Mr. Coogans Monday Groove Tube Update 5.10.04

It’s time to say good bye to some old “Friends “

February 28th, 1983

May 20th, 1993

May 14th, 1998

And now

May 6th, 2004

The dates may not have much meaning, but chances are, fans will remember what they were doing those days, and likely, how down they were as they felt like an old friend was leaving them forever. The dates “M*A*S*H*,” “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” and now “Friends” officially left the air for the last time probably aren’t significant to people, but the fact that fans felt some sense of loss when they were gone for the last time probably was significant to people.

It could be argued that movies are more “glamorous” than television. Movie executives, staffers, and actors prepare tirelessly for months, and quite possibly years, to put together one movie with the world’s most beautiful and gifted actors Hollywood has to offer. After all, more money was put into Van Helsing than paying the copious salaries for all six actors on “Friends” for this whole final season.

Also, consider the movie going experience. Moviegoers get dressed, go out, pay additional money out of their pockets for a ticket and overpriced, artery hardening, food from the concession stands. Once they get into the theatre, they nestle into their comfy, padded seats, the theatre gets dark, and everyone sees the stars of the show on a screen approximately 40 feet high. The actors in the movie are larger than life and are often compensated as such. Meanwhile, avid television watchers don’t have to get dressed, inhale overpriced food, or (in theory when referring to broadcast television) have to pay additional money to see their favorite television shows. They can be as comfortable as a human can possibly be and still get the same enjoyment out of the entertainment product being provided than going out and paying extra money for a similar experience. That’s important.

Also, movies come into our lives and leave just as quickly. They provide 90-180 minutes of drama, laughter, and wonderful visuals and then they are over. They may spark some initial dialogue, debate, and interesting conversations. However, chances are, the next weekend, there will be something else coming out that will be publicized to death and reviewed similarly.

On the other hand, television shows that are able to withstand the barrage of TV critics, and potentially fledging ratings come into people’s lives to stay for long periods of time. Some popular shows only last five to seven years, while others last more than ten years, and even fewer reach the astounding 15 year mark. Despite how long a show lasts, the bottom line is the show and its characters are invited into the audience’s home every week through the television set. The same way people call their friends or family on the phone, email or write letters to them or have them over for a cup of coffee, dinner, or a weekend visit, the viewing audience invites the television characters into their home on a regular basis. In fact, in many cases, we invite these characters into our home more often than we invite our friends and family for various reasons. The difference between real people and those on the television screen is that as long as the show is on the air, they are always there providing fun, dramatic or just generally entertaining stories for the viewers at home where as real people generally live outside lives, as any healthy, productive person should and weekly (or even daily) contact is not guranteed. Yet, the characters on a successful show are always there and as the stories are told, people learn more and more about them. Whether it’s personal history, or a character’s little ticks, a viewing audience gets to know the characters really well whether they ever meet those individuals or not.

So, when people talking about NBC’s long running series “Friends” are indifferent about the show’s success or even bashing it for various reasons, it’s obvious they don’t really understand the significance of it or, at least to some degree, the power television has as a medium.

For millions of people, saying good bye to “Friends” really is like saying good bye to friends. THAT is what the big deal is.

What the comedy of “Friends” did was add something special to the stories being told about characters and a situation the show’s viewers grew to care about. As some critics have pointed out, what was different about “Friends” was that from the very beginning, a situation was created many people loved, appreciated, and to some degree, pined for. Even though two of the characters were related (Ross and Monica), what really was happening was that a group of friends replaced the role usually taken up by families. The support system the six people developed for each other was much like what most families experience. Once one “Friends” character received major life altering information, it was his/her friends that would be told first and there offering support, encouragement, or in the cases of some necessary brutal honesty, discouragement. The six “Friends” behaved more as a really close family unit and that was very different but very interesting and appealing as well.

Even more interesting about this cast is the outstanding chemistry they shared as they worked together. They made a potentially strange scenario that didn’t involve the heavy positive influence of family values appear to be very real and worth investing emotionally in, not only for the characters, but those watching at home too. In doing that, it also became possible to care about each of the characters individually as they all experienced highs and lows and did it together. Meanwhile, the characters grew up, proceeded through life, traveled, did some crazy, stupid, and funny things and they had 20-30 million other “friends” that took part in as they looked on, laughed, cried, and reacted with blank looks on their faces. All this while those viewers simultaneously lived their own crazy lives.

