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May 13, 2006 |

By Seth Freilich | TV | May 13, 2006 |

So on Wednesday nights, ABC has this little show called “Lost” (you know, that show I bitched and moaned about just last week). Now “Lost” has become a cultural and ratings stud for ABC, right? Seems to me that the logical choice would be to use this to your advantage by trying to do something with all that viewer wealth. The network has definitely tried to do this by putting “Invasion” on following “Lost.” Why not take the same approach for the show’s lead-in? Maybe put “Alias” in that 8 p.m. slot — something that’s not doing real well, sure, but which complements “Lost” and gives Wednesday night a nice thematic and stylistic feel. Maybe “Lost” can even help bring “Alias” back from the brink.

Instead, ABC took a page from Monty Python (“I’m not dead yet.” “Well you will be soon.”) and buried “Alias” in an already crowded 8 p.m. slot on Thursday night. So what, pray tell, is to be the “Lost” lead-in? Well, for at least the next two or three weeks, say hello to “Freddie.”

Seth: Hello “Freddie.” What the hell are you doing on my television?

Freddie: No, but don’t you see? I am star Freddie Prinze, Jr.!

Seth: That dude from Scooby-Doo?

Freddie: Exactly!

Seth: You’re married to Buffy, right?

Freddie: Yeah, yeah, but you’re missing the point. I’m a comedy powerhouse!

Seth: You are?

Freddie: Absolutely — trust me. My pops was a comedian, and the comedy genes got passed right on down. And now, I’m “Chicago’s hottest bachelor.” You see, I’m “one ladies’ man with too many ladies!”

Seth: Uhm….

ABC: Oh, and get this — “The George Lopez Show” will be my lead-in. ABC is friggin’ genius. Two Latinos, one hour of comedy…

Seth: Zero laughs?

The premise of this show is a bit complicated, so stay with me here. Freddie’s a ladies’ man who’s always out on the prowl with his wingman, the sleazy-but-entertaining sidekick, the one and only Brian Austin Green. But at the same time, he lives with his sister, which complicates things. And his sister’s daughter lives there too, which complicates things. And his dead brother’s marker-huffing blonde drunk of a widow lives there too, which complicates things (but which also suggests the method to truly enjoying this show — grab your big, fat, permanent markers now kids!). And lest I forget, his crusty Spanish-speaking grandmother lives there too, which really complicates things.

From here, the comedy simply writes itself.

Now I sat down for this show expecting that it would be so painful to watch that I would Oedipus myself before the half-hour was up. Surprisingly, my eyes remain intact. I actually found myself chuckling once, quietly to myself, when nobody was looking. And Brian Austin Green, freed from the chains of spending years trying to bust Horsey Spelling’s cherry, could actually turn into the one bright spot on this show.

Don’t get me wrong, though: this show is not good, nor is it funny. The “jokes” pretty much all fall flat; none of the women can act their way out of a bag; Freddie can’t even act his way out of a bag that’s been pre-ripped like Hulk Hogan’s wrestling shirts; and the storyline is utterly predictable. But it’s the little things that really make this show into a crap fest. The meager Christopher Walken impressions, which are funny because nobody ever pulls that one out anymore? The fat girl who works at the video store and who thinks Freddie is hitting on her because he keeps coming in to rent chick flicks, which is funny because how could Freddie possibly be crushing on the big fat chick? The poor girl who steals all of Brian David Silver’s belongings except for the little dog he bought her, which is funny because … uhm … well … Freddie, a little help here?

Freddie: It’s funny because it’s ironic! As I pointed out, “if she’s got all your stuff, the girl ain’t that poor!”

Seth: Oh. Gotcha.

And the worst part of the whole thing has got to be Freddie’s Spanish-speaking grandmother. You see, she only speaks in Spanish. So you have to read the subtitles to follow along whenever she talks. That won’t ever get old, will it?

The real tragedy of this show is that, while watching the opening credits, I realized how it could have been made into a fantastic piece of modern comedy. The theme of the show is that these are all too many women for poor Freddie to handle. So in the credits, he keeps splitting off into multiple Freddies, until there are six or seven Freddies running around. Now, if they had run with this idea, a sitcom Multiplicity, if you will, that could have been the best thing ever. One Freddie Prinze, Jr. and his bad attempts at comedic acting hurts. But seven Freddie Prinze, Jr.s and their bad attempts at comedic acting could be Charlie Kaufmann meta-funny. But alas, it was not to be.

And actually, rereading that last paragraph, I have to correct myself. The real tragedy of this show is that it was, according to the still at the end, apparently aired in honor of Freddie’s pops, Freddie Prinze. Isn’t it sad enough that the poor bastard already killed himself years ago (yes, I know a court eventually ruled it accidental, but come on)? I imagine that he watched this premiere in whatever afterlife he’s in, and that when he saw the dedication at the end he cried because he wished he was still alive so that now he could kill himself.

Nice, Freddie Prinze, Jr. Way to honor your old man.


Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. He lives in Washington, D.C., and couldn’t be happier that summer “intern season” is finally here.

The TV Whore / Seth Freilich

May 13, 2006

TV | May 13, 2006 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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