This Is Either Edgy, Or Stupid, Or Both


One thing I forgot to include in my weekend post — about why Unhappily Ever After has turned out to be the better of Kevin Connolly’s two shows — is this clip, which may be the closest thing this show had to an iconic moment (well, that and all the scenes of drunken audience members hooting at Nikki Cox), and sort of sums up why this crass, stupid, cheap (it was literally the lowest-budgeted scripted network show of its era) has gained a certain cult following. The hero talks to his imaginary friend about how to deal with his daughter’s unsuitable boyfriend, and they spend three minutes discussing the best solution: kill the boyfriend, and then kill six random strangers so that the police will look for a motiveless serial killer.

It is at once really dark and really stupid, but you’ve got to give them credit for doing a sequence you wouldn’t see on other comedies — on broadcast, HBO or any self-respecting network. There are some network TV shows that are the equivalent of Roger Corman movies: they have no money, they’re obviously ripped off from other projects, and they’re crass and exploitative, but they do stuff that prestigious shows wouldn’t ever try. The WB and UPN had a few shows like that in the ’90s, as these shows often tend to exist on networks that aren’t “real” networks. I make no great claims for such shows, except that they were sometimes more fun to watch than a lot of shows that were theoretically better.


This Is Either Edgy, Or Stupid, Or Both

  1. Now I remember why I never watched this show.

    • That’s also a valid reaction.

      I’ve always had the feeling that if one of the successful writers from this show (like J. Stewart Burns, later of Futurama and The Simpsons) were complimented on his work for it, he’d react the way Woody Allen does in Manhattan when Diane Keaton compliments him on his terrible sitcom. On the other hand, Keaton was right and Woody Allen’s sitcom was undoubtedly way better than the book he’s writing, and I think I lost my train of thought.

      • To go further down the Woody Allen trail: Just re-watched "Manhattan" and was struck by what an old grump Allen was, even then. He keeps insisting that the younger generation was raised on "drugs and television" and therefore have no taste. This may be true (or not) but it doesn't make him someone you want to root for.

        • There was a lot of that going on in the late ’70s. Paddy Chayefsky’s script for Network has a lot of rants about These Young People raised on television and cartoons and sensationalism and how much better and nicer TV was in Paddy’s day.

        • I think anyone who describes Allen as 'an old grump' is entirely missing his humour. Allen's humour is in eternal lament, which is different from grumpiness. His tone is almost always one of "look how miserably we fail, and me especially". If he weren't so self-deprecating, I might understand the 'grump' accusation.

          • I know the difference between humor and being an old grump. When Woody Allen ends his grumping with an insight or a twist, that's funny. When it's just a tirade about how kids don't like the same things he does, that's grumpiness. He is often very funny, just not in "Manhattan." "Annie Hall" is hilarious because he plays a loser. In "Manhattan" and later "Star Dust Memories" he plays a successful artist. It ain't as funny. And where I come from, humor only has one u.

          • Macleans is a Canadian magazine. Thus humour is spelled with two u's. Deal.