Ahhhhhhhh. After about 20 minutes of trying to figure out why this show is called Traffic Light, I finally got it. At first I thought it was because about half the episode seemed to be taking place in the characters’ cars, and then I wondered if maybe between this and House, some Fox executive just likes naming shows after things he sees on the way to work. (Which got me psyched for the new 2011 fall lineup, including promising new series like Bus Stop and Homeless Guy Scratching His…Oh My God He’s Doing That in Public?!)
Then of course it all clicked into place: It’s a metaphor! A semaphore metaphor to be precise. Ethan, the British bachelor, is the green light; Adam, who just moved in with his girlfriend, is the yellow light; and Mike, who is married, is the red light. When they finally made that clear, I felt like Archimedes or Chazz Palminteri. I guess I probably would have known earlier had I watched the original Israeli show it’s based on. Actually, come to think of it, are all Israeli shows really high-concept? CBS’ short-lived The Ex List was imported from there, and that was about a woman who had to re-date all her ex-boyfriends because a psychic told her to. And In Treatment, with its patient-a-day format, is the ultimate in big-idea TV. Hmm, that makes me want to finally pitch my awesome sitcom idea: Mossad of the Bed, about two married Israeli ex-agents who have covertly kidnapped each other’s hearts.
But stretch of a premise aside, I’ll say Traffic Light gets points for having somewhat interesting characters and no laugh track cackling loudly in your ear every 4.6 seconds — which is the exact, scientifically proven amount of time that a sitcom-watcher can go without being reassured that what he or she is watching is actually funny. (Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory calculated that one out.) The “relationships, amirite?” plot-lines of the pilot were a little shaky and old-hat, but if the show manages hits its stride, I could see adding it to my comedy to-watch list.
What did you think of Traffic Light? Will you keep watching? Are you happy to see Roy from The Office finally made it into a committed relationship? And tell the truth, you’d totally watch Mossad of the Bed, wouldn’t you?