Take Me to the Pilots '10: CBS' 'Feces My Dad Says'
[As I've already mentioned, and will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: "Feces My Dad Says," CBS [Since somebody is bound to ask... Yes, the show is actually titled "Dollar Sign - Pound Sign - Asterisk - Exclamation Point My Dad Says." My title is shorter.]
The Pitch: "William Shatner says inappropriate things for 22 minutes! How can it fail? We don't even need a script or other stars!"
Quick Response: This pilot I just spent 22 minutes watching isn't the pilot you'll see on Thursdays this September. So don't even worry about this "quick response." It's a bit bizarre that CBS looked at this particular pilot, based on the Twitter feed, and said "We like everything about this except for Ryan Devlin." In the original pilot, Devlin plays the son to William Shatner's "Dad" and although he isn't funny, it's hard to imagine anybody being funny in this poorly written, poorly shot, poorly edited, humorless mess. So Devlin has become a random scapegoat, though I don't know why any bigger name (and we've all heard a few bandied about) would be willing to come on-board and share the screen with Shatner. The "Star Trek" star and "Boston Legal" Emmy winner is both the selling point and the worst part of "Feces My Dad Says." The thrust of the Twitter feed is that the writer's dad isn't trying to be funny. This is just s*** he says. Otherwise, the Twitter feed would be called, @MyDadHasThisGrumpyOldManSchtickDownCold. Transposed to a sitcom, you have Shatner delivering every line like he's standing on a stage in the Catskills with a cigar in one hand and a glass of scotch in the other waiting for the approval of a sun-struck audience. Shatner destroys lines which, with a less self-conscious delivery, might in fact have been amusing. Even the studio audience isn't laughing very hard on the pilot screener. So Shatner is the black hole at the center of this pilot, crushing everything around him, but he's the part nobody would dare touch. Devlin isn't bad in the humor-intended scenes and nobody will be able to pull off the extended "sentimentality" parts of the script. Sigh. On one hand, there's even less point than usual in doing reactions to this pilot, because it's a safe bet that it will be top-to-bottom overhauled before it premieres. On the other hand, that's exactly why I *could* almost do a full-on review of this pilot, because I'll be reviewing a completely different show come September. Knock on wood that it's a better show. [Note: Will Sasso is the least bad part of the pilot. Might as well give somebody credit for something.]
Desire To Watch Again: Desire? None. Realistically? I'll definitely watch the new pilot when it's finished (CBS hasn't even recast Devlin yet) and, much as I hate to say it, if I'm watching "Big Bang Theory" (and I will be), chances are good that I'll watch more than a few episodes of this one as well.