Monday , April 22 2024
After two episodes, I've decided to pull a show from my weekly viewing lineup.

Dear The Class, I Hereby Expunge You From My TiVo Forever

As a wise man once said: "That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more." The Class is officially off my watch list, and I’m not happy about it. Still though, I don’t have a choice any more, it’s gone. It’s been taken off the “Season Pass” list on my TiVo, I’ve removed all entries of it from the “To Do” list, and I’m even contemplating going into my “Recently Deleted” folder to permanently expunge any of the bad memories associated with it.

Call me foolish, but I believe a required part of being a comedy is being funny.  The Class intimates that I’m wrong about this, however. Here’s a comedy with nothing funny about it.  Let’s see: suicide – not funny, running people over – not funny, incredibly one-note stereotypical characters across the board – not funny. 

Let’s look at a quick example of not funny. Sam Harris’ character, Perry. And, sadly for Sam, it’s not his fault. Over the course of two episodes, he’s been given one joke and forced to tell it over and over and over again. The problem is that the audience got the joke with his first words: we know that Perry has all the affectations commonly associated with gay men. This is supposed to be funny because his wife Holly (Lucy Punch) had a crush on one of her classmates who turned out to be gay. See, that’s funny — she married a seemingly gay man after having a crush on one. 

It might have worked as a joke the first time out, but by the end of the second episode it is incredibly grating.  Will & Grace’s Jack just went off the airwaves at the end of last season; did the producers of this show not get to see any of the eight seasons of episodes of Will & Grace in order to see how the character could be written? There were times when Jack got old, but Perry is less than a shadow of Jack’s character. 

I said this once before, but I’ll say it again: repeated jokes about someone trying to kill themself is not funny. Yet, the second episode of The Class ends with the another joke about Richie (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) getting interrupted in the middle of a suicide attempt. Yeah, that’s funny. This man is unable to kill himself because the phone rings, and then he might have succeeded in taking enough pills only to decide he may not want to die because the phone rings again. Not funny.

Sure, we all learned over 35 years ago that "Suicide is Painless", but that’s not the same as an attempt being funny. We, as a nation, sign petitions willy-nilly all the time and protest at the top of our lungs the smallest of issues. Are we really okay with this portrayal of attempted suicide as being funny? Where are all the activists to jump up and down and scream bloody murder?

And I’ll tell you what upsets me even more about the whole thing: The Class is hurting the ratings of one of the best shows on television – How I Met Your Mother.  Have you met Ted?  No?  You need to. This is a truly hysterical show that is far more capable of anchoring the 8 p.m. hour than The Class ever could be.  Neil Patrick Harris is pitch-perfect as Barney.  He was actually cheated, not only out of an Emmy nomination for the role, but the actual award itself.

Looking at last night’s fast affiliate ratings, How I Met Your Mother improved over The Class by 25% in the demo (adults 18-49) and did better in both households and total viewers as well (ratings taken from Mediaweek’s Programming Insider).  One of these shows could be a lead-in, and one probably shouldn’t even get to be a lead-out. 

The biggest problem of all, though, is that I didn’t want to take this show off my “To Do” list.  It’s on Mondays at 8 p.m.  That’s the start of a week of primetime, and I can’t fathom not having a show to watch in that time slot, much less a good show to kick the whole week off.  And I’m certainly not going to flip networks in order to catch the beginning of something else only to flip back in order to see How I Met Your Mother. It’s just depressing. Not depressing enough that I might try to kill myself with a bad laugh track running over it, but depressing nonetheless. 

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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