23 July 2007 | annevejb
Whatever its reality really is, there is okay comedy here.
Margaret is switching her cultural roots completely. Considered like this, the series feels complete, if concise.
I found the first episode misleading. This is pilot episode quality. It made me look back to what I had read in the comments here, a quality series about Asian culture, and that did not fit. A series mangled by the channel that it was made for, but this was the pilot, before the mangling?
amended: For episode one to make sense to me I had to redefine it as part of TV sitcom culture, it following those ways and values. I have not seen broadcast television since the eighties and this told me that as far as sitcoms go I did not feel that I was missing anything.
The big difficulty for me was the canned audience response. I tried to imagine Buffy or Shrek with that sort of soundtrack and it did not click, to me it is a way to pull down a story, not to enhance it. I now know that I do not like can and audience applause genre, on principle.
Carrying on watching the series anyway, I did have the DVD set after all, I was discovering that the can factor was a bit calmer in the rest of the series. The humour was allowed to shine. It became noticeable and okay, not pulling down the culture that it was based on. I am from a different culture to the extent that there is a conflict of interests, but I can tolerate this. The humour reminds me of quality stand-up comedy that I used to like a lot. This says that I still like that particular genre. It helps this to be better than many sitcoms that I used to watch way back when for want of an alternative activity. Much of this series is enjoyable.
The comment about the negative support that this series received from its funding hierarchy, which would obviously be in tune with accepted sitcom ways. To me that could just be part of the script. I even assume that this one would not object to a series centred on Asians if they thought that it was on the right track. From episode eight commentary I understand the series to have originated with the network, part of a career development scheme for their comedy talent. I understand that many elements of the series content come from the script writers.
I obviously guess askew, the 'making of' video points to the hunger that backers have for precedent. The script that the backers brought in a big name, much bigger than Margaret and Amy, to ensure some sort of audience? Or is that a reminder that some here are babies in the sitcom gender? Or quality control? That Margaret and Amy are miffed by the backers' understanding? Was the series no go from the start? There are things that I do not interpret 100% literally.
The inclusion of children? It was not long after Booktopus and then the death of Inky The Squid that stand up comic Margaret spent part of an episode in jail, an episode that Ashley did not appear in. I assume that script writers play games. Jack Black.
I purchased the DVD set, a UK purchase from Canada, because it is an Ashley Johnson and My Price, very affordable. I continued trying to enjoy it because it is an Ashley, and to me it was worth the effort, even though she only appears in the early episodes. Her last episode was 13, with its death of an insect and romance between crickets.
She is a friend of family because of their son, who is not the centre of the stories, so she is not there often, anyway, but this is a nice role and nice script, she shines. I am glad she got the part. She is in 2 to 7, then 11 to 13.
amended: Ashley also appearing with Amy Hill in the series Maybe This Time of 1995. There are plenty of girl culture TV series that I would like to explore, just they are not there as full series in the affordable DVD world yet. Hannah Montana, Lizzie McGuire, etc. There seem to be affordable snippets occasionally available, but so far I do not know what these are really like and the thought of canned audience reactions is a downer. The warfare hinted at in this series would often be a problem for me too. I actually experience warfare to be rife in the media. All American is proving itself as interesting.
This links with my comments re Fame 1980 and Harry Potter 2.