Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Melissa & Joey: Waving Bye-Bye To My TV-Viewing Cred

I used to be on the cutting edge of televisual pop culture. I would know what was happening on all the shows, which new shows were coming out, and what the hits and misses would be when each fall season rolled around.

But no more.

This development is rooted in last year's digital switchover whatevermafloppy thing, when I decided to go sans TV. I subsisted on Hulu and the kindness of DVD-loaning strangers for filling my headholes with bright, shiny images. And I grew out of the tv-watching habit.

In fact, it's gotten so bad that now I look forward to viewing shows such as "Melissa & Joey." Intellectually, I am aware this show is an affront to my intelligence, to gender roles and interpersonal relationships, to dignity and honor and the American Way™. And yet, I cannot stop watching it. Here's an episode -- you know, in case you've got 22 minutes to kill and some brain cells to spare.

It all started when I watched -- in its entirety -- My Fake Fiancé, another blow to feminism and intelligentertainment that ABCFamily delivered earlier this year. In that there's-a-reason-it-went-straight-to-cable movie, Melissa Joan Hart and Joe ("Joe"? "Joey"? I've lost track...) Lawrence play single people who meet at a friend's wedding and stage their own fake wedding to get cash and prizes. Of course, they end up falling in love and living happily, albeit snarkily, ever after.* (And if you needed me to label that with a SPOILER ALERT, you are exactly the type of person that movie and its spawn, this show, are targeted toward.)

Apparently, America just couldn't get enough of the will-they-or-won't-they** chemistry between MeJoHa and JoeLaw. And therefore, here we are: Melissa and Joe(y), playing "Melissa & Joey," which, I'm pretty sure, are the same characters they played in My Fake Fiancé, just with slightly less dimension.

To the will-they-or-won't-they, the producers have added an Awwwww! factor with two adorable teen moppets whom Melissa has taken in, after her sister (their mother) something something. It just so happens that at the same time Melissa inherits the teens, Joe(y) needs a job because of what Melissa (or perhaps her sister?) did, and so naturally, he becomes the nanny. You know, as you do.

Toss in an inexplicably humorless, inexplicably Asian*** executive assistant and numerous one night stands for both Melissa and Joe(y), and you've got a non-stop, madcap romp through today's America.

I should hate it. It should make me vomit just on principle.

And yet... And yet.

I look forward to when the new episodes come out on Hulu. I look forward to catching it when I flip past ABCFamily. I've written three spec episodes in addition to copious fanfic which honors the continuity of the "Melissa-and-Joey"-verse. Let's just say it has become my favorite new show of late. I mean, it can't compete with USANetwork's "Psych" or "White Collar" but it will draw me away from "Royal Pains" and even "Covert Affairs."

So, there it is. Now you know.

My name is Scott, and I watch "Melissa & Joey."

* I call dibs on "Snarkily Ever After" as the title of my autobiography.

** "Will they or won't they sleep together?" "Will they or won't they punch each other in the face, hard, like we so desperately want them to?" "Will they or won't they partake in an elaborate murder/suicide pact designed to frame Mayim Bialik?" (Which is TOTALLY a made-for-tv movie I would watch.)

*** Which is to say, every Asian person I've ever met**** is smarter than Melissa Joan Hart's character and there's no way "Rhonda Cheng" would have to put up with MeJoHa's shenanigans.

**** Which is to say, this man cheering on Howard at the 2008 Summer Olympics:


Esmerelda said...

Glad you are back. By the way, you should watch Modern Family

Katie Kermeen Swisher said...

Here I am, shamefully admitting that I am right with you here! Something made me totally fall for ABC Family's constant nudging to watch Melissa and Joey, and OH you must start by watching My Fake Fiance first! I fell for it, and can't stop watching the show! It's horrible. Throughout the show, I am constantly rolling my eyes at the bad acting, predictable plot, etc., but I can't turn it off. Tivo be damned.

Patricia Elizabeth said...

I'm neither embarrassed or ashamed to admit I watch this show. It's mindless and requires nothing of me and, you know what, I'm okay with that. Have you been out in the world? People expect stuff from you! Work requires you to not only show up but you have to actually earn your pay! It's a relief, then, to sit back on Tuesday nights and watch pretty people be pretty together. I only wish it were an hour!

Okay. I don't really. But I was proving a point, damn it.

Scott S. Semester said...

Haha! Patricia, I'm right there with you -- pretty people being pretty is where it's at, and I'm working on overcoming my own shame in enjoying "Melissa and Joey."

Of course, one of my main conflicts in life is my steadfast refusal to believe that people expect stuff from me...and that work requires me to show up and earn my pay. :)

RJ said...

I'm right there with you Scott. I just started watching this show on Netflix after going through a bout of depression (so let's say I needed something light to watch). And the truth is I hate it most of the ideological underpinnings of it, but I keep on watching. I guess what bothers me the most is that it pretends to be something it's not. It pretends to be progressive about gender roles because it, supposedly, subverts them. But the truth is apart from the fact that Joe has a job that it's stereotypically associated with women and Mel a high powered job stereotypically associated with men, everything in that show is a reinforcement of the dumb sexy blonde and the smart efficient male types.

Of course, now that I'm commenting I can't think of specific examples, but I should get a freaking notebook to write down everything that makes me want to throw my Nook against the window.

I find it funny sometimes and others I think it captures me with some "Who's the Boss?" nostalgia (they even did a nod to WtB having Katherine Helmond as a guest in an episode).