Friday, March 28, 2008

Miss Guided - Growing and Learning

Hot Sub - Ep. 102, The List - Ep. 103, Rebel Yell - Ep. 104, Pool Party - Ep. 105

Okay, the show goes for the cheap jokes more than I would expect a show from a former The Office writer (Caroline Williams) should but since much of it is delivered by Judy Greer, I still laugh. I'm not sure if I love the show or love that I feel guilty for loving the show but I'm enjoying it despite some of the tendencies to veer towards a Fox show, so it's amazing what a good actress can do with some of the obvious cliched material.

Not that cliches are not funny. Sometimes they can be damn hilarious! And Miss Guided mines the high school is life and life is high school metaphor to its fullest level, repeating all the embarrassments in the faculty reliving their lives in that damn hormonal angst ridden filled building.

Maybe because I don't really watch SNL regularly (sorry dudes, I may love my TV but I have better things to do on my Saturday nights) but I am not tired of Chris Parnell's caricatured antics. Love them. And his sly regular guy creepiness is a nice opposition to Judy Greer's waif-like innocence and they make a nice comedic combo/rivalry.

Then there's Kristoffer Polaha, he of the bland caucasian male love-interest potential role. Except, I kinda love him, and I love Kristoffer for doing comedy, and he makes a lovely convincing good guy. Come on, I was not watching the entire series of North Shore for Amanda Righetti or Shannen Doherty. Plus, his recounting his days with the boys and making them sound gayer than it was, were hilarious line readings. Then again, they were hilarious lines!

I kinda like Brooke Burns doing comedy. Yes, she still scares me, but she hinted at her comedic chops on the short lived Pepper Dennis, and while she's certainly not at Greer, Parnell or even Polaha's level, she's not Britney (who wasn't totally bad herself, not great, but not bad) and I commend her for doing this. I feel she's LEARNING and I support that! (Okay, that was my guidance advice for the day).

The episodes are improving as I'm enjoying all the caricatures/characters more and more (well, duh, as most TV shows do before our expectations became sky high for perfect pilots). And just as ABC seems to be burning off the 7 episodes made within 3 weeks. I hope they at least give the show a longer chance for it to find it's stability but it doesn't seem like they will. Even The Office was originally written off as a ratings loser in the first season, where it was really only helmed by the fact that they were direct copies of the cult favorite originals. Miss Guided is still far better than many other comedies that have lasted longer (Carpoolers (which I actually enjoyed on some weird level), Cavemen, any comedy on Fox that lasted a season or more (except The Simpsons). So ABC, you can't let Cavemen get a bigger order of episodes than Miss Guided so time to up your order and give the show a chance to grow!

So, what's happened so far? We already had the guest star as the new Spanish sub played by exec. producer Ashton Kutcher. He wasn't so funny (was he ever, even on That 70's Show?). I don't hate the guy or anything, I actually think he's smarter than he looks, but just like in everything else he's been in, Ashton isn't so much as funny as everyone's reaction around him is. So seeing Judy Greer slowly fall for him after initially dismissing the new hot sub for someone that would dismiss her (got all that?), and watching Brooke Burns' Lisa's delusioned advances worked more than Ashton's antics themselves.

Loved Parnell's reaction to the internet gossip site when rumours of his sexuality are brought up with some choice photos, and loved the photos he provided to prove his heterosexuality. Poor Becky has her embarrassing Britney/Lindsay/any The Hills girls moment, but at least they've toned it down because it verged on painful in the pilot. At least they offset it all with direct interviews with the camera where Becky (or any other character) can excuse themselves for the embarrassment and explain themselves (despite how delusional they may have been).

The flashbacks to Becky's youth though may verge on the painful though, and they are pretty obvious jokes, but whatever, I laugh.

Especially when Becky recounted all the horrible things fellow teacher Mrs. Poole harassed her both now and in her high school days as a student.

They still haven't used Earl Billings enough but while he first seemed like the token black character they needed to add, he's now the token bigger black man who is sarcastic as hell and can deliver some lines with a monotone voice, a flicker of the eyebrow and nail the joke dead on. His name however is not Stanley, it's Principal Huffy, but the character is definitely improving now that he's getting more screen time. Loved that he hated Mrs. Poole (does Edie McClurg always play Mrs. Poole? Man, I forgot Jason Bateman was in that) just as much as everyone else in the end.

My favorite episode so far though was Rebel Yell when the good kid gets dressed up like the punk rocker to get girls and that Becky gets it and is in on the scheme. Cute!

Becky tries to be "bad" when she joins Tim and Lisa after hours at the school when the teachers must hand in their grades early, and they vandalize the school. Loved that the cops though her sponge painting of her own room was the worst case of vandalizing they had seen!

I laughed out loud throughout the episodes so far even though I felt like I had heard a lot of the set ups before, but hey, the life embarrassments are funny because they are true, so why blame them for reinventing the comedic wheel? Considering all that, the show still feels a little fresh, much to the credit to the cast and the absurd feel, but I say MORE! Go for it!


jeremy said...

I actually looked up Kristoffer to see what else he had done. I think he's dreamy. I like that he's not super-skinny or overly buff. But I wouldn't call him bland caucasian especially since he's half-Hawaiian, I believe.
But he is kinda generic--he played JFK, jr. in the JFK, jr. story way back in '03.

Vance said...

Oh yeah, no. I meant he fills that "role" that they seem to have in every show of this type. Yet he comes out better than a typical actor does in there, looking dreamy AND being funny at the same time!

Yah, I remember the JFK Jr thing being his breakout role.

The CineManiac said...

I'm really enjoying this show, more and more each episode as well.
I loved the 'Breakfast Club' montage as they ran from Parnell. And I agree that it was th best episode so far.

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