The news that TBS will take over ABC’s ratings-challenged and poorly titled “Cougar Town” answers but one of my questions about my favorite shows with uncertain futures. Now that I know the delightfully quirky cul-de-sac crew has a new address, what of “Ringer” and “Bob’s Burgers"? What of my fave guilty pleasure, “Hart of Dixie”?
Next week, when the broadcast networks announce their fall season lineups, I’ll know for sure the fates of these and other shows. Now all I can do is cross my fingers and hope. After all, “Conan”-savior TBS – and its drama-focused sister network, TNT, which rescued the superb “Southland” a few years ago – can’t step in to save every show.
I wouldn’t be too sad to see “Ringer” go; the twisted saga of twin sisters circling one another, scheming and plotting to stay alive amid some very convoluted storylines is hard to follow, a little too earnest, and often laughable. Yet there’s something compelling about it, whether it’s watching star Sarah Michelle Gellar switch from good twin to evil twin with the change of a hairstyle, or wondering how many more leaps of logic the plot will take before finally imploding. I just want to find out what happens next.
But if “Bob’s Burgers” disappears, it’s a darn shame. Nowhere on television is there quite the irreverence, the saturation of silliness, the flat-out hilarity as there is on this show. The animation is not at all refined – people have only four fingers on each hand, a la “The Simpsons,” and no one has much of a chin – but the characters, led by H. Jon Benjamin as Bob Belcher, burgermeister and patriarch, are authentically goofy and endearing. One show is packed with so many seemingly throwaway lines of pure wit and cleverness it often pays to have a finger on the rewind button. All hail Bob and his brood of burgers and little Belchers.
(I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but I kinda love “Hart of Dixie.” I know, it’s a slight and wispy confection, and it’s oh so hard to take Rachel Bilson seriously as a doctor. But it’s a fluffy ball of innocuous – and often cleverly humorous – fun. Please don’t take that away, CW!)
The good news, for fans of “Parenthood,” is a confirmed renewal; the ensemble dramedy will get another season to explore heartache and family bonds.
The bad news, for fans of exceptionally deft comedy, is NBC’s plan to air short seasons of “Community,” “30 Rock” and “Parks & Recreation” in advance of saying sayonara once each run is finished. It’s similar to what the network did with “Chuck” last fall, when the show wrapped after 13 episodes. I don’t understand; have the network honchos not been watching Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her hilariously unhinged run for city council on “Parks & Rec”? Did they miss the fabulously spot-on “Law & Order” episode of “Community”? Or are the Kabletown jokes on “30 Rock” hitting too close to home for the Comcast-owned NBC? And yet “The Office” limps along, a slight giggle of its former guffawing self. If “Whitney” makes it another season, we’re through.
It’s enough to make one lose faith in television. Well, enough to make one consider losing faith in TV, anyway.