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Archive for Friday, October 3, 2003

Sitcom shows contempt for viewers, Midwest

October 3, 2003

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The word "sitcom" is shorthand for situation comedy. While no one expects the situations on these shows to mirror reality, the producers of "Married to the Kellys" (7:30 p.m., ABC) appear to be aggressively indifferent to the show's setting and its characters. Not to mention its audience.

Breckin Meyer plays Tom. He's supposed to be a novelist and an edgy New Yorker. But he looks like he was picked at random at the Gap. Tom never betrays a novelist's curiosity or insight. His house is devoid of books. Tom is married to Susan (Kiele Sanchez), who somehow convinces Tom to move to Kansas City so they can be close to her insular, smothering family.

Susan's parents, Sandy (Nancy Lenehan) and Bill (Sam Anderson), seem genuinely down-to-earth. But why Kansas City? Why not Jersey City? Or Scranton? Or Sacramento? There's nothing here to suggest that the show's creators know, or care, anything about Kansas City or any city besides Los Angeles (or Studio City). The writers' clear contempt for their audience is revealed early on, when Tom complains to Susan, "I didn't know we were moving to ... America!" Just where do they think their viewers -- or, more to the point, nonviewers -- live?

  • Can you start an explosion by using a cell phone at a gas station? Do hit men really use bullets made of ice? Do eel skin wallets desensitize credit cards? These and other popular fallacies are explored on the new series "Mythbusters" (8 p.m., Discovery).

Tonight's other highlights

  • Divine guidance counseling on "Joan of Arcadia" (7 p.m., CBS).
  • A struggling musician thinks he's a daddy on "Miss Match" (7 p.m., NBC).
  • Joe orchestrates a car-jacking sting on "The Handler" (9 p.m., CBS)
  • McNorris returns from rehab on "Boomtown" (9 p.m., NBC).

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