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Rake and Other Shows with Vague, Deceptive Titles

by Aly Semigran January 21, 2014 12:39 pm
<i>Rake</i> and Other Shows with Vague, Deceptive Titles

Despite what the title suggests, Rake the new Greg Kinnear show on Fox, is not about a rake or even a series of ill-placed rakes.. Heck, the name of Kinnear's character -- a lawyer with a bad boy attitude -- isn't even something like Rake Rexington, which is really too bad because then I'd be more inclined to watch this show. (His character's name is actually Keegan Deane… BORING.) Instead, the title here presumably refers to the "rakehell" characterization in literature ("An immoral or dissolute person"? Check!), as well as the term "rake" in poker (you see, the guy also gambles in this show). Sorry to bum you out, leaf-raking enthusiast, it looks like you'll have to wait a little bit longer. But don't feel bad about being duped by the vague title, because over the past few years that's become something of a trend on television. We've picked a few shows (including some upcoming new ones designed to trick us) with vague, deceptive titles, what they really meant, and what we actually want them to mean.

Traffic Light
What It Sounded Like It Was About: Um, a traffic light.
What It Was Really About: Three college pals navigating their careers and love lives in their 30s.
What We Wish It Was Actually About: A cartoon about a morose, sarcastic traffic light voiced by H. Jon Benjamin.

Cougar Town
What It Sounded Like It Was About: A town inhabited entirely by the majestic mountain cat. The mayor, the townsfolk, your doctor. Everyone is a cougar.
What It Was Really About: A group of friends in Florida who spend their days guzzling an improbable amount of wine.
What We Wish It Was Actually About: An Under the Dome-like show in which people who still use the phrase "cougar" to describe an older woman are banished to live.

Bent
What It Sounded Like It Was About: Bendy straws? Bent spoons? The oft-forgotten Matchbox Twenty song? Who the hell knows?
What It Was Really About: A recently-divorced type-A mom (played by Amanda Peet) who squares off against her flirtatious bad boy contractor (played by David Walton.)
What We Wish It Was Actually About: About 17 episodes longer. (Bent only made it to 6 episodes.)

Happy Endings
What It Sounded Like It Was About: Well, you know…
What It Was Really About: Six of the funniest people on the planet doing some of the funniest things ever.
What We Wish It Was Actually About: Sigh. Nothing else. Happy Endings was perfect. RIP.

Defiance
What It Sounded Like It Was About: A rebellious child hell-bent on proving that when they are old enough, they are totally moving out and doing drugs and marrying Todd and you can't stop me!
What It Was Really About: New life forms adjusting to planet Earth in the year 2046.
What We Wish It Was Actually About: A remake of the 2009 Daniel Craig movie of the same name.

House
What It Sounded Like It Was About: The original version of House Hunters, which would have been excellent, because there can never be enough House Hunters.
What It's Really About: A cranky, brilliant doctor.
What We Wish It Was Actually About: A cranky, brilliant doctor who has to decide between three different homes to move in to.

True Detective
What It Sounded Like It Was About: A detective who can only tell the truth. Think Law & Order meets Liar Liar.
What It Was Really About: The bleakest detectives (Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson) solve the bleakest crimes in the bleakest settings possible.
What We Wish It Was Actually About: A sassy, far more cheerful cop series True, Detective about two detectives who, despite their differences, learn to get along. But still starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, of course.

Go On
What It Sounded Like It Was About: A finicky light switch.
What It Was Really About: The wacky and emotional happenings of a grief counseling group.
What We Wish It Was Actually About: The show's Twitter hashtag #Goon always looked like it could have been about the awesome sports movie of the same name, which would have been awesome. That, or a show about a hired goon.

Turn
What It Sounded Like It Was About: Literally anything associated with the word "turn."
What It's Really About: The upcoming series follows a group of spies, known as The Culper Ring, during the Revolutionary War.
What We Wish It Was Actually About: A mysterious force allows people to travel in time when they TURN their clocks back on daylight savings.

Believe
What It Sounded Like It Was About: Perhaps something about ghosts or the supernatural or David Blaine's celebrity-stumping wizardry.
What It Was Really About: The new sci-fi and fantasy series from J.J. Abrams, set to debut in March, follows a young girl with special powers and the people around her who protect her from danger.
What We Wish It Was Actually About: It has Alfonso Cuaron on board as an EP, so we'd be foolish to wish for anything else.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

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