There was no way "Table 34" was going to live up to the double whammy of last week's kiss and a new game of True American, but it didn't entirely disappoint, either. And since Schmidt at an Indian marriage convention was far less racist (though still pretty racist) than we would have feared, we're considering the whole thing a win.
The Fox upfront presentation began with a pre-taped bit about the cast of New Girl interviewing for a new roommate, and their options were Fox stars ranging from Mr. Schue to Walter to the kid from Touch. Oh, and Emily Deschanel, because they couldn't resist making a sister joke. It was cute and the highlight of the network's hour-long presentation, for sure. Most of the rest focused on clips from this season of New Girl, a live awkward bit of banter between Zooey and Mindy Kaling about who is the most adorkable Fox star of them all, and Ryan Seacrest being Ryan Seacresty. They also made a big deal about The X-Factor and officially introduced new judges Demi Lovato and Britney Spears, while making a couple of digs at The Voice. I suppose they had to fill the time somehow, because aside from talking about some new random animation domination HD thing that's going to air in the dead of Saturday night (11 PM-12:30 AM), and referencing baseball as much as they could, there really wasn't a lot of new stuff to show off. But here's what we thought of the new programs they did preview:
Jeez, you guys look like you're going to a funeral or something.
Tonight (or early tomorrow, ya sticklers) at midnight, HBO's partnership with Adam McKay and Will Ferrell's website Funny or Die expands with a half-hour, televised sketch show cleverly called Funny or Die Presents. I watched the first two episodes, and, just like what's on the website, it's hit and miss in a way that's largely miss. A lot of it is the kind of crap that your friend with the way too broad sense of humor would send you. In other words, most of it falls flat, wastes your time and annoys you, but some of it is pretty brilliant. The new "Drunk History," for example, is amazing. Jen Kirkman should never be sober.
We understand that New Girl is not going to be everyone's cup of twee. There are legions of people out there who hate Zooey Deschanel's quirky style and personality. Those people should not watch this show -- there's absolutely no way that they will ever be able to look beyond Zooey's dorky-girl-next-door character to see that this sitcom is actually fast-paced, clever and entertaining. Since we weren't predisposed to despise her, we found ourselves utterly drawn under her spell. That said, this show isn't all about her -- there are plenty of other oddball elements that make this series our favorite comedy of the fall (we'd say the season, but ABC's upcoming Apartment 23 might win that battle). Here's what we adored about the pilot:
Hate to break it to you, but Fox burst many a bubble last night.
It's almost not fair for Fox to hold their Upfront presentation the same day as NBC's. The difference between the networks is night and day, with Fox premiering a handful of huge, splashy new shows while boasting their many existing hits and 7-years-at-number-one track record, while NBC is trying to bounce back from a completely failed 2010 programming slate with an entirely new one and only one certified ratings hit in The Voice. So, even though quite a few of Fox's new shows look abysmal, I really can't feel too sorry for them. Let's take a look at what's new.
Today's special is TV news, with three side dishes available: new pilots, silly law suits, or one small order of Bikini Boy.
New Girl was the first new show of this fall to get picked up for a full season, as well as the one pilot that actually merited its giant summer ad campaign. And while we were utterly charmed by Zooey Deschanel's shtick in the premiere, we were more than a little underwhelmed by the second episode. Not that it was terrible, but it just wasn't as consistently funny as the debut. That's often a problem with pilots in general -- either there is too much exposition and the pilot is dull, or the pilot is captivating but the writers struggle with how to recapture that on a weekly basis. So we watched last night's third New Girl with a little trepidation, and while Zooey is still Zooey (that's not going to change, so if you hate her, just quit reading now), this episode was far more enjoyable than last week's, giving us hope that this show will live up to the buzz in the long run.
Today might be the first time I've gotten excited about any new shows all year.