Friday, January 05, 2007

A rolling stone can indeed gather dross

Often when I've had enough of reading, I like to sit on my recliner and watch the telly. Last night was one of those nights. I'd read quite a few pages of the latest book--Marley and Me--which I'm enjoying quite a bit. It's about a Philadelphia Inquirer correspondent, John Grogan, and his family (born subsequent to the dog's arrival) living with their incorrigible Labrador "Marley" in Florida and his wife and his attempts to 'house break' him.

It's coming around to mid-season for the networks and ABC, obviously deciding they wanted to be first out the gate and gain a bit of traction before the competition splays their wares, introduced a couple of new shows, including a comedy called The Knights of Prosperity. As I'd seen advertisements plastered on buildings in Manhattan when I was up a few weeks ago as well as having watched a few subsequent trailers, I was intrigued and decided to watch it. The premise is five or six characters (including a couple of janitors) decide they've had enough of their work, wish to make money fast to satisfy their divergent needs, and finally decide to rob Mick Jaguar when the principal character sees him on telly showing his luxurious Manhattan penthouse.

What an unsalvageable disaster. (I knew things weren't promising when the opening scene took place in a lavatory and it rapidly went down the spout from there.) I really like the Rolling Stones and Mick Jaguar, but I wonder what possessed him (other than perhaps to satisfy ego or a need to generate more PR because Mick's reputation as a shrewd businessman as well as a competent musician is well known) to get involved with such pitiful mediocrity. Mick plays himself and is seen describing his luxurious kitchen as he bounces through it, then acting mean to his androgenous Japanese valet--for example, kicking a soccer ball and hitting him in the face--and finally tossing tennis balls while dressed in gold-colored trousers into his indoor swimming pool where about six of his dogs are exercising. I've got a sense of humor and, had any of it been a teeny weeny bit funny, I'd have laughed.

In an attempt to make the sketch palatable to an American audience, who would find a show premised on robbing people blind, even rich Brits living in Manhattan, very alarming, the sub par writers toss in their own tennis ball of dialogue to the effect that some of the 'profits' will go to various charities selected by the robbers, including 'feline aids.' Right, you now see what I mean about the degree of wit and humor. Nor, can I assure you, was any cliche left unvisited. We were treated or must endure (depending on one's sensibilities) a scene wherein the male robbers salivate over a voluptuous Colombian robber--speaking in a painfully exaggerated Hispanic accent in case one missed where she hailed from--who leaves her waitressing job at a diner and is running away from a fellow countryman and drug baron called Henri, a scene of the unattractive male lead bending over during a planning meeting only to have one of his co-robbers point a laser pin light at his sizable rump while the others chuckle and, of course, a lacklustre scene of a botched attempt to gain entry into the building.

Someone I know was offered a job at one of these Hollywood 'writing mills' a few years ago and helped write a few episodes of a comedy that was scheduled to be aired mid-season. He hated it and the show didn't make it, either. Neither will this one. Mick's appearance--it may be only for one or two shows because I think Fran Drescher and Sally Jesse Raphael are also in line to get robbed, though I think the show will be canned before those air--can not save it from the Manhattan garbage heap where it truly belongs. Down the line, Mick may well come to count himself fortunate that his error in calculation was not viewed by many in the United States or that the show never made syndication and thus eligible to be offered for sale in his native England. I really do hope he'll stick to the stage he knows best in the future and leave comedy to the professional clowns.

Now back to Marley and me.

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