The USA Network specializes in a very specific brand of television. It all started over ten years ago when they stumbled on a surprise hit with “the defective detective” series “Monk.” Ever since, they’ve been churning out enjoyably bland sausage in the form of hour-long high-concept dramas and dramedies. Though the USA Original Programming airs year-round, they ramp up the sausage factory in the summer, stuffing the holes in your DVR. Their smorgasbord of cop/legal/con shows are just the thing for mindless summer entertainment or to provide your folks with non-challenging TV fodder. All in all, I take no issue with USA. It’s like being offended by the breeze.
I do, however, take issue with their wildly inaccurate catchphrase “Characters Welcome.” Inspired, no doubt, by the antics of Monk and Shawn Spencer, this jaunty little slogan is emblazoned on every speck of advertising. But the concept of character (or even nuanced performance) is what is undeniably absent from the USA slate. In fact, carrying the sausage metaphor well past the breaking point, every single one of these shows is made from the same ingredients crammed into a slightly different casing. No, USA, we’re not dealing with characters. We’re dealing with archetypes and cliches. So be real about what you’re dishing up this summer and don’t try to serve me pig snouts and tell me it’s bratwurst.
The Clean-Cut Con Artists/Man Children
Blonde Law Enforcement Agents Who Rock The Sh*t Out Of A Pantsuit
Impossibly Handsome Rogue Agents Who Live At The Beach
Ever So Slightly Less Handsome Comic Relief That Also Live At The Beach
Gun-Toting, Badass Babes Who, You Guessed It, Live At The Beach
Hard-As-Nails Boss Ladies Who Are Seriously Tired Of Your Sh*t