Also, consider the effects “Friends” had on popular culture in general. In the mid-1990s, women changed their hairstyles based on whatever Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel Green character was wearing at the time. Coffee houses that served overpriced coffee and breakfast pastries in oversized mugs and on small, unnecessary plates became more than just a place where “intellectuals” hung out. There are even people who started mirroring some of the characters physical and voice mannerisms. (That’s especially true with young women who often talk like Courteney Cox-Arquette’s Monica Gellar character study that sometime). How did this happen? It’s because the fans identified with the characters and appreciated who they were and what they had so much that fans sought to mirror what the characters were wearing, doing, and even saying. It was a group of young, twenty-something people living their crazy lives in a big city and doing it together.

Is “Friends” a truly revolutionary comedy that defined exactly what amazing comedy is supposed to look like? Some may argue “yes,” but many more would say “no” and that’s the way this writer would vote. Chandler’s (Matthew Perry) well-delivered and (largely) unexpected sarcastic one-liners were funny. Pheobe’s (Lisa Kudrow) often random thought processes and casually addressed strange major life revelations brought a different kind of laughter to the comedy. Joey’s (Matt LeBlanc) lovable, yet insanely slow and remarkably weak brain often added some humorous situations. Yet, all of those kind of characters have existed before. The sarcastic jokester, the well-traveled hippy, and the guy so stupid it’s either funny, infuriating, or both have been around for decades. Seeing them all together in one setting was an interesting twist, but it didn’t create a truly revolutionary sitcom from a comedic standpoint. It may have been well-written and delivered well by the actors, but it wasn’t ground-breaking. While the show was funny, that wasn’t necessarily the reason why it succeeded. It may have helped the cause, but the show’s accomplishments, in terms of longevity, wasn’t built on it.

While “Friends” was immensely popular and appealed to millions of people, something should be said about the 51 million people who tuned into the series finale.

Doesn’t 51 million seem a bit low?

Looking back at the other series finales mentioned earlier, “M*A*S*H*” attracted over 100 million viewers, while “Cheers” and “Seinfeld” secured in the neighborhood of 75 million. While the influx of original cable television programming had not really completely affected any of those three great shows and their finales, it still seems pretty alarming that a show as “popular” and “beloved” as “Friends” would attract approximately 33% fewer viewers than those other great shows that left the air in the 90s.

How can this be?

I think the answer is fairly simple. While “Cheers” and “Seinfeld” were more “adult” comedies, they attracted a much wider audience than “Friends” did. Watching young people “gallivant” around town living their dumb and crazy lives didn’t really appeal to the older crowd of people. Meanwhile, the soap opera elements of storytelling and male characters that were in touch with their feelings more than they led on and weren’t terribly macho turned many potential male viewers, young and old, off. So, once the finale did come, many older people and men were apathetic to a show they never got into. CBS must have known this as they bravely aired the next to last “Survivor: All Stars” and a new “CSI” against the “Friends” finale anyway. While the numbers were down slightly, the two shows STILL drew close to 19 and 21 million people respectively despite the assorted “Friends” events. Not only is that telling for CBS, but it shows that as historic as the NBC sitcom was, it wasn’t exactly for everybody.

Nonetheless, what I will remember most about “Friends” are the characters, the crazy lives they lived, everything they went through, and going along for the ride while I was watching at home.

Consider this: In the ten years “Friends” was on the air, viewers saw Rachel and Ross meet again after a long time apart, flirt, eventually get together, break up, briefly get back together, break up again, get married drunk in Las Vegas, get a quickie divorce, have a one night stand that resulted in their daughter Emma, and eventually fall in love and get together again for the last time in the finale.. Meanwhile, the audience also saw Monica and Chandler toil in failed relationships for several years, end up sleeping together in a drunken stupor while at Ross’s London wedding, fall in love while trying to keep their new relationship a secret, move in together, get married, be newlyweds, try (and fail) to have a baby before adopting a set of newborn twins and moving to the Westchester County, NY suburbs in the finale.

Through it all, fans laughed, cried, screamed in amazement, felt angry, upset, happy, satisfied, relieved, and finally, saddened that it all had to end. People that show enthusiasts had watched grow up while they grew up themselves were leaving forever after Monica and Chandler left that big, rent controlled apartment to move to the suburbs.

