Stacked House Development (on a Stick)

I’ve been meaning to talk about all sorts of TV goodies lately – of the non-AI variety that is. So, where to start? Hmm, I guess I can work my way across my silly attempt at a clever title – uh-oh, that means I start with Stacked! How embarrassing.

Yes, Lisa and I actually watched “Stacked”. Yes, Pamela Anderson is fun to look at. Yes, I laughed more than I should admit. No, that doesn’t mean I’ve sunk to the bottom. I can still recognize mediocrity when I see it. There were some funny moments, and Christopher Lloyd still seems to be in pretty good comic shape (obviously not his classic “Taxi” self, but an admirable attempt to keep the show from… sucking). It’s the type of show I’ll watch if it comes on between “Family Guy” and “Arrested Development,” but won’t go out of my way for.

House,” on the other hand, has become the favorite around my tiny household. We first gave it a try since it had the post-AI time slot and sounded somewhat interesting. I’m not big on hospital dramas (never really liked “ER”), and really dislike that whole CSI kick that’s destroying TV (more on that later). But the creators of “House” figured out early that the real way to make a show interesting was to have compelling characters. Sure the wacky diseases and bizarro plagues that get sent to House are very interesting, but the person is far more captivating than the process.

Don’t get me wrong, I do get wrapped up in the far-fetched scenarios they concoct and the off-the-wall treatments they go through. But at the heart of the matter is Hugh Laurie’s incredible performance of a doctor who only cares about saving lives. Hugh does a great job as House, not overdoing the assholish behavior, but making it difficult to see him as some sort of saintly being. You want him to succeed, because a life is at stake, but sometimes you also want to smack him around. I can’t say I’d really want him as my doctor, but then again once you’re that far gone it’s better to have a savior than a comforter.

Along with Laurie, the show has put together some great supporting actors in Lisa Edelstein, Robert Sean Leonard, Omar Epps, among others. The cast really conveys the difficulties of working with a man who you can both hate and respect as well as the conflicts of business, social, and medical ethics they regularly face.

Seriously, the show is that good that I’m about to praise the writers and directors for creating such wonderful dialogue and captivating scenes without going over the top. They managed to create drama over possible love scenarios, an overbearing boss, and even a mobster while all maintaining a sense of reality. If you haven’t caught it yet, the first season is nearing an end. While you’d be better off watching from the beginning to get a full sense of the relationships, you can always just step right in to try it on for an episode.

“Arrested Development,” however, is the type of show that missing 2 minutes could leave you confused. I could write pages and pages about how AD is the absolute best thing to hit TV in years. I could gush about the brilliant writing, the comedic genius, the surreal randomness, the everything that makes this show what it is. But what would be the point? You have to watch it to understand. And in order to do that, you have to get up off your ass, walk over to Target, or Best Buy, or whatever, and plunk down the thirty bucks to get the first season. Please, I’m begging you. Otherwise this will become another victim of crappy television programming. Come on, we managed to get back “The Family Guy,” but we’ve still lost “Futurama,” “Wonderfalls,” “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” and “Touching Evil.” So please, get arrested!

And yes, “Life on a Stick” is yet another show to grab my attention based largely on its post-AI schedule. I have to say that I’m still undecided about this one. There have been some hysterical moments, and I really like Charlie Finn’s spaced out character, but too often feels forced. Overall, I can’t help but see this as a truly squandered possibility. But they crank out ideas like this too fast, going for the initial bursts of laughter rather than building a cohesive script. I’ll give props to the parents: Amy Yasbeck demonstrates her veteran sitcom chops, and Matthew Glave (aka Glenn Guglia) is surprisingly good as the unsure father figure.

Hmm, so I guess that makes the scoring:

  • Stacked: No
  • House: Yes
  • Arrested Development: HELL YEAH!
  • Life on a Stick: Enh…

Oh crap, I completely forgot to mention the US take on “The Office.” Hmm, I absolutely hated the British version, and after watching one episode of the US version decided it wasn’t much better. About the only improvement they managed was to make me not hate all of the characters – two of them actually seemed decent. But if you find irritating and annoying co-workers funny, just get a job!

2 thoughts on “Stacked House Development (on a Stick)”

  1. YES – people, you MUST spend the $30 on the Arrested Development DVD! It is well worth it, trust me! Mike got it for me for Christmas (or was it my birthday… not important) because we both really like the show. It’s true that if you miss even a few seconds that you can be lost for a while. And not everybody ‘gets’ it. But you will. I’m sure of that!

  2. Arrested Development is amazing. I must buy the DVD.

    As for House, it’s on during The Amazing Race…

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