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Unique, Witty, and Original - The 'ABCs' of 'Cancellation'
It's hard to believe that ABC, a network owned by the Disney Corporation, a network that once harbored television's most irritating character, Steve Urkel, a network that gave birth to long-running entertainment tumors like "Full House," could come up with not ONE of the greatest genre-pushing television shows of all time, but TWO, in a period as short as three years, and cancel them both. The first was "Sports Night" a series that has rightfully been called "one of the greatest things in the history of television;" the second was "The Job."
What IS "The Job?" Is it a sitcom? Is it a drama? Is it a 'dramady?' The answer to all of these questions is 'yes.' "The Job" is all of these things and more, a concoction of acting, writing, and production so perfect, that the very idea that it could come into being so soon after the demise of "Sports Night" practically defies all possibility, and yet it happened. And yet it had a wonderful timeslot. And yet it was canceled.
"The Job" stars Denis Leary in what could have and SHOULD have been his first real niche role outside of standup and performance art-comedy: A New York Police detective named Mike McNeil with a drinking problem, a smoking problem, and a drug problem, who has a wife and kids, but also has a mistress on the side, and a wandering eye. The perfect anti-hero.
Surrounding Leary is an equally-talented cast that comes together just as seamlessly as, again, "Sports Night." Bill Nunn is Leary's partner, Terrence "Pip" Phillips, the good-conscience-with-a-halo to McNeil's horns-tail-and-pitchfork, chiding him for his bad behavior while simultaneously envying him a but. Lenny Clarke delivers his familiar big, goofy police officer role without flaw, often drawing some of the loudest laughs. Diane Farr shows that she has razor-sharp acting skills to go along with her extremely good looks. Adam Ferrara is, as usual, hilarious.
But don't let all the comments about how funny this show is throw you off: as was said, it's NOT just a sitcom. It also carries all the elements more familiar in drama-territory wonderfully.
And just when shows like this were giving television viewers with an ounce of good taste a chance to dance around on TGIF's grave like Evil Homer Simpson, all that "family friendly" programming has to rise back out of the ground like half-decayed zombies and take big, fatal bites out of the skulls of more daring and innovative programming like "the Job," all under the command of Mickey Mouse, Zombie Master.
ABC should be proud of themselves for bringing this show into existence in the first place, but that pride should be more than obliterated by their decision to heartlessly yank it away just as we were all starting to enjoy it. They should be ASHAMED of themselves for once again caving to the lowest common denominator and dropping this one, as if their treatment of "Sports Night" wasn't bad enough.
Let's hope Comedy Central's weeklong special showings of "the Job" a few months ago were an indicator that Denis Leary took note of what happened to "Sports Night" and was smart enough to get a hook-up for his show with that network as a backup plan. It may be the last chance for cutting-edge shows such as this to protect intelligent viewers from a new wave of Urkels and Tanners sucking (extra emphasis on that) what little brains are left out of television with a bendy-straw.
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