TV Shows We Love And Get Hooked On! (And Keeping An Eye on the Gunga Dins)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix) : Last season, the show’s first season, this was my favorite comedy. It was just an all rounder. Perfect New York snap-shots . The right mix of different ethnicities so accurately portrayed ( no Indian yet, not even a taxi driver; was Fey’s experience with Indians on ’30 Rock’ that terrible?) This season with the Krakowski story line going nowhere, it sort of stank. Her character slipped from a strong-willed New Yorker to a spokesperson for all kinds of social evils including behavior pills for little children. Fey’s late entry as a psychiatrist piqued my interest but I don’t think that helped much. I did like the ending. <Spoiler Alert!> Thank god he got on the right bus! No self- sabotage. </Spoiler Alert> Enough!
MOM (CBS) – The best comedy on network television – i.e. my favorite. The actors are great. This all- American story is so deeply rooted in everything that is wrong that you can only laugh. What is wrong with it? When a woman struggles that hard, overcoming alcoholism and a dysfunctional family, you kind of wonder if it was all worth it when the woman her ex-husband marries steals her son. Could have been handled differently. Not great as a punch line is all I am saying. Also, It is nice that the woman with cancer miraculously never feels worse.
VEEP (HBO) – It actually got better in season four & five, the current season that just ended. Kudos to Julia for looking that great and cute. But cute as a Veep only went so far. It was kind of floundering when they brought Hugh Laurie in to balance out the cuteness factor. Also gave her and the show a real reason to switch lanes. Out with the cuteness, in with the tough woman with an odd group that sustains her in spite of how clueless she is. Did it pull through? I thought the bits with her daughter failed badly. Towards the end it wasn’t clear who was more clueless. The ending was <blech>. Martinez yelling in Mexican? They could have done better. (Why not a coup with the Chinese hackers in control instead? ) The character I like best on that show is the one played by Anna Chlumsky. That spec is the best developed.
New Girl (Fox) : This one depends heavily on the cuteness factor of just one girl. The rest are ride-alongs. At least it makes no pretense about it. The other character played by Max Greenfield is just a Jewish Joey and he sucks as a Joey clone, God almighty sucks. The script is so dead. I cannot fault the show for one reason ,and one reason only. The Indians on this show don’t need to be Gunga Din’s descendants . Fox power?
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) : Where the last of the Gunga dins still find work. Other than the terribly stereotypical portrayal of an Indian, this show is okay. Must note that everything in this show is extremely stereotypical. The Jewish mom, the comic book store owner and the geeky scientists . Let’s not forget the beautiful and dumb actress. Should hold for another season.
Silicon Valley (HBO) – Great idea. Great script. Pakistanis get all the great roles. Ahem! Aziz with his show on Netflix and here Kumail. Been following Kumail since Portlandia. He was so much better on that show. A delight to watch. ‘ Silicon Valley’ by the way – not at all Gunga Din , but The Silicon Valley is actually where that line is.
Master of None (Netflix) The show’s main theme of a struggling start-up flows well right to the end with techies and correctly mishandled opportunities and perfectly misjudged cues. Where is the union? Feels like there should be one. Are techies fools though? Seems like a ‘fool and his money’ is something that this show pushes as a moral over and over again. As a tech person myself, I feel like I can judge the script for its authenticity and the last few episodes based on that criteria were scary. It shipped off strange jobs overseas, did away with an entire functional group or maybe even two, but thankfully <Spoiler Alert> it does go kaput in the end </Spoiler Alert>. The message was clear. No matter how great an idea you have, you still have to follow the rules of the game, which in this case is delegate – An old management mantra. A concept show like this one could have far reaching effects. And yes if they are taking a poll, I vote to change the name of Pied Piper.( A little birdie tells me Aziz isn’t Pakistani, He’s Indian. Noted.)
The Odd Couple (CBS) – It could take one more episode to find out exactly how odd Perry’s hairstyle is. Not even Terri Hatcher could pull this one out of the crapper. I feel for Perry because I am a huge fan. So disappointed. His co-star is stealing the show. I am reminded of a commercial I saw where a newbie delivered Oscar worthy scenes. Yet the script sucks. There isn’t anything new . ‘The Odd Couple’ as we know it, the original play that is, is perhaps best left behind in the seventies, eighties… may be the nineties. Now it either needs drastic updates or a goodbye.
The Mindy Project – (FOX/HULU) : I don’t watch this one anymore after Fox dropped it. It was great for affirmative action where a an Indian girl plays being totally non-Indian while the people who never visited India cry foul if that happens in the real world ( BTW my definition of ‘non-indian’ is borrowed only from that point of view) It was worth the trouble watching this experiment unfold. Would she be able to sway the minds of millions, billions? We were all counting on her. As an antithesis, it got scrapped the minute she tapped into India. On the other hand, it did seem like a total about turn. Hope it is doing better on Hulu.
Life in pieces (CBS) – This is the listed best comedy. Is it though? The novel concept held my interest for two episodes.
Two Broke girls (CBS) – Enjoyed season one although it felt a little like an all white party. Now I just call it ‘Two Shrill Girls’. The jokes got louder. The storyline is stuck in a rut. Come on and make money already!!