Sure, “Friends” will live on in syndication heaven as long as “The Brady Bunch” has, but reliving those memories really isn’t the same. It’s almost like thumbing through an old yearbook or watching an old home video and fondly remembering an old friend that seemed to disappear after high school or college. Sure, memories are nice. Though, it’s not as nice as meeting up with that friend and making new memories.

Now that “Friends” has been canceled, fans won’t be able to see what those people that have been in their lives for ten years through the show are up to or what adventures they’re experiencing. THAT’S why people are emotional. THAT’S why people are so nostalgic and THAT’S why the “Friends” is a big deal.

Oh yeah, and it was funny too.

What’s next for the cast?

That seems to be one of the biggest questions coming out of the “Friends” finale. All six of the show’s stars seemed to have side projects of some kind through out the ten years the show was on. Some succeeded mightily outside of their turns on the hit sitcom. Lisa Kudrow did some outstanding comic work in movies like Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and Analyze This and did a credible job with roles in dramas like The Opposite of Sex and Wonderland. Courteney Cox-Arquette took part in several low key independent films and the highly successful Scream trilogy. Meanwhile, in addition to being on “Friends” Jennifer Aniston has run the gamut of movie roles appearing in a full-fledged blockbuster (Bruce Almighty) and a cult classic (Office Space) and also receiving critical acclaim for her role in The Good Girl.

In the meantime, the men of “Friends” seemed to not fair as well than the women of the show. David Schwimmer embarrassed himself in mid-90s flops like The Pallbearer and Breast Men and has largely stayed away from the big screen since then. Matt LeBlanc has fallen a similar path after roles in the horrible Ed and Lost In Space and Matthew Perry has struck out after making an unnecessary sequel to the surprise hit The Whole Nine Yards and other clunkers like Serving Sara and Three to Tango.

Then again, it could be argued that the women of “Friends” have also had some dud performances and the men have performed exceptionally as well. After all, Aniston had a big part in the dreadful Rock Star; Cox-Arquette took part in the Elvis impersonator caper, 3000 Miles to Graceland and married David Arquette; and Kudrow had the nerve to take part in Marci X and Lucky Numbers. On the other side, Schwimmer has established himself as a credible television director as he was at the helm of nine “Friends” episodes and is likely to do the same for LeBlanc’s new series, “Joey.” In addition, he did a great job playing “himself” this past season on HBO’s improvisational comedy, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Perry did a nice job in Fools Rush In and was funny in the original mob comedy, The Whole Nine Yards. Even LeBlanc has been a part of a commercially successful movies with supporting roles in both of Drew Barrymore’s Charlie’s Angels films.

What’s the bottom line of briefly perusing the cast members’ résumés?

Essentially, it can be said that over the last ten years, all six “Friends” actors have tasted success and also experienced bitter disappointment outside of the successful sitcom, but none of that really matters when the six of them are taping 20+ episodes per year of the most popular and successful sitcom on the planet. They may be terrible in one outside project, but none of that matters when their “job” is to make $1 million and 25 million people laugh per new episode. They all worked together and did so very well. The chemistry between the cast members was undeniable and while I can’t recall it happening, it would feel wildly empty if even just one of the cast members had “the nerve” to take a week off due to outside commitments. However, they don’t have each other now. They don’t essentially share one mammoth career as successful television sitcom leads. Well, that means the six of them will have to carve out six unique, different, and hopefully, successful careers. After all, while none of them need any more money, they probably don’t want to their legacy to JUST be known as the cast of “Friends”. So, who has the best chance of making “Friends” a distant memory? Who has the best chance of being “successful?” Interesting question let’s take each one (in no particular order) and see what the verdict may be:

*** Matt LeBlanc “Joey Tribbiani” is in a bit of a unique situation. Even though he’s getting away from “Friends” by starring in his own sitcom, he’s essentially carrying on the “Friends” legacy by resurrecting the character. It’s a good idea for him to stay in situation comedy primarily because he has a knack for delivering the humorous one-liners and developing a character that people want to see every week on their television. Perhaps he’ll return to the big screen at some point later. However, for now, this is a good career move, especially since he’ll be working with some of the people that did him well (producers and writers Kevin Bright, Shana Goldberg-Meehan , and Scott Silveri) on “Friends.”

