I’ve mentioned previously that I like to try out new shows every fall, almost like a fantasy sports league for TV shows. I have my favorites that return, but I try just about everything and review it. An episode of this, an episode of that, sometimes I find magic. Most of the time I don’t. But this past year has been a dumpster fire for TV shows, along with everything else. So I didn’t really track new shows. I gave Connecting a try for about 5 minutes, which is about how long it lasted before being cancelled too.
Call Her Kat
But in passing the other day, I saw a reference to the fact that Mayim Bialik had a new show, which I had not seen mentioned or advertised previously. So I gave it a go tonight. For those of you who saw her on Big Bang Theory, you likely saw an episode or two where she was fantasizing out loud, acting like a princess or queen, with a tiara as a running joke. Well, think of that with about 30 minutes per fantasy.
Let me back up a second. The show starts with her explaining what the show’s premise is. No, I’m serious. She looks at the camera, says she bought a café and gave it a cat theme, hence “Call Me Kat” as the name of the show, and she plays a 39-year-old single girl trying to make it through life. It is supposedly a comedy.
But is filmed with a narrator track that is literally Mayim turning to the camera to explain what she’s thinking. Like Herman’s Head without the head, it is relentless. She has a conversation with a would-be boyfriend, and it is 2 lines by her, 1 line by him, narration by her about what she’s thinking, 1 line of response by her, laugh, more narration. The show is shot like a play, with all the actors coming out at the end of the episode and waving.
In a year that included Connecting, I am hard-pressed to say which is a stupider premise. There is ZERO rhythm to the show because it STOPS EVERY 10 SECONDS to explain what is going on. Except I’M ALREADY WATCHING, I know what’s going on. I feel like I’m watching with closed captioning on. Or you know those people who have to explain jokes that everyone already gets? Yeah, 30 minutes of THAT. OMG.
If they got rid of the constant narration, or at least made it Doogie Howser-style diary or Sex In The City writing entries, you could live with it. Something to set the scene, something to end the Ep? I don’t know. I thought she was okay as Blossom and I loved her on BBT. But she’s almost unwatchable here. Like every five seconds, she’s nudging in the ribs to say, “Get it? Get it?”.
The supporting cast
The rest of the cast is a bit one-dimensional, but I’ve only seen 3 EPs (and will only ever see 3 EPs!), maybe they’ll grow in the future, but I doubt it. Her mother is played by Swoosie Kurtz (Pushing Daisies, Sisters), and while I have seen her in a few things where I didn’t mind her over-the-top acting (Pushing Daisies, Sisters), my favorite scene from her of all time is an outtake from Liar, Liar with Jim Carrey (as part of a yelling match in court, she calls him an over-actor!). Here? Meh.
Leslie Jordan is fun to watch in limited duration, and he is playing virtually the same character he did in The Cool Kids (the Vicki Lawrence show) — a bit of a smarter version of Woody or Coach from Cheers, but with similar lines. Leslie works in the café with Randi, played by Kyla Pratt. She’s young, innocent but brash, black with some attitude and can be the young female to guide Kat in the world of dating. In the right show (and she’s been in a LOT of shows over the years), she might actually even shine.
The other major cast member is Cheyenne Jackson as the would-be boyfriend who is an old friend that Kat used to have a crush on, they’re hanging out, but he’s hung up on a French girl who makes fantasy appearances to talk to Kat in her monologues. But I have no idea if he’s any good because literally he says one line and then immediately the narration jumps on his downbeat to intrude. He seems down-to-earth, a good guy, etc., and I suspect she’s destined to long for him for the life of the show.
The bottom line
And that show life would likely be 8-10 episodes in a normal year, and that would be generous. I have NO idea the longevity in a COVID season. It’s on Fox though, and TV Grim Reaper is predicting likely renewal. Sorry, Mayim, I’m out. I hope I’m wrong and the show goes on for years, but I won’t be watching. My prediction is officially cancellation.