Saturday, November 19, 2016

TV Review: The Great Indoors

The Great Indoors is the best new show on television.  That's not an opinion, it's a fact!

It stars Joel McHale as Jack Gordon, an adventurer/writer who returns to his magazine's Chicago office to guide the Millennials working there. The show has gotten a lot of "meh" reviews from critics, which isn't surprising since the show has a clichéd, sitcom-y feel.  There's a laugh track. There's a bartender whose sole purpose is to make quips.  And often the supporting characters don't have any meaningful storylines of their own during an episode.

I remember a "behind the scenes" article about the writing process for New Girl, and the writers were trying to to figure out the "B" and "C" storylines for every character, like they were solving some complex trigonometry problem.  The Great Indoors doesn't stress out over stuff like character arcs.

It actually reminds me of an essay about the comic book industry, titled "A Modest Proposal: More Crap Is What We Need."  The gist is that comics shouldn't aim to be high art all of the time.  What you really need is a lot of unpretentious, enjoyable crap to sustain the marketplace.  Otherwise you wind up with comics that are only high art or only low art, and there's no middle ground.  The Great Indoors falls right into that middle ground territory.  That said, some of the dialogue is pretty good.  As someone with a blog, I thought this exchange was hilarious:

From episode 1:
Jack:   What are you doing?
Clark:  Oh, I'm listening.  I'm just setting up for my podcast.
Jack:    You've got a podcast?  About what?
Clark:  I interview people.
Jack:    And who are you interviewing today?
Clark:  Mason.
Jack:   And what are you interviewing Mason about?
Clark:  His podcast.

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