Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pilot Review: Working Class

Working Class (CMT)
Premiered January 28 at 8pm

The first two episodes of this show mark the first encounter I've had with Country Music Television. I don't plan on coming back soon, though I don't think it has anything to do with country music. This is a generic, run-of-the-mill sitcom that pales in comparison to most of the (less than funny) stuff it imitates. There's no reason that every network should be created equal and deserve to have a comedy series of its own, and therefore this show is entirely unnecessary and superfluous. I'm not sure what exactly was intended to be funny about it since not one of the characters is terribly appealing, interesting, or amusing. Melissa Peterman appears to have gone to the school of "whoever shouts louder" acting, determined as hell not to let anyone else utter any of their lines. While the first half-hour was simply unimpressive, the second installment was entirely boring and occasionally irksome. I've seen all these plotlines before, and they're nowhere near well-executed enough to be repeated again like this. Guest star Ryan Stiles of magnificent "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" fame was completely wasted in his guest spot as the dentist. Ed Asner is pretty much in the Betty White "Hot in Cleveland" role, a part designed solely to fire off one-liners that aren't related to anything else. It's as if he's reading from a wholly separate script filled only with references to his age and the many wars in which he served and fought. There's nothing worth sticking around for on this show, and I don't think it's even one that I can keep watching just to see how the ensuing episodes stack up to the first.

How will it work as a series? This is as generic as they come, and sitcoms have been around since the dawn of television. I don't think this show will ever be good, but that doesn't mean it won't have a wealth of plotlines to explore as it berates both its characters and its audience to death with boring, cliche jokes and story arcs.
How long will it last? Also not the same as quality. Unsurprisingly, the pilot broke ratings records for the network, which is understandable, of course, considering it's CMT's first original scripted series. The critically-reviled "According to Jim" ran for years, so I imagine this one might live on at least for a second season.

Pilot grade: F

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