It's been a while since I've done a post on television. In the meantime favorite shows have come and gone back into hibernation for the summer, and guilty pleasures have filled in the waning months. So long ago it was that my mild-disdain for True Blood has morphed into mild-curiosity for its upcoming second season. What can I say... trash television is in my blood, and similarly, it only took me six years to realize that mockery alone would never justify my watching The L Word. Then I realized what it was about that show. Set aside the fact that its deplorable characters were barely recognizable scene to scene, and the fact that its season long murder "mystery" was resolved with a L'Oréal commercial, the show did have Pam Grier chewing the background scenery as she struggled to remember her lines. That and Jane Lynch.
She's really all you need to make must-see television. But add in the factor of writing that isn't embarrassing and you can achieve something really special. Two of my current TV interests, Party Down and Glee, are both currently fighting over the brilliant comic timing of Jane Lynch.
Party Down is a superb show I only heard about a week ago, coinciding with the end of its first season. No surprise really considering it airs on the Starz Network, but that's forgetting that outside of Jane Lynch, we also get the likes of Ken Marino (The State) and Martin Starr (Bill of Freaks & Geeks), as well as drool-worthy Paul Rudd as co-creator and pilot writer! It's also a Veronica Mars reunion of sorts with creator Rob Thomas executive producing and various members of that ensemble making appearances, including a stellar Kristen Bell cameo. And did I mention that Fred Savage directs half the season? Who knew? But again... the Starz network.
The show follows a troupe of struggling actors and screenwriters whose catering job accentuates that their lives and dreams couldn't be more disparate. Party Down is funny, evolving, and with its own unique feel from workplace comedies like The Office. It has just been picked up for a second season and just ended its first on a wonderful high note. And yet... where's Jane Lynch going? Her character Constance, a one-time actress (resume: Dingleberries) with a burgeoning career in self-delusion, is the show's best comic highlight. Although as the season progressed she moved further into the background until she was indiscernible from Jennifer Coolidge!! Though smart casting decision on the part of Party Down since Jennifer Coolidge could almost - almost - make you forgive Jane Lynch's absence, she's just that good. Watch as she trips on mushrooms at a high dollar catering event in "a purple tube of consciousness," confusing lemons for "sun eggs."
Who do we have to blame for Jane Lynch theft? The Fox Network. Always blame the Fox Network... At least it turns out it's for a show with some real potential and another role that serves Lynch's best interest. Fox's Glee, which doesn't begin its season run until September, has a nice mix of good intentions and genuine quality. The show follows Mr. Schuester (played by the "I'm happy to repeat high school, he's so sexy" Matthew Morrison), a teacher longing to inspire new students as he is flooded with memories of past glee - the kind of glee that comes with having been in the Glee Club.
All that glee would be unbearable if it weren't for some honest laughs and a few surprising musical numbers. It may be a small leap from High School Musical, but it's a small and epic leap, and it leaves lots of promise with its pilot episode (currently free for viewing at Hulu.com). That promise also includes Jane Lynch as a cheerleading coach, probably equal to Constance in both meager screentime and grand self-delusion. Although if Jane Lynch reads this, it would fill me with... glee... if you'd choose to continue with Party Down. You know how Fox likes to cancel anything with redeeming value. You were on Arrested Development.
Here's the pilot episode's effectively upbeat musical number for Journey's "Don't Stop Believin." You'll either cringe or you'll be filled with... glee. Either way I think I see Jane Lynch!