Ask Matt: Gripes About Odd Couple and Nashville, Plus Bones Departures and That Good Wife Scene
Good news, Ask Matt fans! TV Insider is now presenting the Q&A with TV critic (and sometime “TV therapist”) Matt Roush twice a week—on Tuesdays and Thursdays—giving you twice as much opportunity to share your concerns and join in the love for all things TV in today’s vast landscape. One caution: This is a spoiler-free zone. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected] and follow me on Twitter.
Question: These are my comments on TV: First, I really want to like The Odd Couple and I basically do, but Matthew Perry’s playing of Oscar is just annoying to watch. I’m sure he doesn’t want to come off like Chandler, but having Oscar yelling every line and bulging his eyes isn’t working. He really needs to tone it down a lot.
Second, I’m a big fan of Nashville. It was so much fun in the beginning. What happened? Deacon has become the biggest downer and crybaby, bringing everyone he talks to down with him. We all know it will be the sister who dies on the table, and this will only further Deacon’s whine for next season. He has been so very self-centered this season that I had to start muting all his scenes.
Third: What can I say about TV Land’s Younger? Liza looks old, her voice is old and the stuff they sometimes talk about on the show is just downright gross. My daughter is 28, and she finds the twentysomethings’ conversations just stupid.
Finally, I kind of liked 500 Questions and the host. The part I don’t like is when the contestant gets the right answer, they don’t bother to show it in writing. Sometimes those are hard to hear because they go so fast. Thanks for hearing me out. I’m going to be enjoying your column a lot now that I have found it again. — Teresa
Matt Roush: Thanks for sharing! Feels like a round of “Hot Topics” (as they say on daytime TV). First: No argument on Matthew Perry’s unbearable take on Oscar Madison, the very worst thing about a woefully uninspired reboot of a classic comedy property. Interesting to me that CBS is keeping this off the fall lineup. Second: Cut Deacon some slack. A potentially fatal brush with liver cancer, and he’s supposed to be a beacon of cheer? He’s still just about my favorite character on the show (in no small part thanks to Charles Esten’s winning performance). But this does speak to a decided dreariness in Nashville‘s typical way of spinning a soapy subplot, which infected (so to speak) one of its most appealing characters this season, so you have a point. But I’m hoping he’ll bounce back to his old self soon. Third: Either you buy Sutton Foster (I do) in the role, or you’ll spend the whole show, which is harmlessly silly, in a state of discontent, so why would you keep watching? Still seems a step up from the typical TV Land original (though this seems a nice time for a tip of the cap to Hot in Cleveland as it signs off this week). Finally: Yes, one of many flaws in 500 Questions‘ execution was how it delivered its answers, or didn’t. And I’m not taking back how I feel about the insufferable host. If the show ever returns, either he’s gone or I am.
Question: All of the major characters on The Big Bang Theory are routinely identified by both first and last name except Penny. Has a last name ever been given for her? — Harlan
Matt Roush: If I ever answered this before, it was a while ago, but no, Penny’s last name has never been revealed. It’s meant to be an ongoing and probably eternal mystery. Although if she does actually wed Leonard, the question of whether she keeps her name or takes his could bring us at least one step closer to this elusive truth.
Question: Everything I read about Bones right now is focused on Booth and Brennan and how long their separation will last. Personally, I’m more interested in the other couple on the show: Hodgins and Angela! Are they really going to move to France? Are the two leaving the show? What do you know? — Kelly
Matt Roush: This is as good a time as any as we re-establish this column on the TV Insider site to remind everyone that this is not a spoiler column. I’m happy to comment on what has already happened on a show (or has been widely reported), but I’m not going to spoil, speculate or tease too heavily about what’s to come. I will tell you I’ve seen this week’s episode of Bones, which advances this particular subplot—which clearly seems to have been spoiled elsewhere (I don’t seek out such things)—about Hodgins and Angela and their romantic notions of Paris. Several characters make note during the hour, in a very meta way, that they never thought they’d be doing this job so long.
But here’s how Fox describes next week’s storyline for the June 11 season finale: “Angela is skeptical about her and Hodgins’ decision to move to Paris [maybe that’s where the spoiler came from? Good move, Fox!], and Brennan and Booth contemplate options outside of the Jeffersonian and FBI.” All of which sounds to me like standard-issue end-of-season teases, in this case perhaps amplified by the fact that the producers may not have known at the time of production whether this was in fact the end of the series. (The finale’s episode title just changed from “The End in the End” to “The Next in the Last,” which sounds a lot less final to me.) So basically, since I don’t know anything for sure—and if I did, I wouldn’t tell—I’d assume if you don’t hear anything different, or unless the actors start giving exit interviews, that everyone will be sticking around for a while longer. Although they may be leaving some of that up in the air for cliffhanger purposes.
