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Viewing: "Lie to Me," "The Good Guys," "Last Comic Standing," "The Green Room"

By admin Published: June 7, 2010

Plowing through some of tonight's new fare, and a look ahead at one show later this week, after the jump. ...

I generally like "Lie to Me," and next week's episode is OK, but tonight's is overall somewhat disappointing. It matches Lightman against a brilliant young villain ("Veronica Mars' " Jason Dohring); the resulting cat-and-mouse game is ably handled by the actors but not much in terms of script. I expect better from the show.

I did not like the sneak-previewed episode of "The Good Guys," and the ratings were bad enough to start speculation that this series might not make it to Fox's fall lineup, even though it is slotted in. Tonight's episode is an improvement over the earlier one. Bradley Whitford is much funnier (although he has to get past the constant references to "computer machine") and the somewhat convoluted plot allows for more amusement. I am not yet a fan, and there are still overdone elements such as the time shifting, but this was just entertaining enough that I might check in again.

My problem with "Last Comic Standing" is the same as it has been for some time: The comics just aren't that funny as a whole. Part of this is a function of presentation, which has them auditioning with a couple of jokes, and in some cases getting a chance to do a longer performance for a club audience. As the comments make clear in tonight's show, a lot of the comics hold back their best material from the audition, saving it for the club show, and that makes for a lot of weak auditions.

Several get to the club show based not on their audition work but the judges' familiarity with what they do onstage. ("Last Comic" underscores the idea that standup-comedy is a small world, not only through the judges and contestants knowing each other but through the contestants including long-established, TV-familiar folks like Guy Torry and Cathy Ladman.) I saw a couple of things in the club performances made me laugh, a little, but for a comedy competition that uses a lot of professionals, it's not that impressive.

If you're interested in comedians, I'd much more recommend "The Green Room," which starts Thursday night on Showtime. It's an informal gathering of comics (Larry Miller, Drew Carey, Roseanne, more) chatting about the business, and making lots of funny, raunchy jokes. Host is Paul Provenza, director of the fabulous and filthy "The Aristocrats."

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