Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Trust Me, you've seen this before.

I've posted on my Twitter account about this, but with only 140 characters per post, I can't really do my point justice.  So:

Cable network TNT has been touting their new series, "Trust Me" as a drama, but at most, it's a "dramedy," a drama/comedy hybrid.  Actually it's more of a "comma" -- more emphasis on comedy than drama) -- but you can't really blame them.  

Despite the prima donna attitudes and daily crises in the ad industry, it's tough to ratchet up enough tension to make the outsiders feel anything really important is at stake.   (That's why most dramas tend to be about either murder investigations or legal trials).  So it was probably a good decision for the show's creators (two former ad men themselves) to base the show more on the lead characters' interactions than on winning and keeping clients.

Where they failed was in the personalities of the two main characters, falling back on the standard sitcom pairing of the uptight straight man and the wacky loose cannon.  Guess which is which (it's not hard):

Like I said, they're basically the same one-note characters you see in a lot of sitcoms, but oddly, they most suggest a duo not out of sitcoms, but a sitcom-ish 1982 movie.  Written by former sitcom writers and directed by a former sitcom star, "Night Shift" seems remarkably prescient of  TV "Trust Me:"

Eric McCormick = Henry Winkler.  Ed Cavanaugh = Michael Keaton.  Granted, "Trust Me" does take place in advertising and "Night Shift" is about two guys involved in prostitution, but -- well, you've heard the comparison before.


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