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March 23, 2006

TV Reviews: Unan1mous, The Evidence, South Park

I'm calling my lawyer.

Last year, I sent a brilliant Reality TV idea to the FOX Network, hoping to break into the television biz. Don't get me wrong: making snide comments about television is very rewarding. However, the people who produce television get rewarded with actual MONEY, which is more rewarding. A lot more. Anyway, I sent FOX a concept for a surefire hit called "Assholes in a Room, Arguing with Each Other". Those bastards never sent me a reply; I assumed that they didn't even read my submission.

I was wrong. Not only did FOX read it, they TOTALLY RIPPED IT OFF. All they did was change the name to Unan1mous, and make one small adjustment to the plot. In their version of the show, random fuckwits are "locked" into a "bunker" where they yell at each other until they all vote for one contestant to win a big pile of money. My version of the show was exactly the same, except they all vote for one contestant who gets nothing. Nothing except the freedom to leave. Everyone else gets beaten to death by a gang of unemployed TV writers.

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The ABC Network is working their way through the Master List of Cop Show Cliches at a furious rate. After the failure of Blind Justice - a hilariously un-ironic drama about a visually impaired police officer - they have regrouped and brought us The Evidence. Starring Orlando Jones (who you may remember from his amusing 7UP ads) and Rob Estes (who you may have seen dozens of times, and still won't remember), The Evidence is a cop show with a TWIST. The twist is that they show you physical evidence of the crime du jour at the beginning of the episode, before you see the heros investigate that crime. Yes, mark your calendars, folks: on March 22, 2006, the American Broadcasting Company invented a plot device called FORESHADOWING. While you're at it, mark March 23, 2006 as the day Joey Headset invented sarcasm.

Once you get past this ingenious twist, The Evidence is an amalgamation of every played out cop show trope you've ever seen. Detective troubled by the unsolved murder of his wife? Check. Jittery camera work? Check. Cops chasing bad guy down fire escape, followed by cop jumping from overpass into moving garbage truck? Check and check. If I wasn't absolutely certain I was watching a series premiere, I would have assumed I was watching a repeat. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GET A NEW FUCKING IDEA???

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I don't like saying nice things about South Park. I've found their recent attempts at political satire to be preachy and heavy-handed. Honestly, if I wanted to watch cartoonish right wing propaganda, I'd watch FOX News. However, Wednesday's season premiere was absolutely brilliant.

If you didn't already know, last week saw the heavily publicized departure of Isaac Hayes (voice of "Chef") from the program. He left because he was offended by an episode that aired in November, satirizing Scientology (his "religion"). This was quickly followed by fellow Scientologist Tom Cruise bullying Comedy Central into never showing the offending episode again. Rather than backing down, the South Park team churned out a brilliant meta-satire of Hayes's departure - stitching together audio from old episodes to have Chef speaking just long enough to get killed off in a grotesque and humiliating manner. The episode was petty and spiteful. Just the way I like it.

Posted by Joey at March 23, 2006 04:18 AM

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