BY ALEX RUSSELL
My DVR’s generally pretty full. I imagine yours is, too. So why do we all keep recording The Office?
It’s simple enough to say “eh, there’s only a few left” and just ride out a show that’s lost a step but is almost over. A classic example is Scrubs, except instead of “losing a step” it took a step off a cliff that was above a building that was on fire. But what about a show you used to love that is just starting to suck? What about letting all that Veep or Archer build up because you have to stay caught up on shows you’re already bored with?
That’s a ridiculous example, of course, because you watch Archer instantly every Thursday because you’re not a goddamned monster. Other than that, though, let’s figure it out.
I picked three shows on my DVR that I’d like to remove but feel compelled to keep. I tried to pick things I don’t want to give the full Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind lobotomy to and instead focused on things that I have great memories of in earlier seasons but now don’t like as much. I also stuck to comedies because it’s much harder to give up on dramas. The Walking Dead would fit this list otherwise, but because a gypsy once cursed me to need to know what all governors everywhere are doing at all times it has to stay.
(Editor’s note: Hearing of this curse, now it finally makes sense why Alex moved from Tennessee to Chicago.)
I’ve been pretty mean to this season of The Office on this site before, so most of this doesn’t need repeating. If anything, though, it’s getting worse as it creeps to the finish line. There still are funny moments (they recently used Bob Odenkirk well as a terrifying warning sign to Pam that bosses like Michael Scott are everywhere) and they are actually wrapping up plot points most weeks, but I just don’t care about these characters anymore. Most shows try to end by answering questions. What left is there to answer, here? I guess we need to know about Angela’s marriage and if Jim and Pam will move? Do we, though? If there were more than the scheduled seven 30-minute chunks left, it would be scary to see how NBC handled this in the off season. Last week’s episode drew fewer viewers than any episode in the show’s history (even with a guest appearance from Ryan Howard) which shows that America is fleeing this show even faster than the cast members.
This was apparently The League‘s fourth season but it felt closer to the fourteenth. There are systemic problems with this show. The promotional strategy for The League seems to be designed to combat the perception that you’d need to play fantasy football to enjoy it. It’s actually true, but mostly because the shooting schedule for a comedy often leaves them talking about injured or irrelevant players when they do talk about football, so you won’t be any more lost if you don’t watch football than if you do. There are glimmers of hope in this show (they’ve finally stopped ending most episodes on an absurd song from Taco) but until they stop casting every football player who says yes this probably won’t be something I can actually recommend to anyone. Nick Kroll’s unstoppable in it, though, and last season’s Timothy Olyphant appearance as a white sushi chef that no one had faith in to make sushi well was pretty inspired.
Unlike the other two shows, Modern Family (or MoFam if you’re terrible) is having a great season numbers-wise. On a good week Modern Family still pulls in more than 10 million viewers and is one of the most popular comedies on TV. I started watching it because too many people told me I was judging it based on the promos and the fact that it’s on ABC, which I’d have a joke for but, c’mon, ABC. I binge-watched the first season and I’m still here…reluctantly…angrily. They dip into sappy voice overs to explain lessons you can’t possibly have missed (the less pretty lady is jealous that everyone pays attention to the pretty lady, family is important, don’t commit felony arson, etc) and there’s a weird tinge of racism and sexism to a lot of it that leaves a film in my mouth like orange juice and toothpaste. There’s still a handful of great jokes on America’s “favorite” ha-ha show but not much more than that.
Dishonorable mentions: NTSF:SD:SUV::, Newsreaders, and Eagleheart. They’re all not bad enough to cut from rotation, but they define the Mendoza line of TV with their inconsistency.
What can you not bear to delete but wish you could? I’ll come to your house and delete it for you if you put it in the comments. We can fight this thing together. STAY STRONG.