monroe, the sexy librarian who is way older than one might surmise; and Kathleen Rose Perkins, the second-in-command at the network and queen of Hollywood doublespeak. I love how she so brazenly lies, but then, when asked a direct question (as always happens when being approached by Greig’s Beverly), she is just as brazen with her honesty.

The show is quite funny and the thirty minutes pass by quickly. I immediately wanted to watch the next episode after viewing the pilot. The primary humor is supposed to be the culture shock the Lincolns go through as they encounter the shallowness of Hollywood, but let’s be honest: they were already working in the TV industry in England; they know the ropes. That being said, I still love the dry wit, the facial expressions and the multiple moments of speechlessness that give the Lincolns pause. Greig, especially, is a find. She owns every scene she is in. I truly hope this is her launching board for more future projects in the States.

photo credit: Showtime

The other series, Shameless, is apparently much closer to the original than what is portrayed with episodes‘ show-with-a-show. Starring William H. Macy, the show features a ragtag group of children who deal with their father’s alcoholism, life and paying the bills with a grace that could only happen on TV. They’re poor, they’re proud, they’re loud, they’re fighters. They’re shameless. Get it? We do. It’s clear.


Having only seen the pilot, my thoughts: Macy has a much lighter presence than I imagined. He might have had the least amount of lines of any of the main cast. His role reminded me immediately of Martin Sheen’s when The West Wing first came onto the scene. Present, but not a lot of screen time. Emmy Rossum as the oldest daughter who runs the household, looks perfectly poor throughout the episode: she’s a pretty girl, but her hair’s always awry, her smile crooked. Bravo to the beauty department for that. Jeremy Allen White and Cameron Monaghan, as the two teenage brothers with raging hormones (White for girls, Monaghan for guys), provide the best relationship of the show. I hope we get plenty from them.

I accidentally read a review of Shameless. I wanted to form my own opinion without any outside sources. That being said, they hated the show and gave it a D. I don’t get that. I appreciate the way in which Macy plays his role, with a wink to the audience. I like the way the family interacts; yeah, they would argue more in real life, but I’m not going to complain about that. I will give the show a chance and see how it develops over the season.

And that’s my newest shout out to Showtime. Anybody got a response?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2011 5:26 PM

    Well, I saw the sneak peak of Shameless …(the bastards gave us 15 mins of the first episode). You didn’t mention the sexually deviant neighbors. I am looking forward to it and think it might be a good replacement for Weeds which seem to be on it’s way out. As for your check, if more of us give you more hits, the other networks will come knocking with that check book. Come on independent thinkers, artists and all the interesting people that should be reading this blog. Let’s help our brother out


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