Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Is it me or is it them (or him)?
In the spirit of "Ok, I'll give it a try", I got the first DVD of the first season of Modern Family from Netflix because I had heard so many positive reviews.
I made it through five episodes and turned it off.
This is embarrassment comedy. I hate embarrassment comedy. Characters you are supposed to like are there to embarrass themselves over and over and over until something allegedly funny happens. That is the modus operandi for the fat kid in the family on the left, the dad in the family in the middle and the fat gay guy on the far right.
There are some good comedies in the past that went too far down that road and pulled out of the tailspin. I remember when I used to watch The Odd Couple when I was a kid and for what seems like about half a season, every episode would end with Felix not having a shred of dignity left. Too many George Costanza focused episodes on Seinfeld were that way and I stopped watching when the show originally aired, though I came back to it in re-runs.
I doubt I'm coming back to Modern Family. It's just painful to watch for me, but I will admit it's my prejudices that make it unacceptable.
On the other hand, when dealing with harrassment, the law takes into account the allegedly reasonable hypothetical person.
I believe the allegedly reasonable hypothetical person reading David Mamet's Bambi vs. Godzilla will finish the book in a near suicidal depression.
If the deeply unhappy Mr. Mamet ever commits himself, any competent mental health professional will take away his belt, shoelaces and anything sharper than a plastic pocket comb.
I've known a few writers from Hollywood, and they are an embittered bunch, not without cause. But Mamet turns cynicism and disillusion into an Olympic sport in this book. He's written and directed some of my favorite movies of the past twenty five years, but apparently it is all ashes in his mouth, which he gladly shares with anyone who is fool enough to venture into spitting range.
Let me share with you the best thing in this book. Technically, since it's a cover blurb, it's not in the book, but it's the line that drew me in, and I repeat it here to keep others from making the same mistake.
"David Mamet is supremely talented. He is a gifted writer and observer of society and its characters. I'm sure he will be able to find work somewhere, somehow, just no longer in the movie business."
Avoid this book at all costs. Your mental health is too valuable and so is your time.