*** Courteney Cox-Arquette First things first, Courteney is in the third trimester of her pregnancy, so now that all the drama associated with the airing of the “Friends” finale is over, she will likely be taking some time off to be pregnant and then be a mother. From there, I’d say her next move is anyone’s guess. She recently acted in a psychological thriller movie titled November, but after the movie debuted at Sundance, it received poor reviews and was not picked up a studio for distribution. She’s also executive producing with her husband a home improvement show for WE, the Women’s Entertainment network, called “Mix It Up.” She’s a bit of an enigma as far as I’m concerned. She’s done some films and performed admirably, but she’s also never had a real breakout performance outside her portrayal of Monica Gellar. With the new baby and family on her mind, it doesn’t seem likely she will return to full-time television acting again anytime soon. Instead, she may end up doing more work as a producer or perhaps acting in smaller, independent films or anything else away from the mainstream and the intense public eye. Then again, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for her to star as a possible Tom Cruise or Bruce Willis love interest in a big, blockbuster movie. She really is an enigma

*** Matthew Perry Speaking of an enigma, what could be next for the fellow that played Chandler Bing? He has two movies, Fever, and The Beginning of Wisdom that he is starring in that are in production right now, but the details are vague and the casts aren’t set. Chandler (and the way Perry played him) was always funny and delivered his sometimes smarmy, often sarcastic one-liners with a certain comedic grace. In addition, he showed how great he can be with physical comedy in The Whole Nine Yards. Yet, he’s also performed credibly in guest spots on NBC’s White House drama, “The West Wing,” as well showing he can be more than just a jokester handy to deliver the one-liners. After The Whole Ten Yards bombed at the box office, it could be argued Perry didn’t look like a very hot commodity. Then again, coincidentally or not, the bomb got lost in all the “Friends” hoopla and he came out mostly unscathed. It would seem in his best interest to try something different from a comedic perspective like seeing if he can work with Ben Stiller on what he’s got in development. Then again, with the right script, he could possibly succeed in a dramatic role as well. It will be intriguing to see which direction he decides to go.

***Lisa Kudrow “Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan” has already said publicly that she’s going to take more time and spend it with her family so not to miss her son growing up. However, it does appear she will be keeping busy as she’s signed on to take part in two films: the drama Living and Breathing and an interesting ensemble dramedy tying in ten different interwoven storylines together called Happy Endings. Considering the other work she’s done outside of “Friends” over the last several years, the smaller scale, independent film seems to be the way she wants to go. It could be said that she may morph into the female Dan Aykroyd. She’s very funny and can also play the dramatic. She certainly could play a lead role any time she wishes, but is perfectly happy becoming a character actor taking smaller roles as well. All this is just like Dan Aykroyd. Whether or not that comes to pass will remain to be seen.

*** David Schwimmer As stated earlier, Schwimmer has already directed nine episodes of “Friends” and it appears he’ll be directing at least several episodes of Matt LeBlanc’s new show, “Joey” as well. From what he’s communicated through the media, he’s intently interested in doing more directing, as much as possible really. So, that appears the career direction he’s taking. Will he be the next Ron Howard? Probably not Though, he could certainly turn into someone like James Burrows who directed multiple successful shows including “Friends,” “Frasier,” “Cheers,” and the Mary Tyler Moore show. In addition, “the one who played Ross Gellar” won’t be abandoning his acting roots as he’s set to star in an intriguing family dramedy with Janeane Garofalo titled Duane Hopwood.

***Jennifer Aniston If there is one of the six “Friends” actors that is likely to make the jump to mega movie star, it’s going to be Jennifer Aniston. Not only has she proved somewhat of box office draw already working with established stars in movies like Bruce Almighty and Along Came Polly, but she is probably the one actress in the entertainment industry that receives the most media attention in all of the entertainment industry because of her marriage to fellow superstar, Brad Pitt. She’s younger than the other women (important considering the roles for older women in Hollywood seem to be few in number), beautiful, has demonstrated a decent range in her acting (though she has been drawn mostly to romantic comedies and dramas), and America is entranced with her. Seeing as all those are true, she could certainly anchor some big budget movies and draw decent numbers. In fact, with four projects in development for her in the next 18 months, she could get her chance to really shine and show the world what she can do outside of the small screen. While it’s very subjective to define “success,” if a person who thinks the most number of movies made, money earned, and media coverage defines “success,” then that person should put their money on Jennifer Aniston.

How will “Joey” do?

