Saturday, September 20, 2014
I'm So Torn
I’m so torn. I’m the biggest Jimmy Fallon fan. I’ve followed his entire career. I think he’s the hugest talent we have in entertainment. Heck, I even went to the same college he did and walked the same city streets he once did. My connection to him is almost personal and I’m happy we have one of ours in the TONIGHT SHOW. I believe he’s the face and sound and barometer of our generation. So why am I so torn? Well…because the TONIGHT SHOW is a terrible, unfunny, boring watch. And every week it gets worse and worse.
Last night was Jimmy’s 40th Birthday Bash. It was must-see TV for us. Wow, Jimmy 40yrs old and on top of the world. That makes me feel successful and on top of the world by extension. After a tragically-unfunny monologue that starred a dancing panda and some cringe-worthy segment called NFL superlatives, the first surprise of the night was rolled out in the form of a three-tiered celebration cake. Inside said cake was the talked-about surprise guest. McCartney! Joel! Timberlake!
This was going to be big, except it wasn’t. It was a shirtless Seth Rogen and a shirtless and shaved-headed James Franco, playing stripper-gram cop. Ugh, who the hell cares? I guess it was supposed to be funny and shocking. It was neither. It was moronic. Talk about a letdown.
But alas Rogen wasn’t the surprise guest. They were just the tease. Thank God. And now the surprise guest… Drum roll please… Ladies and gentlemen: Mr. Stevie Wonder. Huh? Now Stevie Wonder’s out there with his big shades and piano singing, “Happy birthday, Jimmy” over and over and over and over again, as Rogen and Franco dance inside the open cake. After the commercial we got Thank You Notes. "Thank you, meatloaf, for having a name one level better than meat wad." What?! This is just old-fashioned bad.
My epical love for J-Fall aside, it’s never funny. I didn’t even crack a quasi-smile last night. The awkward monologue, the amateurish segments with the cheap props, the stale, same-old-thing interviews with stars who aren’t interesting...at all. This isn’t a knock against Jimmy, but more against the TONIGHT SHOW format and its PG-Rated sensibility, which are both unbearably outdated.
A guy dancing in a panda suit isn’t funny to me. This is 2014. You need to come way bigger than that. In the beginning of this TONIGHT SHOW thing, Jimmy just being Jimmy was enough to salvage the swing-and-miss jokes and dullest Cameron Diaz spots. Even that’s not enough now. And that’s saying something.
Of course when I checked the transom this morning, it was one on-line story after the other raving the hilariousness of Jimmy’s Birthday Bash. If nothing else he has Social Media on his side. And that’s huge in this day and age. And, of course, he has guys like me behind him. But how long does that last? How long can this Open-Mic night level of entertainment sustain in TV’s top spot? Will we watch out of loyalty alone?
Jimmy has the talent around him. Higgins is brilliant. The Roots are an A+ operation. It’s such a fun vibe and cool feel. And there've been moments, no doubt about that. But generally the show just isn’t funny. It's kind of amateurish. Objectively speaking: Leno was better. It was flat-out lame last night.
I have no doubt Jimmy will survive and thrive and get very wealthy off the TONIGHT SHOW. That’s not what I’m saying here. And maybe asking anything to be funny five times a week is unrealistic. Funny is hard. Even Stern took his radio show down to three days a week.
Maybe I’m overthinking the whole TONIGHT SHOW concept. Maybe dancing Pandas and meatloaf humor is right on with their target market. Like I said, Jimmy’s the successful one, and I’m the tool writing a blog on a sunny Saturday afternoon. So maybe I’m way off. Maybe shirtless Seth Rogen is gut-busting humor. I’m so torn.
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