Image Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/FoxIt’s been a week since the news broke, and I’m still devastated that Fox won’t be ordering more episodes of Running Wilde. The show wasn’t perfect by a long shot, and it definitely felt quite a bit like the creators were trying to fit the comedy of Arrested Development into a more conventional sitcom. But the show was improving week-by-week, thanks a zippy co-lead performance by Keri Russell. Plus, the supporting cast was incredible (especially Peter Serafinowicz’s Fa’ad, a character who came thiseclose to offensive but instead became a walking joke of excessive decadence.) No one will believe me, but I thought Running Wilde was the funniest new show this season (besides Hawaii Five-0, of course.) PopWatchers, do you know my pain? Have you ever experienced the pain of loving a show that everyone else despised?
For some reason, when I was a kid, I mostly kept the TV set turned to the channels that played Simpsons reruns, which meant that during my early formative years I almost exclusively watched two networks: UPN and The WB. So I’m not joking when I say that, for a brief and terrible moment, my favorites shows on TV were Star Trek: Voyager, Unhappily Ever After, and Homeboys In Outer Space. I can blame those loves on youthful indiscretion (although I still adore the Bobcat Goldthwait rabbit from Unhappily Ever After).
Less easy to explain is my fervent adoration — addiction, really — to HBO’s unfondly remembered surf-noir/religious-parable John From Cincinnati. The show, which had the misfortune to debut immediately after the series finale of The Sopranos, has practically become a shorthand for travesty TV. But I came to the series a year after its ignoble cancellation… and I was instantly hooked. I devoured all ten episodes in under one week.
The thing is, I can’t quite explain why I enjoy the show. It’s slow, ponderous, and apparently nonsensical. One of the characters, a teenager, seems to age five years in one season (which is especially noticeable, since the whole season covers just a week and a half of real time.) Bruce Greenwood, nominally the main character, disappears for most of the season. I practically cried during the final episode, but I had no clue what was going on. (It either had something to do with the Iraq war, or with the corruption of the surfing industry.) It’s a bit like Lost In Translation: Everything the haters say is totally true, but I could still watch it forever.
PopWatchers, are there shows you love that everyone else can’t stand? Is it because they’re all stupid, or are you just way cooler than them? Any other John From Cincinnati lovers want to help explain why the show is so much better than its reputation?