Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Open Letter to Joel McHale, on the Occasion of the Premiere of his New Sitcom

Dear Joel McHale,

You are an attractive and talented man. You are the host of one of the funniest shows on TV (though vastly underappreciated, poorly scheduled, and has the misfortune to be broadcast on E!). So, why, Joel, did you decide to betray your fans with a mediocre sitcom for NBC?

While the premise of Community is intriguing - a slick lawyer is about to be disbarred for not having an undergraduate degree, unless he attends a local community college - the pilot relied on wacky costars rather than focusing on you, Joel, the hilarious and witty man that you are. Your one moment to shine was an inspired monologue on what separates humans from the animals: our ability to connect to and forgive anything around us, as exemplified by our love of Shark Week and the generosity of bestowing a screenwriting Oscar on Ben Affleck.

But who’s surprised that you can sharply deliver media criticism? If they are, they shouldn’t be. That’s your job! That’s what you do – and we love you for it! No one cares about your budding relationship with a cynical high-school dropout who bears a remarkable resemblance to Elizabeth Shue, nor your abusive friendship with an Asberger’s addled half-Arab (not my words, Joel). And Chevy Chase? Really? I mean, really?

We care about you, Joel. Your smirky smile, your endearing gangliness, and most of all, your intelligent, dead-pan humor.

And that script. I’m embarrassed for both of us. You receive a manila envelope with all the answers to all your exams for the semester, only to find out they’re blank pages? I can only imagine that pitch: “Don’t you get it? He thinks he has all the answers, but he doesn’t! He doesn’t have any of the answers! It’s a parallel to his life! You get it?”

Yes, we get it, anonymous junior writer. And your ham-handedness is not appreciated here.

Joel, I’ll be honest. This is not a show I’m going to continue to watch. Unless, of course, it’s just you and your musings on today’s culture.

But wait – that show already exists.

Best of luck,


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