TV Junkie: Comedy Central's 'Big Lake' = Big Fail; 'Food Wars' Does LA Burger Trucks Tonight
"Food Wars" hits LA tonight: it's Grill 'Em All vs. Bay's Badass to determine best gourmet burger from a food truck. 10pm on Travel Channel
A reader wrote to us asking why we didn't mention Comedy Central's new scripted series "Big Lake" in yesterday's column. Two reasons: 1. Yesterday's column was about our picks for the frickin' Emmys, 2. Comedy Central's new series "Big Lake" is appallingly bad. While it's interesting that Comedy Central has launched a new program that isn't stand-up or animation-based what truly is remarkable is what a bad show this is.We're big fans of Horatio Sanz and had been really looking forward to the show when we logged into Comedy Central's preview website last month. Chris Parnell's a draw as well (love him in FX's "Archer" and his random appearances on "30 Rock") but nothing can save this stinker of a show. Did Comedy Central think they were "going retro" with the 3-camera sitcom format and what sounds like canned laughs? This is the best that the premiere source for comedy on the cable dial can come up with? We've seen some people say that "Big Lake" won't last more than a season and to that we say: kill this show now, it's not worth saving/retooling/recasting. Start fresh with something worthy of the talent involved. Freak us out.
Series contributor/producer Will Ferrell could have chosen just about any sketch from his "Funny Or Die" corral and come up with something better than "Big Lake". The premise isn't horrible but it isn't particularly interesting either: disgraced banker-investor Josh (Chris Gethard) comes home after "ruining America's economy" and serving time in the pen, moving back in with his parents (who have had to un-retire since he squandered their savings), and reacquainting with high school buddies who are still living as if it's senior year. Problems include, but are not limited to: the jokes are bad, the acting is bad, and the plot lines of the 2 episodes we watched were predictable within the first 90 seconds.
Comedy Central has to rise to the challenge of providing some good scripted TV - "Big Lake" is a failure but we hope that this doesn't turn them off to producing more series. There are plenty of brilliant comedians who produce plenty of material that Comedy Central should tap. Bill Burr comes to mind, Louis C.K. (whoops - FX beat Comedy Central on that opportunity), Mike Birbiglia, etc. Why would Comedy Central think it would be successful putting out the same kind of garbage sitcoms that we get on the Big 4? With cutting-edge commentary every night on "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" and the uncheckable popularity of Daniel Tosh's acerbic wit every Wednesday, we can't believe they thought they could get away with something as boring and pandering as "Big Lake". We expect Comedy Central to "go there", it's time they deliver on that assumption with an innovative and unapologetic scripted show.
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The TV Junkie Plan: "MasterChef", "Man vs. Wild" (Northern Australia), "Food Wars" (Los Angeles), ""Tosh.0", "Chelsea Lately" (Jennifer Aniston), Kimmel.
8:00pm Live From Lincoln Center PBS/KCET - The magnificent theater revives Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific."
8:00pm MasterChef Fox - One team is safe from elimination after winning a challenge where they spend the day feeding hundreds of Marines; the losing team faces a pressure test.
8:00pm Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the New York Jets HBO - The Jets play the New York Giants at the new Meadowlands Stadium
9:00pm Plain Jane The CW - Jane Louise tries to help a woman conquer her fear of rejection and reveal her feelings to her crush, an aspiring firefighter.
9:00pm Dark Blue TNT - The team infiltrates a local casino to investigate the disappearance of a law-school student; Alex is concerned about the risks that Jaimie takes
9:00pm Man vs. Wild Discovery - Bear relies on survival skills honed by the aboriginal people to survive in Australia's Northern Territory.
9:00pm LA Ink: Fresh Ink TLC - Never revealed details; Kat is back in LA and opening her own tattoo shop
9:00pm The Man Who Came to Dinner TCM - (1941) A critic (Monty Woolley) breaks his hip in someone's home and stays there, in charge, until it mends.
10:00pm Food Wars Travel - Los Angeles: Camille visits Grill 'Em All and Bay's Badass to settle which gourmet burger truck is better.
10:00pm Psych USA - Viagra Falls
10:00pm Top Chef Bravo - Chefs must transform a well-known dish into something entirely new. [Great summary, right?]
10:30pm Tosh.0 Comedy Central - Angry Black Preacher web redemption
11:00pm Chelsea Lately E! - Actress Jennifer Aniston.
12:05am Jimmy Kimmel Live ABC - Actor Jerry O'Connell; actress Carla Gugino; T.I. performs.