Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pilot Review: Mixology

Mixology (Wednesdays at 9:30 on ABC; Premieres February 26)

Some shows don't even deserve the courtesy of my thinking about it, analyzing it, and/or working out my feelings toward it. Some shows are just so unforgivably bad that little can be said to make them seem somehow redeeming or worthwhile. Some shows are so offensively conceived and written that I don't even want to remember ever watching them. Mixology is one of those shows. So I will give you two options: I will give you many of the reasons why I hated ABC's latest comedic abortion, if you are so inclined to want to know more; otherwise, you may skip ahead to the asterisk (*) for the short version of this review.

First of all, Mixology has no plot. If you've seen the films Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve, you know how this works: a bunch of unrelated people's relationships are examined--eh, that's too strong a word, and it implies cognition; let's go with "presented" instead--as they intersect in various ways. If you've seen these two films, then not only am I sorry that you also wasted your time, but you know that the whole point of them is that they are centered around major celebrations. There's nothing similar happening in Mixology. Rather than Valentine's Day, this is like... a Thursday. Maybe a Friday. I don't know... but that bar didn't look all that crowded, so either it's a crappy bar or the show doesn't take place on a weekend night.

Oh, right. All thirteen episodes of Mixology take place on the same night. As if it wasn't bad enough to be shoved in this cramped bar for one episode, the audience never gets to leave.

And beyond that, the characters are all absolutely, undeniably, infuriatingly insufferable. I hate them all. Actually, hate might not even be a strong enough word. By the end of the first episode, I wished I knew them in real life so I could knock them all unconscious and then draw obscene doodles on their faces. Because they deserve it. They're awful people... truly awful. How awful? Let me present to you a couple of direct quotes from the first episode, both out of the mouth of Maya (Ginger Gonzaga, Legit), a woman whose father never showed affection so she grew up to be a bitch. Naturally, she's a brunette who wears pant suits.

"Don Draper would have smacked my mouth. That's a man."

"She left you because you're a sniveling little bitch."

Charming, right? You'd definitely want to get her number if you tried to buy her a drink at a low-end bar and she responded like this, right? It makes a woman sexy to be a totally uncalled-for dick, right? And it's so funny to laugh at emasculated men! Because every man needs to be aggressive and driven by unmitigated testosterone. Guys like Tom (Blake Lee, Parks & Recreation), the one whom Maya is shaming, are total tools for not knowing the right names of basketball teams! Amirite?!

But don't worry; the offensive sexism isn't limited to the female characters. There are also at least two entirely misogynist male characters: Bruce (Andrew Santino) and Cal (Craig Frank). One of Bruce's first lines of the series is, "Remember: The higher the heels, the looser she feels." Words to live by, for sure. He also later calls a woman a "pig fart." Ugh.

None of this is surprising, however. Mixology has a pretty sub-standard team behind it. It's created and written by a couple of television first-timers, Scott Moore & Jon Lucas, whose biggest and most successful credit was writing The Hangover (which was a great, very funny movie... but this success is negated by the remainder of their output, which includes the abysmal films Four Christmases, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, The Change-Up, and 21 & Over). The pilot's director, Larry Charles (Emmy-nominated for Curb Your Enthusiasm), has a manic energy that makes the manic script seem even more over-the-top awful. The cast is headed by a large number of newcomers and web-series stars, none of whom are memorable or, you know, funny. And it's produced by Ryan Seacrest.

* Basically, this show is crap. It's sexist, meandering, offensive, off-putting, and not funny. It's easily my least-favorite half-hour show of the entire season, and that's saying something considering how bad a lot of the output has been this year.

Also, this poster is horrible. But it's totally indicative of how incompatible Mixology is with its lead-in, Modern Family.

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