FX, from the beginnings of the Shield to it's more recent shows 30 Days and Over There, has challenged HBO for the golden standard of television. Every show that they have put out has been incredible. Watching the last few episodes of the Shield and the first half of Rescue me, I was inundated with advertisements for two new FX shows: Starved, and It's always Sunny in Philadelphia. The ads left me no idea of the content of the shows, other than they appeared to be laugh track-less comedies. Great, I thought, Arrested Development and Scrubs could use some company to fend off the ever growing ward of crap on network tv. One problem though: The ads weren't very interesting, and I probably wouldn't have even bothered to watch had this not come from FX.
Last Thursday night, I got home from work and was excited to see the shows on my DVR. What happened from there, I had hoped to never remember, and put into print only to warn you, the loyal reader.
Starved is a laugh-track less sitcom revolving around three guys and a girl, friends with one common strand, eating disorders. The premise actually has a good deal of potential, depending on the direction they take. This could have lead to something like scrubs: great comedy mixed with moving drama. Not so much, as this show goes out of its way to make all four main characters unlikable. From the police officer who pulls over an Asian food delivery man and solicits a bribe for food, to the main character who eats detergent covered cupcakes out of his trash and has sociopathic traits in his dating. These four are an unsympathetic bunch, and as such, there is just no feeling in the sappy music wrap up at the end. Of the two, however, this is the one with all the potential. The writing is better, and the jokes are on a higher level. As for the whole eating disorder controversy, the jury is out as to whether this is a gimmick that goes out of it's way to be disturbing, or it can truely work in the show. One thing for sure, the groups up in arms about this are giving it more publicity than it's worth. 2/5, with a hope that this one picks itself up.
It's always sunny.., the more balls out comedy, the more (they wish) Arrested Development to Stacked's Scrubs, is pure garbage. The only thing that this one has going for it is the lack of laugh track, but it could be on there and not make a difference. The writing is weak, relying on copious amounts of exposition to give the characters...character. The jokes are of the ultra-contrived, see them coming a mile away variety, making must see tv look like Arrested Development in the process. The no name actors look as if they are reading cue cards, and worst of all, the pilot is the most derivative crap I have ever seen. There is not one new strand of anything here, it's all recycled garbage. 0/5, and those responsible should be shot. I want that 22 minutes back. At least the show is tanking in ratings and will likely be Mineared shortly.
All in all, FX, WTF? I know HBO hasn't exactly been golden with the Comeback and Deadwood lately, but at least those shows aren't complete ass like Philly, or utter failures like Starved. Liguori, you are already missed. Hopefully you'll bring FOX up to the standard that you set, in the Pre-Comedy era of FX.