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What I Watched Last Night

It took me a week or two, but I finally caught up last night to Rules of Engagement on CBS because I was too busy doing something else to notice that the rerun of the always-funny Two And A Half Men ended. If I were the military or the cops, I'd sue CBS for sullying a perfectly good saying that tells all good jackbooters when, where, and how force should be used.

For anyone too uninterested in this show to read the entire account, here's the condensed version of everything you need to know: David Spade, bad. Patrick Warburton (instantly recognizable to anyone with kids as the voice of Kronk, and as David Puddy from Seinfeld to everyone else), good. Writing, bad. Megyn Price (the hot mom from Grounded For Life), good.

Okay, it's not an incredibly bad CBS show any more than The New Adventures of Old Christine is a bad CBS show. It's just that like Christine, Rules is one of those shows where you spend a half-hour waiting around for something - anything - really funny to happen, but nothing ever does. It's one of those common CBS programs where, about 10 minutes into it, you're laying on your back looking up at the ceiling and thinking that now would be a good time to grab the Swiffer and do something about that big layer of dust on the top side of your ceiling fan blades.

Rules is about five people: 40s-ish married couple Jeff and Audrey (Warburton and Price), late 20s/early 30s engaged couple Adam and Jennifer (Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich), who don't matter much anyway because they're just so white-bread dull, and single guy Russell (Spade) playing whatever age it is where annoying, condescending whiners can still get away with looking greasy and unshaven without being mistaken for being homeless. Russell spent last night's episode trying to pass himself off as a much younger 27 to a willowy 24-year-old lifeguard hookup, and Adam and Jennifer spent their slice of 30 minutes throwing away the material possessions in their apartment that had any connection to their former relationships.

I can't think of anything that would make a David Spade sitcom funny, so I blame the writers for the missed no-brainer of having Adam and Jennifer finding themselves sitting in an empty apartment after the great possessions purge. I also blame the writers (or Spade) for the misguided notion that Spade could try to duplicate Neil Patrick Harris' shallow-yet-likeable Barney Stinson on another - but better - CBS Monday show, How I Met Your Mother.

The setup between Jeff and Audrey wasn't much to write home about, either. After being overly charming to Jeffery's lifeguard hookup in front of Audrey, Audrey bets Jeff that he couldn't score a young babe's phone number if given an unchaperoned night on the town without his wedding ring. Because, of course, she's convinced that no other woman in the world could possibly find him attractive. Because, you know, that's what marriage does to people.

Anyway, Jeff strikes out; Audrey shows up at whatever club he's crashing and burning at after really asking herself whether no other woman would really ever find him attractive; and both of them are pretty bad at the "pretend we're strangers picking up each other in a bar" thing unimaginative couples eventually resort to. And in a payoff too stupid to waste time describing, Spade shows he's able to pull off condescending and lame with equal enthusiasm.

During the commercial preceding the end credits, I flipped through the schedule to see that Frenchie SoHo book dealer Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) and lyin' cheatin' suburban wench Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) are finding each other plenty attractive and plenty sweaty-naked in Oxygen's airing of the often-entertaining 2002 movie Unfaithful.

Oh, quit lying. You'd do it if you were them, too.

*

I decided there was no way ABC is going to suck me into watching What About Brian again - no matter how much they try by using the now Amber-less but nonetheless still-juicy Tiffani Thiessen as bait. So I end my viewing day by clicking to Unfaithful just in time to catch reserved suburban husband Ed Sumner (Richard Gere) bashing in Frenchie book dealer's head with a souvenir Chicago snow globe that his wife had re-gifted from their collection to Frenchie dealer guy.

So Ed spends the second-best part of the movie finding out how fucking heavy and awkward a dead body wrapped in a rug actually is, and what a chore getting one from Point A to Point B can be without the helpful advice and assistance of Harvey Keitel. Extra points to Ed, though, for not slashing Connie's throat wide open with a pizza cutter when the idea probably crossed his mind in the middle of one of her lying jags during the family meal at the pizza joint.

Overall, a wonderful movie for debating whether the wrong person ended up in the landfill.

*

See what else Scott Buckner watched last night.



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Posted on February 20, 2007


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