11 March 2004 | flickhead
UPN's only prayer? Maybe... It has potential.
The series premiered last night, mostly to chilly reviews, but that should really come as no surprise. All of the subtleties would have been completely lost on the majority of television critics, who are well into their forties or older, and probably haven't played a video game since the first wave of Arcade Games hit the market, twenty-five or so years ago. Ironically, these are the same critics who laud and applaud The Simpsons for fast-as-lightning sight gags, and subversive humor. I'm sure that the series' target audience (gamers 15- 35) did enjoy it, and that demographic alone can probably sustain the show, but it will be a shame if that's the case. It's about time a show tackled the stereotypes of the games played by kids and teens (and adults -great Vice City gag last night!), and perhaps this will make certain adults aware of the content of the games that they blindly buy for their children, regardless of the age recommendation on the box. While it isn't necessary to have played any of the games being addressed, it certainly helps, and the obvious targets are plentiful; The buxom female action hero, and overly hip skater games took a punch last night, as well as DOA Volleyball, Pokemon, and the portrayal of Asians in VG media; and this was only the pilot. The opportunity to tackle current events hasn't even been addressed -can you image a CG Kobe Bryant pantomiming that ridiculous apology on the sidelines of an animated basketball game, while a young lady polishes a HUGE diamond ring, which happens to be the prize that Mom Smashenburn is seeking? Or a ski-masked #32 stabbing players in an animated football game, only to be arrested by a platoon of SOCom Navy Seals wearing George W. Bush masks as the real George W plays cheerleader at the John Madden Superbowl (I won't even go into the half-time show!)? And these aren't even my below-the-belt suggestions! (Producers take notice: I've got dozens of these gems -call me!) Celebrity cameos alone could be huge.
Marcy Carsey has previously helmed some amazing, groundbreaking shows, and this is a show where the possibilities are truly endless. That said, I was somewhat surprised by the level of violence (Thomas in the pet store for instance), and the language seemed a tad inappropriate for the time slot, but it does reflect the games portrayed, and I'm all for pushing the envelope if it's done cleverly.