WeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve all read them. Many of us have even written them, but how do you handle it when the bad reviews are about something you worked on? IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m a hack writer working in reality TV and recently finished work on a show called THE WILL which premieres tomorrow night 8PM ET/PT on CBS. I need your help.
The New York Daily News called the show, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthe worst show of the year,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ but quickly backpedaled, admitting, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthe year is only six days old at this point.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Daily Variety focused on the positive and said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe showÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s most salient attribute involves several prominent breasts almost surely not created by nature.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Ouch.
I console myself by telling myself two things. First, our audience doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t read newspapers (after thinking it over I decided that was unfair) and second, the critics donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t get reality TV. In fact, the New York Times review had a sentence like this, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWhile scripted television is preoccupied with 20th-century forms like the detective story and the psychosexual bildungsroman reality television has built up an impressive anthology of 19th-century melodramas of love, money and the middle class.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â I read that and I think this is a person desperately trying to legitimize their own job as a critic, not someone who would ever herald the guilty and voyeuristic pleasures that reality TV holds.
The New York Daily News critic admitted that the show reminded him of KING LEAR. The similarity wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t lost on me when we were putting it together, but if youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re looking for Shakespeare-level art on American television you better expect to look long and hard.
My problem is what do I do now. At the very least the show gave critics a chance to compose reviews that they relished writing, so I feel good about that, but I told dozens of people to tune in. Do I get cold feet and tell them not to watch? Or do I hope for the best and curl up in the fetal position gripping my copy of Entertainment Weekly close to my heart (they gave us a B+)?
Help me out, or better yet tune in tomorrow at 8 PM ET/PT on CBS and see if itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s as bad as they say. (A shameless plug, I know, but apparently itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s the least of the things I should feel ashamed about right now).