Question: I am glad I found you on Twitter and your column again. My question is about showrunners. I have always been a big Bones fan and now I see that they are changing show-runners again. I have to admit I wasn’t as crazy about the past few seasons as previous ones, but I feel that may also be due to the age of the franchise. So, I was wondering how big of an effect does the showrunner have. Does he or she set the overall tone of the show, hire their own writers, dictate general character development? I do miss Hart Hanson. I was surprised about the change in the feel of the show since Stephen Nathan has always been a part of the show. — Tina
Matt Roush: Welcome to TV Insider and thanks for the question. I’ll admit I don’t watch this kind of show with the sort of constant attention that would allow me to make this kind of judgment. But it’s a fact that, no matter who’s in charge, it’s harder to keep any series feeling fresh when it hits the decade mark, and a sense of franchise fatigue is bound to set in. The need to keep shaking things up, as in Booth’s gambling addiction causing a (presumably) temporary separation in their marriage this season, will strike many as contrived and annoying, and that’s fair. Your bigger question is harder to answer. As you noted, Stephen Nathan has always been part of the show, so his taking over the running of Bones was more an evolution than revolution.
Question: Do you think now that The Vampire Diaries and The Originals will be airing on the same night, they might make an attempt at more crossovers? The showrunners have very stubbornly said no each time the subject is brought up, but with the epic success of The Flash and Arrow, will they finally face the music and let characters jump back and forth a little more? More importantly, does it have a chance of saving both shows’ sinking ratings? — Lindsay
Matt Roush: We’re talking The CW here, so I wouldn’t be too obsessed with ratings. These vampires still represent an important franchise for the network, although I’d think the bigger issue is how The Vampire Diaries remains relevant without its central heroine. Crossovers would seem to be a logical strategy to refresh and reinvigorate these shows, especially considering the Thursday programming block they’ll now occupy, but I’ve learned not to expect TV to follow the usual rules of logic.
Question: There seems to be a growing consensus that the final scene between Alicia and Kalinda on The Good Wife season finale was indeed cobbled together with body doubles and green screens and the usual Hollywood effects. At least one report claims that the scene was faked, though so far the evidence is still just hearsay. I must say that this is really troubling me. The people in charge of the show knew that fans were longing for an Alicia-Kalinda scene before Archie Panjabi left the show forever, but creating a fake scene seems arrogant and insulting. If it really was faked, did they really think they would get away with such a sloppily done mash-up without anyone noticing? I immediately thought something was wrong, and apparently many other viewers did, too, so it didn’t really fool a lot of people. This is really leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not saying yet that I will stop watching the show, but this all leaves me with a lot less respect for the creative team behind it. Do you have an opinion about this whole mess? — Paul
Matt Roush: I’ve held off on commenting on this unfortunate subject in hopes someone would speak directly about the situation. But since everyone’s mostly ducked it or given oblique comments at best, without explaining why they had to resort to filming the scene this way—never confirmed, to my knowledge, on the record, not that it now matters, I guess—I’ll just say that if they couldn’t have filmed the scene properly, they shouldn’t have done it at all. As on TV soundstages apparently, life is messy, and we all could have handled it if the show hadn’t staged (convincingly or otherwise) an Alicia-Kalinda reunion. As it stands, this is a blemish on an otherwise tremendous series, but not enough of one to keep me from rooting for the show (and its star) to be acknowledged at the Emmys or watching what happens next. Go, Florrick-Canning!
Question: From the plot summary, NBC’s Shades of Blue sounds as if it’s intended to be a dark and gritty police drama, and not a “blue-sky”-style cop procedural/dramedy. If and when it debuts, do you think Jennifer Lopez will still be the star of the show? As a result of both her upcoming Las Vegas residency and participation in the final season of American Idol, I find it highly unlikely she’ll have the time and acting energy/focus to fully and appropriately commit to the role. — Alex
Matt Roush: If Jennifer Lopez doesn’t star in the show, there’s no show. Shades of Blue does sound considerably more promising than the how-did-that-get-renewed The Mysteries of Laura: Lopez plays a (sigh) single-mom New York detective, but caught up in an FBI police-corruption sting, so not exactly a SuperMom. Can’t say how she’ll juggle all of these commitments, or how well (we’ve seen nothing of the show yet), but J Lo has long been a multi-tasking powerhouse, so don’t count her out.
That’s all for now, but remember that the Ask Matt column now appears on TV Insider on Tuesdays and Thursdays! Can’t do it without your participation, so please keep sending questions and comments to [email protected] or shoot me a line on Twitter.