I rarely do TV reviews in my columns, partially because I don’t know enough about it to be a good one, but mostly because I watch too much TV anyway. And while TV critic is one of the only jobs I can do while sitting on the couch in my underwear, I’ve been told I also do that too
But after watching one-and-a-half episodes of The American Embassy on Fox (official motto: “If animals can attack it or celebrities can box with it, we’ll air it”), I can’t keep quiet. I have to speak my mind and rant about how bad this show is.
First of all, the good news. Even though it was April 1st, the Fox Network was not pulling an April Fool’s prank when they announced the cancellation of The American Embassy after four episodes. Of course, this is not a great loss, since there were only six episodes “in the can.”
While some Embassy viewers may think “in the can” actually means “in the toilet” — and they wouldn’t be far off — that’s actually hot-shot TV exec talk for “filmed, edited, and ready to be spoon-fed to a bunch of mouth-breathers who are still PO’d that ‘The Hank Azaria Show’ got the axe.”
So why did Fox boot the show originally titled “Emma Brody?” That’s easy: It stank. It reeked. It smelled. It was rank. And it had the lingering odor that comes from driving past a hog farm with your windows rolled down. In other words, it was awful.
The American Embassy is — or was — about a bunch of beautiful 20-somethings and young 30-somethings living their dramatic, profound, and life-shaping adventures as bureaucrats in the American Embassy in London. Their jobs are — or were — to issue visas, deny visas, talk
about visas, and hobnob with English royalty when they’re not messing around with visas. The result is something nearly as tedious and painful as a chess match between Cameron Diaz and Gary Busey.
Cameron: I take your prawn with my horsey guy .
Gary: That’s pawn. And I think he symbolizes the dark-pawn shadow in all of us.
Cameron: Um, whatever. Do you think I look pretty?
Think of Ally McBeal, Thirtysomething, and a really crappy version of The West Wing all wound up into a politically correct diversity rainbow at the Foreign Service Office dealing with glamorous and exciting paperwork. And despite the attempts to make their boring and mostly-pointless bureaucracy seem life-or-death important, it only served as a backdrop to the 20-something angst, soul searching, and navel gazing.
Angst? ANGST?! Why do we need yet another show about beautiful people with all the emotional depth of a high school prom spending all their time exploring their angst, dealing with their angst, and having deep ruminations about their angst?
I don’t want my country’s bureaucrats to have angst, I want them to be content with their lot in life. When these people are deciding whether to grant visas to potential terrorists, I don’t want angst to play a part in their decision making! I want them to be bored, complacent, and generally nasty.
I don’t want our country’s safety to hinge on how improbably-blonde Emma Brody torments herself about whether she should go to the Prime Minister’s Barbecue and Hoe-Down with Doug Roach, the arrogant, yet beautiful 20-something CIA agent, or Jack Wellington the selfish, yet beautiful 20-something English Lord who’s engaged to a loveless, yet beautiful 20-something English snot.
I don’t want terrorist threats to be decided while — as I read in the episode guide — Emma “ponders the question: ‘does romance exist in the world’?”
Yes it does, now go stamp some visas!
One could argue that since I’m not a critic, I don’t know what I’m talking about, but there are other critics who agree with me, which means I’m right.
One critic is Ron Martinez of the-buzz.com, who called the show “. . . pure dread. [It] appears to be a blatant, highbrow attempt at milking the current patriotism craze for all its worth, with a little Ally McBeal thrown in for the needed demographic punch.”
But E! Online’s critic, identified only as Wanda, loved the show. “Although it has gotten the ‘Ally Goes to London’ rap,” she wrote on E!’s website, “American Embassy is hardly a McRipoff.” Wanda, who seems to be more of a puppet for the entertainment industry, also said “Embassy has a fantastic script. . . (b)y the end of the first episode, you’ll be so head-over-heels for Emma Brody, you’ll be asking, ‘Ally who’?”
I think Wanda needs a demographic punch administered to her computer screen. While The American Embassy DID have a script, “fantastic” is not the word I would use for it. The word I would use starts with an S, and ends with the termination of my columnist career if I ever put it in print.
So, thanks to Fox for having some sympathy on its viewers for getting rid of a show that could only result in serious brain damage to anyone foolish enough to watch all four episodes. The only way I can watch anything associated with that show again is if Fox’s Celebrity Boxing II
features a grudge match between The West Wing’s CJ Craig and American Embassy’s Emma Brody.
Emma: So Jules, there you have it. The feelings I share between Doug Roach and Jack Wellington only reaffirm my belief that —
CJ: Whap! Pow!
Now THAT’S Must See TV.