TV Guide (Magazine):
Review of MwC's Season One

Last update July 24, 2000

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TV Guide
July 25, 1987

Looking for Some Original Programming This Summer?
The new Fox network's presenting first-run shows; our writer examines the strategy and offers capsule critiques.

By Andy Meisler

[article includes a picture of the Bundys from ep 104]

[big snip about Murdoch etc] {Rupert Murdoch is the owner of Fox}

"... Still, FBC's {Fox Broadcasting Corporation's} overall lineup is a weak one. The problem, I'm afraid, is nothing more complicated than a law of averages: the failure rate for new shows is notoriously high. Only a handful of new network shows survive their first season; when your entire lineup is brand-new, most of your entries, almost by definition, will be duds.
And then there are those little twists. In my judgment, one or two of the producers' departures from TV conformity work brilliantly; the rest, alas, are simply failed experiments. But if it makes anyone feel any better, most of Fox's programs fail interestingly. Not a big comfort to execs and station owners, granted, but a nice harbinger of better things.
What to watch these days, then? Well, after going over Mr. M's {Rupert Murdoch's} lineup, I've rated each program with zero to five snowflakes - five being sensational, a hit on any man's network, and zero being the dregs. My best advice: just hang in there, viewers, and wait for the dross to subside. Until then - play ball!

The shows in order of merit:
Duet (...) 4 1/2 snowflakes.
Mr. President (...) 3 snowflakes.
The Tracey Ullman Show (...) 2 1/2 snowflakes.
Karen's Song (...) 2 1/2 snowflakes.
21 Jump Street (...) 2 1/2 snowflakes.

Married with Children (Sunday, 8 P.M.):
Yes, I know what they're trying to do here. The world isn't made up of Cosby households; the Huxtables' bon mot-and-designer-knitwear life style is a worthy target of satire. But the producers of this sitcom use a sledgehammer instead of a stiletto. Al and Peggy Bundy (Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal) are a "typical" suburban couple: he's a beer-drinking slob and she's a lazy shrew. They sit around and insult each other incessantly; when they're not, they're doing thinga like shooting a dog or plotting to appropriate their naive neighbors' addition to their house. The gags aren't funny (neighbor to Al, inviting him out to eat in a nice restaurant: "C'mon, you can't spend your life ordering food through a clown's head!" Al turning to Peggy: "HEY, honey! How about some food?"), mainly because the Bundys are nasty caricatures, not real people. It's not The Cosby Show that's being lampooned here: it's anyone not rich or good-looking enough to have a TV show assembled around him. A good idea gone bad. 1 1/2 snowflakes.

The New Adventures of Beans Baxter (...) 1 1/2 snowflakes.
Down and Out in Beverly Hills (...) 1 snowflake.

{Well, Mr. Meisler, the show with your second-worst rating lasted for eleven seasons. Duet was on the air for three seasons.}

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© Andreas Carl 1998