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The WB: What Bunk

I will turn 35 years old this fall, which means that by the time these new shows on the WB air, I will officially be too old for the WB, which is, you know, one of those youth-obsessed networks, to be interested in whether I watch or not. But I am still 34, so I can sneak in under the wire and critique these new fall shows.

The most buzzed-about new show is Jack and Bobby, airing Sundays at 9 p.m. Now let's stop right there. Take one moment and think about what you think a show called Jack and Bobby might be about. Are you fixed on it? Good. Now what if I told you that it was about two brothers. You're on it, right? Now what if I told you that one of the brothers is destined to become President of the U.S. Uncanny how good your first instincts were.

Well, according to the WB, you're wrong. This show has nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with the Kennedys. It's always inspiring when a network respects its audience's intelligence.

The Jack and Bobby thing is merely coincidence, as it is that they're shaped by their "strong-willed" mother. I'm sure it'll be a coincidence too when Jack and Bobby both fall in love with a platinum blonde named Marilyn that threatens to tear their friendship apart...on a very special Jack and Bobby. Or when they have a fight with a neighborhood kid named Fidel that threatens to tear their world asunder...on a very special Jack and Bobby.

This is the WB, so Jack and Bobby are hunky young men, the show is set in the present day and it flashes forward to cover the presidential years. More and more, this is sounding like last year's Tarzan, with Tarzan as a hunky model who lives in New York City and has to deal with the urban "jungle." When is that on again? Oh yeah, it was so bad that I think WB pulled the show off the air in the middle of an episode and threw on a "lost" Michigan the Frog short to fill the time.

I am also intrigued by the WB's attempted resuscitations of comedians Jeff Foxworthy and Drew Carey. Foxworthy, best known as the "You might be a redneck..." guy, had a show on NBC from 1995 to 1997. That was his big break, and as you might realize, it didn't exactly turn him into Roseanne or Cosby. The WB's surrounding him with his redneck comic friends from his Blue Collar Comedy Tour for a sketch comedy show called Blue Collar TV (Wednesdays at 9). Hey, I'm from the South, I've hung out with redneck comics and eaten with them at Waffle Houses, and who doesn't enjoy a good redneck joke now and again? But even Hee-Haw had music going for it and it only lasted briefly on network before being shipped off to syndication. And that was in the Golden Age of Television Redneckdom (Mayberry RFD, Hooterville Junction, Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, etc) of the late 1960s. And there hasn't been a hit sketch comedy show in primetime since, well, never.

But Foxworthy sold a million DVDs of his comedy tour movie, and even when you factor in how many were gag gifts, that's still adds up to more viewers than the WB has seen drop by on a Wednesday ever before. The same principle follows with Drew Carey, whose show "Green Screen" airs at 9:30 after Foxworthy. The hardy band of souls who aren't sick of Carey and his rat pack of improv sycophants annoying us on ABC for the last decade will tune in to see Carey and crew. And I guess those eight people are enough to get a better rating in that time slot than whatever WB had in there before. Even Mimi is coming along, maybe the least beloved character in the history of American television! Carey is clearly a charitable soul, but what about us?

Up next: CBS.