On the Air
- TV Series
In the 1950s, a group of television performers attempt to put together a live variety program and often find disastrous results.In the 1950s, a group of television performers attempt to put together a live variety program and often find disastrous results.In the 1950s, a group of television performers attempt to put together a live variety program and often find disastrous results.
The series is about a TV series from the 50s called The Lester Guy Show. Lester is a faded film star whose plans for a TV comeback are spoiled by his co-star Betty, whose sweet innocence wins over audiences even as her complete idiocy leaves her bumbling and fumbling through life. Lester plots to destroy Betty, Betty drifts along in a haze, and the rest of the characters take pratfalls and yell a lot.
The first episode, directed by David Lynch and written by Lynch and Mark Frost, is utterly brilliant; a crazy, hilarious screwball comedy that mocks and embraces 50s TV. This is must-see for any Lynch fan, or, really, anyone.
Lynch then disappears. You've still got a fine cast and some weird humor, but nothing attains the heights of that initial episode. Although the other episodes aren't as bad as I recall.
Lynch co-wrote the final episode, and it's utterly insane. Not super funny, but really bizarre.
It's clear that what the series needed was Lynch. Without him, the craziness waned and the series lost that weird edge.
Here's what I wrote 8 years ago:
Title: Watch the First Two Episodes, then Stop
For years I was unhappy with the cancellation of On the Air. True, the last of the 3 episodes shown was abysmal, but the first two were hysterically funny, brilliant and original. I didn't think it could have just collapsed altogether after such a great start.
Years later, I saw the rest of the series, and yes, it could all collapse, because after those first two brilliant episodes, the show became dreadful. It really went from being a weird take-off of dumb sitcoms to just being a dumb sitcom with some weirdness in it. It just wasn't funny. A couple of episodes were decent, many were just pure tedium, and none matched those first two.
I have to say it: On the Air deserved to be canceled. But the first two episodes are as funny as anything that has ever been on television.
- Nov 1, 2009