Peter Travers went to a screening of I Love You, Beth Cooper and found himself wondering “how a movie could be this unfunny, this dead on arrival.” Perhaps we should have seen this coming; despite the reasonable success of the novel the movie is based on, Larry Doyle is getting to be one of those writers whose name on a film or TV show sets off all kinds of mental alarm bells. Not just TV, actually, since one of his other credits is writing the late ’80s/early ’90s revival of Pogo, which — according to Doyle himself – bombed because “the writing wasn’t very good.” (The drawing, by Neal Sternecky, was quite good, and the writing improved a bit after Doyle left, but too late to save the strip.)
But his other credits include many of the worst episodes of The Simpsons — okay, on The Simpsons you can’t blame one writer for an episode, but he was one of the key writers of the Mike Scully years — and is the credited writer of Looney Tunes: Back In Action. And most importantly, he produced a series of Looney Tunes cartoons for Warner Brothers (originally meant to tie in with Back In Action) that were so bad that most of them were never released in North America. These cartoons were mean-spirited, smug, condescending to the audience and contemptuous of the characters, which sort of confirmed every suspicion a viewer might have had about Doyle’s work; you might not have blamed him for “Pygmoelian” or the whole script of Back In Action, but his personal stamp as producer is all over this.
Now that I have said this, Larry Doyle will come up with something human and funny and prove me wrong. And he still won’t earn forgiveness for “My Generation G-G-Gap.”