'Work It' Doesn't Appear To Actually Work
Sitcoms on TV, lately, are divided into two very distinct categories. On one hand, you have shows like 30Rock and Parks and Recreation, which represent a very high-brow, accomplished sense of comedy. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that 30Rock (thankfully returning to regular rotation this month) revolutionalized modern comedy. I mean- think about the last half-decent show you watched with a laugh track.
Now I know The Office did this as well, and was on before Fey's vehicle, but the off-the-wall humor that defines 30Rock is truly unique.
The Office itself, in fact, I would group into this category...except its last season has been utterly terrible. I almost want to go back into my childhood of writing sitcom-based fanfiction (yes, I can and will admit this, in case I ever have to run for office) just to kill off the once-great show in a blaze of glory. Perhaps Pam, now left to be annoying in her marital bliss, is the target of a time-logged Cowboys and Indians attack. Perhaps Erin gets her revenge for being the meek pushover of the show. So on.
Even ABC has a shot at this: Modern Family is like a domestic 30Rock and utterly altered my perception of the network. Cue in The Middle and Suburgatory, which are surprisingly entertaining jaunts. Kudos, ABC!
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there's stuff like Two and a Half Men. Once the most popular sitcom on television, it seemed to solely work as an extension of Charlie Sheen's crazy persona. Now that Sheen is gone? Not so much. The fact that the show is very, uh, lowbrow and crass is ever-more-present. Not even Ashton Kutcher, pulling a Jesus, can save this trainwreck. The same goes with the majority of other sitcoms on CBS....which all seem to be early 2000s and late 1990s holdouts.
Let's go back to ABC, though, shall we? It seems that some genius at the network had the idea for Work It, which premieres this week. It's like a modern day update on Bosom Buddies, but I sincerely doubt it will fall into the cult success that show did. The main premise of Work It is in order for two dudes to find work in this miserable economy (holla, it sucks, but you don't see me cutting my hair and calling myself "Larry") they need to be in drag as LAY-DIES. Oh God! What pure comedic chaos will follow!
The highlight of the show, as the commercials broadcast time and time again, is this: in a bathroom, guy-as-girl No. 1 is talking to his friend, who is staring at his boobs. Ogling man boobs, yes. I can hear you laughing from over here. And then, he says this nice little gem:
"my eyes are up here!"
I wonder how many brainstorming sessions it took to come up with that line? How many pots of coffee and sleepless nights the writers poured into the creation of this pilot?
Truth is, it doesn't look horrible, but it does look dull and tasteless. Maybe in 1997 this would have been a hilarious sitcom, hil-ar-ious, but not in the 2012 world I would think. Dressing in drag is really not that funny anymore. Drag queens and kings are fairly mainstream, now, and to think men would be willing to pass off as women to find work....it's an outdated, if not unrealistic concept.
I give this new sitcom, as with most of the ones kicking into gear this midseason, low expectations with a side of disappointment. Again, at least we have 30Rock.
Note to Alec Baldwin: when you are not busy plugging for Wegman's, I will gladly take you in drag anyday!