Another captivating question to ask as the “Friends” cast goes their separate ways is: “How do you think ‘Joey’ will do?” The answer to that question is, in part, pretty obvious. There is no doubt that “Joey” will attract a very large audience to it initially, especially if NBC decides to let Matt LeBlanc warm the hearts of young people everywhere from the same timeslot he’s occupied for ten years already (Thursday nights at 8:00). People still aching to have their “Friends” itch scratched can do so…to a degree by watching Joey Tribbiani storm Los Angeles and try to further his acting career while living with his sister in the process. Not only will the desire to see a “Friend” be there at the outset, the curiosity factor will certainly loom large in the first couple of weeks. Can Matt LeBlanc carry his own sitcom? Is the show funny? Will the audience care about the other characters enough to tune in week after week? While the writers and production staff may think they can wait all season to really, truly answer these questions, in the audience’s collective mind, they will probably two or three episodes tops. If they like what they see, they will stick around. If not, they probably won’t. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is often employed by television executives and it’s why shows like “Wonderfalls” get canceled and shows like “Arrested Development” are constantly on the bubble never guaranteed to return for another season. Normally, I don’t support this kind of thinking because I do think it’s important to give certain shows a chance. However, in the case of “Joey,” a show built on an established sitcom franchise, if it can’t attract a large audience right away or if that audience disappears in just a few weeks time, that’s definitely reason for concern and it may cause the high profile spin-off to fade away quicker than Fox’s “Playing it Straight.”

Then again, despite the premature audience analysis, none of it may matter. There is a pretty good chance that “Joey” will step right in and secure the exact same audience that “Friends” garnered over its ten year run. Even if the show only attracts 70-80% of that audience, chances are NBC will be satisfied with the results and will be able to sleep at night knowing they made the right move to green light the show.

What I find remarkably interesting about this show is that it seems that it will be remarkably similar to NBC’s last successful spin off, “Frasier” which itself is ending its 11-year network run this week. Consider the similarities.

*** Both Joey and Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) left the east coast (New York City and Boston respectively) when their ensemble shows were canceled and headed as far west as possible to get away from their old lives (Los Angeles and Seattle).

*** Both characters head out west and end up rekindling relationships with family members they had recently lost touch with. Joey will do so with his sister and nephew while Frasier did with his father Martin (John Mahoney) and brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce).

*** Taking that point further, the same way Frasier took his dad in to create the primary set being his new apartment complex, Joey’s sister will take Joey in and create the primary set being her apartment complex.

*** In addition to incorporating the family aspect of the show, “Joey” will integrate family AND friends as main characters the same way “Frasier” has done during its run (primarily seen with Daphne played by Jane Leeves and Roz played by Peri Gilpin).

*** As previews have indicated, “Joey” will make regular mention of his old life and friends in New York City the same way “Frasier” incorporated his ex-wife, Lillith (Bebe Neuwirth) into storylines on a regular basis and occasional appearances by former “Cheers” cast members. However, in both series, the idea is that both men will be trying to get AWAY from their old lives, establishing themselves in a new situation with new people, and watching them grow as people. The viewing audience certainly saw Frasier do that, for better or worse, and there is a good chance, faithful viewers will be able to see Joey Tribbiani grow the same way.

Is the television sitcom dying?

As long running, successful sitcoms “Friends,” “Frasier” and possibly “Everybody Loves Raymond” get ready to leave the air, the chic question journalists and some experts are asking is: Is the television sitcom dying? Is the industry in the process of being bombarded by reality television offerings, “Law & Order” and “CSI” spin-offs?

I admit that for a period of time, I was teetering back and forth between whether I should be worried about the television industry essentially eliminating a format that’s been around for just about the entire history of the medium. I have written in the past about not worrying about sitcoms because as “Friends” leaves the air, shows like “Scrubs” and “Will & Grace” will continue to pick up the slack and become television institutions to some degree. However, I’ve also done a little analysis of the Nielsen ratings over the last 10 years and discovered that the numbers support that sitcoms used to be big in 1993 but now the top rated programs are all reality shows like “American Idol” and “Survivor.”

What exactly is happening here?

