Review: Worst Week; it's worth your time.

by Paul William Tenny

Worst Week
Kyle Bornheimer is having a bad week.
This was supposed to be a preview but due to unavoidable laziness, it has morphed into an even less useful review. Worst Week (too short a title for starters, they should have gone with "Worst Week Ever" from the original British title "The Worst Week of My Life" which was way too long) is a new CBS comedy adapted from a British one which is becoming increasingly common these days, as if American writers suddenly forgot how to be funny. Doesn't really make sense when you've got American writers hauling the mail anyway, right?

A little thing like common sense has never stopped a network from being lazy before, though. So what about the show?

Short version: this show is damned funny. Long version: ...
I'm not exactly sure how long CBS thinks they can make a setup like this last. If you've ever seen Meet The Parents then you'll instantly feel at home with this plot. A guy and girl want to get married, girl is already pregnant but not showing, parents don't know about the baby and the dad doesn't really know or like the guy.

Guy meets girls parents and hilarity ensues.

At first I thought the setup was a little bit contrived. I wasn't paying close enough attention to understand why the guy of the show (Kyle Bornheimer who did a competent job but might not have been the best choice for a role like this) was at some party without his gal, ended up sharing a cab ride with a drunk woman who was hitting on him only to have her vomit on him in the cab and then pass out. They get thrown out of the cab and he has to find a way to get her six blocks back to her apartment.

Once there, he throws her on her own bed, and then apparently decides to take a shower at her place, even though they don't apparently know each other. This is a setup I struggled to accept. I don't know anyone that would decide to take a shower in a stranger's apartment while they were passed out drunk on their own bed, covered in puke or not. Well, this guy isn't exactly a brain surgeon and if there's one thing you've got to swallow to enjoy a setup like this, it's resisting the urge to try to identify with the main character. If you do, all you'll do is get mad at him for being such a monumental screw-up. It's more like watching improv or a stand-up routine where you're just there to watch (or hear) something funny and then leave, without getting to know or care about anyone.

The setup was the impossibly strange situation, the payoff was that this woman had no clean towels anywhere in her bathroom, not even a dirty one. While he goes towel hunting naked and wet, she wakes up, freaks out, and throws him out onto the street. No clothes, no wallet, and no cell phone.

From that point on which was only a few minutes into the pilot, they had me. I didn't really stop laughing the whole way through, unlike with The Big Bang Theory where they were trying to make you laugh on nearly every line and only succeeding maybe once every two minutes or so, these guys did it right. They didn't use dialog only for gags and they didn't try to jam a dozen of them down your throat per act. As a consequence, when the gag did come, it actually made me laugh pretty hard, and that's a real treat in comparison. [Yes, I understand the difference between a comedy and a sitcom. -Mgt]

But like I said, I'm not sure how long they can stick with the premise. Presumably the first season of this show takes place over a single week -- I always thought somebody would jump on the success of 24 and try all sorts of time based plots for shows until every possible incarnation was explored, but nobody ever did -- but then what? Will it have the failing of 24, where the second week of this guys life is even worse than his worst week ever, jumping the shark by default?

That's kind of the problem with shows that play off the worst case scenario and I'm a little surprised you can even do that with both drama and comedy; it doesn't leave you anywhere to go afterward.

But that's not my problem and it certainly won't stop me from watching this show. This may be the first comedy that I'm going to pick up of my own free will. I liked Meet The Parents because it was a natural setup. The guy wants to win over the dad who is unwinnable, so every attempt to make things better just makes things worse.

My only problem is that Monday is a way too busy to place a brand new half-hour comedy. Fox has Terminator and Prison Break, NBC has Heroes, and right now the SCIFI Channel has a four hour block of Lost which is begging for the attention of anyone that came into the series late and doesn't really know how it all began.

People like me, people that can't record three different programs all at the same time. I know the networks like to try to clobber each other on a time slot-by-time slot basis, but all they end up doing is splitting audiences. As the great saying goes from the Alien vs. Predator poster: No matter who wins, we lose.

Move it to a lighter night CBS, and you've won a new viewer.
in Television


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