Entertainment and Societal Studies
Green-man | 01/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Preliminaries: I had seen this show as kid in the '90s, and after it was taken off the air I had forgotten about it (in fact, I don't remember much beyond the first season). However, I really liked the show, and when I found it I was pleasantly surprised. I do not wish to go into too much detail regarding what the show is about because that's already provided in the product description. Basically, Caroline (Lea Thompson) lives in New York City working as a cartoonist. She has an assistant, Richard (Malcolm Gets), who comes to her apartment to work. And we cannot forget that Caroline has an on-again-off-again relationship with her boss Del (Eric Lutes). Add these particulars to antics and life episodes that come up in Caroline's (or sometimes the other characters') life and you have a show...primarily comedy, with some low-key drama added into the mix (it was the '90s after all).
Who this show is for: Fans, obviously, and anyone nostalgic about the any aspect of the '90's. This is also a good concentration in a media and sociology doctoral dissertation. I was surprised to find (because I didn't notice at the time) the semi-stereotypical roles of men and women in this show. The men (Richard and Del) are the funny ones most of the time; they get to tell most of the jokes, and they're the ones smart enough to think of quick quips, create hilarious banter, and make up great come backs. While Caroline and her neighbor Annie (Amy Pietz) do get to say something really funny every once in a while, especially near the end of the season, they are often presented as less intelligent in the humor department (that's why they can't make jokes as easily as the men), and stand in the shadow of the men in this respect.
However, the men are presented either as somewhat self-centered or caveman dumb...or sometimes both. Richard is the stereotypical artist who agonizes about his art (which is horrible), while remaining really bitter and cynical about life in general; he's the kind of artist we were all taught artists (painters and sculptures only) are. Del is the bumbling idiot who looks like a moron who couldn't even pass highschool when his character is compared to Caroline. All the women are portrayed as being far more sophisticated and intelligent to how the world works (and intelligent in general) than the men. When there is a man who is presented as intelligent in the show, he is usually a guest (so he's gone in the next episode), is presented as the perfect form of what a man should be, and is usually gay or is the butt of gay-jokes by the other male characters. There, I've just provided someone out there a thesis for their Ph.D.; don't thank me here, just put my name in the acknowledgements section of your dissertation.
Who this show is not for: Anyone who primarily hated the '90s (or at least hated the the '90s more than loved them), doesn't like television shows and movies older than five to seven years, or, obviously, can't stand any of these actors. As I said above, the characters are stereotypical of the '90s; the show does not try transcend the stereotypes present in society at the time, they simply try to mirror society. This sometimes presents annoying characters to watch, especially when you are glad we are not regulated by that kind of society as much anymore, but still recognize that much more needs to change about our societal social structures. But I'm actually not a sociologist or sociology student, so what do I know? I'm not even that interested. Moving on.
If you're looking for action, this is not it. If you're looking for romance, it has some, but it's not the whole show. If you're looking for adventure, well...keep looking. And if you're looking for a show that will pull you in and keep you watching, this would be one of those shows that has that ability, but you have to have some patience, let it grow on you a little, and remember it was the '90s--they were still trying to figure out how to make a show do that to its audience. Enjoy."