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Great News - Catfight - Review: Hats and Mouse Pads

11 Jan 2018

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Watching a show that’s essentially dead is interesting. On one hand, every laugh makes you think “every person on Earth sucks for not appreciating this show and how dare they claim this isn’t good and now I’m sad because Carol Wendolson deserves to exist forever”. On the other hand, it’s freeing to watch without wondering if it will be renewed and just enjoy a hilarious 22 minutes of television. Which, come to think of it, is actually how average people that don’t spend all day on TV websites consume television. Weird.

A second season order for Great News was a huge surprise, as it barely registered behind The Voice last spring. I imagine coming from Tina Fey was helpful there, plus ownership politics and the fact that nobody wants to be mean to Andrea Martin. Kudos to NBC for giving the show a chance to grow with a prime slot behind Will & Grace. It was a risk that didn’t pay off, but in a world where networks don’t take chances and barely give shows time to grow, I respect it. I don’t expect the same miracle for a third season. Good luck to whoever has to tell Andrea Martin, because Great News is as good as dead. (I’d love to be wrong)

Great News is a hilarious show. It has flaws, but it really shines when it commits to its zaniness and excellent one liners. Reviewing it for the first time ten episodes into its second season and with only three episodes left can feel like a waste of time, but it isn’t (my apologies for the amount of numbers in that sentence). Great TV can be appreciated episode-by-episode, regardless of its impending death. For all we know, we’ll be talking about it in 2036 the same way we talk about Freaks & Geeks today. In 2045 it could get a reboot on BitCoin and if that happens, the humans and droids that love it deserve to have old reviews that they can look up with their BrainChips (I don’t know how BitCoin works. Bitcoin? Bitcoin! What is bitcoin? I'm young)

Now that that’s all out of the way, I guess it’s time to review the episode! This week brought us Greg’s birthday, which was really just a vehicle to push Katie and Greg together. Do we really want them together? I know I don’t. Workplace romances are sometimes perfect (lookin at you, Leslie and Ben), but they’re often boring. I don’t get why they have to happen. 30 Rock went seven solid seasons without a will-they-or-won’t-they workplace romance, and I love it for that. Great News is the same comedy brand, and therefore it feels unnecessary. Plus, we already have the best relationship on the show: Carol and Katie.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll always watch Andrea Martin butt into a romantic duet between real-life spouses Adam Campbell and Jayma Mays (hey, Jayma Mays! Nice to hear you sing again), but I’m feeling meh about this inevitable development. Just because Katie and Greg are two attractive people working together doesn’t mean they need to date. I have a feeling this show is working towards a semi-resolution in the last few episodes, including a Katie and Greg hookup, but I wish they’d go balls-to-the-wall and just repeatedly give Carol ridiculous things to do. I’d love an A-plot between Carol and Portia. Is it too late to get that?

Speaking of A-plots, the show addressed politics again in their B-plot. One thing this show has done well, particularly this season, is use the current political climate for great zingers and hijinks. Each one has been handled well without a feeling of HERE ARE POLITICS IN YOUR FACE, and that’s refreshing. A show about the news in 2018 could be exhausting, but they somehow pull it off.
This week brought us Portia teaching a very resistant Chuck how to be a public figure in the modern world of politics. After Chuck accidentally makes a conservative comment on air, Twitter attacks him (a lot of things on this show are far fetched, this was not!). He makes it worse by apologizing, alienating both sides. Portia eventually convinces him to take her advice, teaches him to confuse everyone to the point of leaving him alone, and all is well again.

In my perfect world, Nicole Richie would get a lot more to do than just spar with John Michael Higgins. Chuck is easily the weakest part of the show for me, and I hope John Michael Higgins isn’t upset hearing that. Are you reading this John Michael Higgins? If so, I’m sorry. But it’s my opinion, and therefore I’ll say it again. Chuck is easily the weakest part of the show for me! If you like him, that’s great, because John Michael Higgins is perfect in the role, it’s just not my type of comedy. He’s pretty much had the same “I’m old school and not hip!” storyline in every episode, and I’m over it. More Nicole Richie repeatedly saying “panopticon”, less of Chuck. Thanks!

That being said, Chuck and Carol doing a walk-and-talk and then running out of hallway was my favorite joke of the episode. It felt very 30 Rock. I’ll take that with cheese.

Other great jokes:
-Katie and Greg on why birthdays stink: “You only get the one wish, and it’s like, am I going to be a goody-two-shoes and ask for world peace, or am I going to ask for what I really want: something stronger than coffee, but not all the way to cocaine.”
-Carol on her allegiances: “Well, I’m Team Katie. I didn’t make T-shirts or anything. I made hats and mouse pads.”
-Random fans of Chuck: “Drain the swamp! I dropped my keys in it.”
-Portia on taking political sides: “Look at poor Michael Moore. You think he still wants to be a liberal crusader? You can tell by the way he dresses he clearly just wants to be a pornographer.”
-The woman working coat check after Katie asks her to trade places: “Too late, bitch. Real coat check girl is already on my bad date.”

My episode grade: B+

What did you think of the episode? How do you feel about watching shows that are pretty much dead? Are you a fan of Katie and Greg becoming #Gratie? Are you also over Chuck? Let me know!