The time has come once again (again). The summer sun set long ago. The days have grown colder and the nights have grown longer and we’ve filled those nights with
fretting about the election new fall TV. As happens every autumn, the five major networks unleashed a flurry of new programs meant to entertain us into these dark, frigid winter months (and beyond). So many choices. So much risk! How will you know what to watch? That’s where I come in. I watch every new fall pilot episode so that you don’t have to (even if it takes me months to do so). I take one for the team, so you can watch the… screen(m). It’s time for more of…
THE PILOT PROJECT (2016 Edition Pt. 2)
The Great Indoors (Thursdays on CBS)
One of my problems with the vast majority of CBS programs is that they’re all overly simplified, seemingly in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It’s not that their programs are that bad, it’s just that they’re bland retreads of ideas that have been done to death. Look at great dramas like Lost or Breaking Bad (yeah, that’s right, I’m putting them on the same level – fight me), or great comedies like Arrested Development or Community. They stretch the bounds of their genre and the format. They actively strive to break new ground and to tell stories in creative and interesting ways. CBS programs do the opposite. It’s like they actively strive to be as unoriginal as possible. Which brings me to The Great Indoors.
The Great Indoors, like most CBS comedies, can be boiled down to a simple, singular premise, which in this case is “millennials are funny”. Like Two and a Half Men (“men are funny”), The Big Bang Theory (“nerds are funny”), and Mike & Molly (“fat people are funny”) before it, The Great Indoors places all of its bets on this one joke.
Joel McHale plays Jack Gordon, the “aging” adventure journalist at the now-defunct magazine, “Outdoor Limits”. Due to the fact that print is dead, “Outdoor Limits” is shuttering its print division in favour of going fully digital. Jack is horrified, because now that “Outdoor Limits” is just a website, it apparently means he can’t go explore the world outside anymore. In fact, when you switch from being a magazine to being a website, you also have to switch from posting articles to posting memes. Like I said, everything has been overly simplified in order to beat you over the head with a singular joke. You see, Jack can’t do his previous job anymore because he’s now in charge of supervising the millennials that make up the magazine’s online team. There’s Clark (Christopher Mint-Plasse), Emma (Christine Ko), and Mason (Shaun Brown). All three are so VERY millennial. They post content such as “Best Outdoor Gear for the Zombie Apocalypse”, because while they work at an outdoor magazine, they actually know nothing about the outdoors. Because they’re millennials. And iPhones. And such. Clark hosts a podcast where he interviews Mason about his podcast. Emma is upset that she’s been working 8 weeks without a promotion. Mason keeps accidentally (?) sending people dick picks. Do you get it yet? There are frequent jokes about participation trophies. I’m not making this up. At one point Jack is referred to as “the human version of dial-up”. I haven’t cringed this much since I watched the only episode of The Big Bang Theory that I ever watched (bazinga!). Will Jack and these crazy kids ever be able to work together to create something meaningful or are they doomed to continually fall into the same old clichés? Both, probably.
I suppose if you’re old enough to find millennials perplexing (although aren’t we all?), maybe you’d get something out of the jokes involving Instagram accounts and podcasts, but if you are that sort of person then surely you’ve heard it all by now, right? In fact, you’ve probably already MADE the same jokes that these writers are being paid to think up. Doesn’t that just infuriate you? Writing isn’t even a real job though is it? Maybe they should get out of their parent’s basement and make an honest day’s living for once. You know, back in my day, we weren’t special. Siiiigggghhhhh… I just can’t even right now. :$