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You know how there are shows that seem to go on longer than they should? They’re once-great shows and then they peak and the quality starts to noticeably fade. House M.D. went 8 seasons. Glee is going on its sixth before calling it quits. What’s Survivor or American Idol up to now? 28 and 13 respectively. Even The Simpsons have 26 seasons, and they haven’t all been great.
Well, I think that it’s fair to say that you can add Showtime’s Californication to that list.
When Jess first introduced me to Californication, the show was already into its 4th season, I think. If ever there was a show that I wanted to be part of, it was this one. Hank Moody was my hero! We blew through the first seasons on Netflix, and then had to wait patiently like everyone else as the new ones were released. The problem being… the quality seemed to really take a shit-kicking. I don’t know if they changed writers, or what happened, but it just kept going from bad to worse.
Season 7 was hailed as the final season of Californication, and rumours started to swirl whether Hank Moody would even survive it. Surely someone who has lived such a careless lifestyle couldn’t possible end up in a Happily Ever After. Season 7 should have been a downward spiral as Hank’s life unraveled. Instead they decided to introduce Hank’s unknown bastard son from 20 years ago. What a disaster. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t loving. It was just really really annoying. Even Heather Graham, as Hank’s old girlfriend, couldn’t salvage that sinking ship. I normally love most of her work, but the task was too daunting.
To say that the series finale was a disappointment would imply that I actually had high hopes going into it. Nope. In the end I continued to watch simply because I had given so much of my life to the story that I felt that anything less than complete closure would grate on my nerves. It certainly wasn’t from enjoyment. Sadly, I was right. But at least its over. Time to let the healing begin.
It’s not to say that the show wasn’t brilliant at one time. I just wish that the people in charge had had the courage to realize that and wind down the show while it was still on top… ala Seinfeld (9 seasons) or Breaking Bad (5 seasons)…
Yesterday I pondered the question of whether Breaking Bad is the best TV show ever. Today I’m going in a very different direction… Have you seen Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? I’d never even heard of this show until Jess mentioned it to me the other night. It plays on TLC (more on that later!) and is a spin-off of Toddlers & Tiaras, a reality show about very young girls in beauty pageants, and their crazy mothers who need their heads examined. Apparently one of the families from the original Toddlers & Tiaras was so interesting that TLC decided to give them their own show. And they say quality television is hard to find.
After about 10 minutes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, I had to turn it off. If you had asked me how I felt at the time, I would have said that it was an uncomfortable mixture of disgust, anger, and sadness. Here is a family so completely different from anything I’ve ever known… I was initially in shock by what I saw. Was it entertaining? Not at all. Jess had warned me that it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You don’t want to watch, but you can’t pull your eyes away. You have to see what happens next. But I couldn’t do it. I felt sad for the little girl (Honey Boo Boo, by the way) who is too young to realize that she doesn’t have a hope in hell of ever winning one of these pageants and is simply on TV because people are laughing at her and her family. I was angry with the mother for exploiting her family… and worse, disgusted with TLC and the current culture of “lowest common denominator” when it comes to what gets on TV and what doesn’t. How many GOOD television shows have been axed because they cost too much to produce and/or didn’t achieve the instant audience demanded by TV executives? And then this filth is allowed to air? Disgusting.
I can’t cast blame solely at TLC. Every network does it. And why the hell not? Nearly 3 million people tuned in to watch Episode 4. What does that tell you?
One last thing… TLC… I used to believe that TLC stood for The Learning Channel. What are people learning from this? It’s part of the Discovery network, which is generally some pretty decent programming. But when I look at the current line-up on TLC I see titles like Long Island Medium, 19 Kids and Counting, and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding…
Can someone please tell me what we’re supposed to be learning from this?
Makes me miss Breaking Bad even more…
I’ve seen a lot of talk in the blogosphere lately about AMC’s Breaking Bad being the best show on TV… or the best dramatic series ever… or even the best TV series ever. Period! That’s a pretty tall order, and I don’t think that we’re ever going to have a consensus on that. How do you decide the best ANYTHING? Surely there must be a better litmus test than sitting in your parents’ basement, eating stale Cheetos and debating with your drunken friends as to why the Toronto Maple Leaf’s are the best hockey team ever… The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie of all time… and Ginger is obviously the best Spice Girl… I mean c’mon.. Just look at her! None of the other girls can rock the Union Jack like that! Oh Gingie… Spice up my life!
But I digress…
I was a little late getting to the Breaking Bad party, which was great because I got to watch nearly an entire three seasons back to back… and it was AWESOME! To watch the transformation of Walter White from awkward science teacher into a methamphetamine cook… and eventually into his badass alter-ego, Heisenberg… the show is damn near brilliant! And if you’re one of those people who might be a little wary of wanting to watch the show because you remember Bryan Cranston as Malcom in the Middle‘s Dad.. oh boy… Walter White is so far removed from Hal that you will almost instantly forget about his previous work. Remember what I said? BADASS.
I’m reluctant to go into any real details here because I don’t want to ruin anything for the people who are not caught up. Needless to say, it’s going to be a long wait until the second half of Season 5 picks up in 2013.
One thing’s for certain… if Coca-Cola doesn’t issue a set of collectable Heisenberg cans, I am going to be sorely disappointed!!