Have you ever gone to see a movie, knowing nothing about it besides who the lead actor was? If your experience was anything like mine when watching Stranger than Fiction starring Will Ferrell, it can be quite the surprise.
As viewers, we tend to make assumptions about the movies and TV shows we watch based on which actors star in them. Would you have ever assumed that Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader would appear in a drama together? Well, it happened.
In terms of sitcoms, people tend to like the familiar. They typecast actors into the roles of other characters, especially if they were particularly successful in the role. Just a few years ago, Jenna Elfman, better known as Dharma on Dharma and Greg, starred in a series called Accidentally on Purpose. It was funny and original. But she wasn’t Dharma anymore. She wasn’t a free spirit. She instead assumed the role of a successful movie reviewer and falls for a poor, young guy. It wasn’t what the viewers were used to. She was a draw for many viewers who still remembered her, but she lost a lot of them quickly.
But there is one show that I discovered a couple years ago that is probably my favourite “bad” sitcom to date. It was called Mad Love, and starred Jason Biggs (from American Pie) and Sarah Chalke (from Scrubs). It was set up as a fairy tale, but narrated by a less-than-typical romantic, Tyler Labine (from Reaper). It was about subverting these traditional fairy-tale tropes, in a humorous way.
But I think it was the wrong show for the people it initially attracted. It was not raunchy enough to be associated with American Pie. It didn’t have the same quirky humour of Scrubs. It was too mushy for the fans of Reaper. Of course, some fans managed to stick around, but that wasn’t enough to stop it from being cancelled after one season. On a cliff hanger…I’m never going to let that go.
Some people mourn Firefly. I mourn Mad Love, which almost no one will ever know.
All in all, it's best to watch a show because it interests you, not because you like one of the actors. Great actors will always make a show better, but they can’t always save it.
Check out this preview from Mad Love. And if you want, give the rest of the season a try.
Andrea Irvine is a 23-year-old writer from Hamilton, Ontario. After completing her English degree at the University of Ottawa, she found her true passion in the Professional Writing program. Her busy schedule of homework, TV watching and attempting to cook keeps her from her love of tea and Scrabble dates.