Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Given the weird way my brain works, and how often those aberrant processes are on display here, you may not be terribly surprised to hear that right now, on the cusp of my long-awaited summer beach vacation, I am thinking a lot about the fall. My mind just can’t help constantly looking ahead, and since the vacation is practically here and now, I’m gazing down the road at what comes next. The week at the beach is more or less the end of summer, ergo, autumnal type musings.

A year from now we’ll be getting ready to send the little guy off to kindergarten, but I’m not future-casting quite that far yet. School years will dominate decades to come in our house, but for now the cultural significance of the turn of the seasons is still pinned primarily to sports and the tv schedule, and that means I’m mentally preparing myself for the return of my beloved Community, minus its mastermind Dan Harmon.

I should be bracing for said return in just a matter of weeks, but of course NBC cannot stop messing with me and all the other Community fans, and will not be bringing the show back for its fourth season until late October, at which point it will air on Friday nights rather than Thursdays and be sandwiched between Whitney and Grimm, two shows I would be hard-pressed to care less about. I’ve honestly never seen Grimm, but it’s so weird I could see myself maybe getting sucked into it after Community through sheer inertia; Whitney, on the other hand, I have sat through once or twice and I’m anticipating that I will rarely do so again, opting rather to enjoy the fact that I can put the kids to bed without having to race against a 7:59 pm deadline to make sure I don’t miss any must-see moments. I can use that extra half hour before Community to wash the pots and pans from dinner or something.

On the silver-lined side, my wife and I were beginning to feel the irresistible urge to get DVR service from the cable company, because her Friday night work schedule would have her missing Friday night episodes of Community otherwise … but that’s become a moot point since she should be off the clinic schedule completely by early October and down to one job, teaching only during more-or-less normal workaday hours. But, again, that’s a happy happenstance for us with my wife’s career realignment, and has nothing to do with NBC doing us any favors.

Still, NBC is bringing Community back, despite having no obligation (and arguably few good reasons) to do so, and I can’t deny a feeling of something like gratitude in my geeked-out heart. I even saw some ads touting the new Whitney/Community Friday night combo meal during the Olympics, so apparently the network hasn’t completely forsaken it to a slow death of utter neglect. The fourth season may be a total trainwreck without Harmon, or it may be a pale reflection of former glories but still fun and worth hanging out with, or (the optimist grins with savage desperation) it might even be better than ever in a crazy rising-from-the-ashes kind of way. Nothing to it but to view it, and so we shall. But of course the thought occurs that maybe I should keep an eye out for another show to transfer my affection to, if Community finally succumbs to a fatal case of ratings deficiency.

What I did not expect was that a promising candidate for my mental investment would be the Munsters reboot.

I know, I know, this sounds like a TERRIBLE idea. The Munsters was a thoroughly dumb show; I didn’t even like it much when I was a kid and it was in syndicated reruns after school, this despite generally enjoying all things monstrous and horror-inflected AND having a weakness for zoning out to sitcoms, both from a pretty young age. But The Munsters just didn’t do anything for me. And the forthcoming reboot, Mockingbird Lane, is not a sitcom but an hourlong drama. Or dramedy? Either way, portentous, and possibly pretentious. Portentious!

OK, fine, given. And yet, I give you four words (plus a promo picture) of hope:

Possibly that photo is too small and/or too artsily fuzzed out for you to be able to cdetermine what it is supposed to be (you may click to embiggen if you like) but the four words are EDDIE IZZARD AS GRANDPA. That is he, in his totally baller red-velvet vampire robes, baby.

I love Eddie Izzard, I really do, and I can’t help but root for things he’s involved with to succeed. I tried watching The Riches when it debuted a few years back, but that show definitely took itself way too seriously to be much fun. (Plus the accents were a bit distracting.) Mockingbird Lane is, must be, fundamentally so inherently ridiculous that I can’t imagine it suffering from the same hang-ups with self-seriousness. And as if Eddie Izzard weren’t enough of a draw (and he is), the show also has Portia de Rossi playing Lily, and she has won me over big time as I’ve belatedly gotten into Arrested Development. Two ringers in the cast about a family of five is a pretty decent ratio. Granted, Herman is being played by Jerry O’Connell, who has frequently struck me as kind of a douchebag in desperate need of repeated punches to the face, but I am willing to let that slide and fully watch the hell out of this show! That’s how much I love Eddie Izzard! (And, to be fair, monster/horror stuff, campy or not.)

So, of course, with this much enthusiasm on my side for a project so outrageously absurd it might just prove to be genius, NBC has gone right ahead and … taken the Mockingbird Lane pilot off its fall schedule and pushed the series premier off to some time in 2013, if ever. Oh, National Broadcast Company, why you gotta treat me so wrong?

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