I like the answer Dr. Robert Thompson, founder of Syracuse University’s Center for Popular Television, gave during a classroom lecture last month. He acknowledged that sitcom tastes have evolved over the last 15-20 years. In thinking about it, he has a great point. Even those who don’t really like “Seinfeld” have to acknowledge that it was a remarkably well-written sitcom that required viewers to THINK to get the jokes. I think the same sentiment can he made for shows like “The Simpsons,” “Frasier,” and to some degree, “Friends.” In many instances, the jokes aren’t handed to viewers on a silver platter, they are subtle. In addition, looking at “The Simpsons” especially, in many instances many of the jokes draw from previous episodes, requiring fans to watch and follow along on a regular basis to really GET the jokes. The storylines rarely carry on from episode to episode, season to season, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to pay attention. The dopey stuff seen in the as late as the early-to-mid 90s with real gold like “Full House” and Urkel’s “Family Matters” isn’t going to cut it anymore. Sitcom writers in 2004 need to “just bring it” if their show is going to survive. It isn’t enough to JUST be wacky (like Fox’s short lived “Cracking Up”) or JUST to make a political statement (like NBC’s questionable offering, “Whoopi”) or JUST mean be mean and nasty (like John Larroquette’s lead character in NBC’s “Happy Family”). There has to be a lot more to a sitcom than just one long running theme that’s supposed to make a show funny and important. How does that happen? It’s about the writing, stupid!

Dr. Thompson also brought up another outstanding point during his lecture about the influx of reality television. The industry has always gone through PHASES of sort. In the 70s, variety shows were big for a short time. The 1980s saw the primetime soap opera attracting big audiences with shows like “Dallas” and “Dynasty.” The mid-to-late 90s saw the rise of the primetime news magazine (remember when “Dateline NBC” was on four times per week?). Finally, thanks to the rise of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” the earlier part of this decade saw the brief resurgence of the primetime game show, right around the time “Survivor” was making its mark and establishing the reality “format” to not only be legitimate, but profitable as well.

At this point, it may be a bit naïve to say that the emergence of reality television is just a “phase” or a “fad.” After all, “Survivor” has finished eight pretty highly rated seasons, “American Idol” is as popular as ever, and “The Apprentice” was a sensation this year. However, the history of television programming has shown that one of two scenarios is likely when a new genre is introduced. Either the genre disappears (like the variety show and the prime time game show) or some room is created for each genre (like the news magazine). Considering the networks are starting to move to 12-month programming schedule, there is certainly room for the reality show genre to continue to thrive while sitcom writers attempt to rediscover the magic they had before all of the reality shows came into play and nabbing important primetime timeslots. While it may appear that reality television is ready to take over the world, I think it’s important to consider some of these trends in the industry before declaring the sitcom to be dead. It certainly isn’t dead maybe it’s just in a little bit of a funk.

And that’s the end Similar to the way the entertainment media and NBC bombarded their audiences with endless “Friends” analysis during the final 7-10 days, I’ve devoted a lot of column space to a great sitcom that will sorely be missed.

But just as soon as it ended, within 36 hours, it became time to move on to the next news story and that’s what I’ll do now by wrapping up this column with one other news update

Jack and Bobby on the WB?

In a move that could either prove quite strange or quite successful, the WB has already picked up 13 episodes of “Jack & Bobby,” a drama that’s eerily connected to the childhoods of former President John F. Kennedy (Jack) and his younger brother, former Presidential candidate, Robert Kennedy (Bobby). There are several major differences to the series such as the two boys being raised by a single mother instead of a rich, nuclear family and the show being set in “present day” rather than during the 1920s and 1930s when Jack and Bobby were actually teenagers. However, considering Jack is the older brother and Bobby is the younger one and it’s already been revealed that “one of them is destined to become President by mid-century” (Jack was President from 1961-1963), it seems that NOT comparing the two would seem to be a bit naïve.

How this family drama progresses and how meaningful the future revelation is hasn’t been determined yet, but the writing staff is straddling a fine line in how it attacks it. If that piece of information is never addressed again, it makes “Jack & Bobby” just a straight family drama without anything really special about it. However, if the show is based on “one of the boys” becoming President, then it, almost by default, turns into The Terminator movie trilogy where the mother will be forced to “protect” the boys so one of them can “achieve their destiny” as middle aged adults. As much as I loved that trilogy and enjoyed the entire story, basing an entire long running series on the premise is ludicrous and definitely wouldn’t work.

It’s almost as if writers and producers have already dug themselves a hole with the premise alone. Whether or not they can get themselves out and attract a decent sized audience to go along for the ride will be an interesting storyline as it is.

And that’s that Whatever you’re watching this week

Enjoy the show!

— Coogan