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April 23, 2014

Yep, Roommates is atrocious - VIDEO

by Eliot Glazer, posted Apr 14th 2009 12:01PM
roommates abc family As a TV Squad contributor who, admittedly, could be considered a "niche viewer" (in that I watch few shows, but never miss an episode), I was naturally hesitant to check out Roommates on ABC Family. A friend guaranteed me that the show was not only as bad as one might expect, but that it was so utterly, bafflingly wretched that investing thirty minutes in it turned out way more entertaining than I'd expected, and not just in the so-bad-it's-funny way, either.

Roommates is so atrocious, its production should be considered a criminal offense, considering that, even as a basic cable program, hundreds of thousands of dollars (at the very least) have surely been invested in the show. And that's money that could have easily gone toward refugees or food banks or, say, into the budget of ABC Family's other critically lauded programming like Greek or Secret Life of The American Teenager.

(Speaking of which, can someone get us the name of the bigwig who gave the green light to the aforementioned gems before allowing something as idiotic as Roommates to hit the airwaves?)

Roommates begs the question of whether or not the show is the first of its kind to replace writers with robots programmed to sputter out random plot ideas and character profiles based on - I swear - every sitcom that lasted less than a season. Get this: aloof Mark bumps into high school crush Katie in an elevator, who mentions that she has a room open in her Brooklyn apartment. So Mark moves in, Katie remains clueless to Mark's pining ways, and hijinks ensue among all the roommates. So let's see...neurotic dude? Check. Vapid pretty chick? You bet. One "ethnic" character, offensive gay stereotype, and a wacky, odd-looking neighbor? Yes, yes, and yes. All for the taking.

Here's how you write Roommates: imagine Friends (replete with the enormous New York apartment that only exists... well, on television), but turn back the age of the cast members by ten years, remove any trace of actual humor, and insert one half of the twin duo that helped introduce Jackee Harry to tweenagers everywhere in the mid-nineties on Sister, Sister. Also, make sure to Tamera Mowry's just-fired character refers to herself as a former "TV executive," which will help stupid viewers realize that she was once very important.

But most mind-numbing thing about Roommates (and, believe me, there are a lot of elements to choose from) is the jarring overuse of a canned laugh track. Look, when a show isn't funny, a laugh track is a necessary tool used to provide viewers with a signal at what's meant to be especially funny. But someone in post-production seems to have gone overboard with Roommates, adding shrieks of laughter to the show could make the most passive of viewers highly suspicious. Yet, even more nuts, is that ABC Family has (unknowingly?) posted a clip of the show on its website sans laugh track, which, in itself, comes off like a cross between performance art, media criticism, and an incredible parody of the sitcom genre.



That deaf joke was a stroke of genius, huh?

Needless to say, I loved this show!

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MiRaNdA

I say eliot glazer can kiss my ass. Rommates is a really good show and i like it obviouslly is not as good as friends but it`s just becouse the show is just getting started you have to give it some time so you can appreciate the trama. i`m so sorry it got canceled i was waiting for the next chapter and i don`t care what everyboddy else say Rommates is one of the best series i have ever seen even when there are only 13 chapters

May 12 2009 at 2:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

Problem is "Greek" and "SLotAT" are also total crap... and no amount of money would change that.

April 14 2009 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stevekaw

But Felicia Day is guesting in May for four episodies...gotta hang on for that!

April 14 2009 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian Winkeler

Note to self: After a long day at work, I don't want to see that!

April 14 2009 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Brian Winkeler's comment
Cincinnati Mike

good call Brian! I was thinking that this sounded like the show- within-the show on Lisa Kudrow's "The Comeback."

April 14 2009 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anita

This show could be funny, or passable, if they actually let the characters talk normally. Those odd 1990s sitcom pauses for incredibly unfunny lines is offputting. Plus, the fact that TM, despite her utter gorgeousness, has maintained her tween acting style is a bit annoying as well. Don't the actors/directors actually watch decent comedies i.e. Friends/The Office? We don't need the consistent odd pauses and overdone loud talking to emphasize the humor. Sometimes it helps, but other times not so much. If it's funny, it's funny.

April 14 2009 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike K

Thanks for reminding me of the tragic non-renewals of The Middleman and Kyle XY... Yep, Roommates is pretty bad, though not Worst Week cringe-worthy, just generically unfunnily bland.

April 14 2009 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

absolutely atrocious, usually comedies on cbale tv are better than the ones on cbs but not in this case, i'd rather watch any crappy cbs comedy than this, what a bland unoriginal concept. someone should make a law that any new comedies must not have laugh tracks, it ruins tv shows. becuae then the writers worry far too much about making funny one-liners than about charcter growth/development.

April 14 2009 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thepassenger

I weep for The Middleman all over again...

April 14 2009 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Davin Peterson

This show is so funny. I love this show, which reminds of the classic show Three's Company. The clip above, was from last week's episode, where they made up the name Phil my crack.

April 14 2009 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CRVBOY

And they canceled Kyle XY for this???? It's bad enough they're still shoving that biggoted crap from the 700 Club down our throats but this????

April 14 2009 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to CRVBOY's comment
animepunk2103

Dang ... you are way too harsh on this show. It is actually very funny. We laugh constantly during this show which is more than I can say for the new Office re-do "Parks & Recreation" Didn't laugh once the entire pilot.

Sure Roomates is a Friends rip-off but Friends is one of the greatest sitcoms there ever was so why not try to cash in on its success.

April 14 2009 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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