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11 Oct 2017

True TV: Sarah Silverman's 'I Love You, America' Unites; 'Loudermilk,' Not So Much

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In her new weekly series, Sarah Silverman is "looking to connect with people who may not agree with her personal opinions through honesty, humor, genuine interest in others, and not taking herself too seriously." In her new weekly series, Sarah Silverman is "looking to connect with people who may not agree with her personal opinions through honesty, humor, genuine interest in others, and not taking herself too seriously."

In her new weekly series I Love You, America (series debut Thursday, Oct. 12, Hulu), comedian Sarah Silverman is “looking to connect with people who may not agree with her personal opinions through honesty, humor, genuine interest in others, and not taking herself too seriously. … Silverman feels it’s crucial, now more than ever, to connect with un-like-minded people.” If you’re skeptical of Liberal Elite Hollywood’s motives for hanging out with Red State rednecks while promising to not to shit on them, join the club. But it’s a promising chat show/travelogue setup, and Silverman is more capable of pulling it off sincerely than, say, Chelsea Handler. She still does that thing on Netflix … doesn’t she?

With a cool title like Mindhunter (series debut Friday, Oct. 13, Netflix), you’d expect sci-fi series loaded with psychic warfare and exploding heads, or is that just me? Sadly, this Mindhunter is another cop show, starring Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany as FBI agents who interview imprisoned serial killers to analyze their motives to help solve current cases … zzz. So far, so Criminal Minds, but Mindhunter—singular? There’s two of ’em!—is produced by David Fincher, who delivered at least a couple of good House of Cards seasons, and co-stars Aussie treasure Anna Torv, absent from ’Merican TV since the 2013 demise of Fringe, so there’s that. Maybe one exploding head, just for me?

I had no idea that today’s kiddies were clamoring for a reboot of ’70s Saturday-morning cheese lump Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (series re-debut Friday, Oct. 13, Amazon Prime), but here it is. The original S&SM was part of the Sid and Marty Kroftt acid-trip factory that included H.R. Pufnstuf and Lidsville, as well as the proto-superheroine Strong Female Characters of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. This iteration seems more aimed at ironic-nostalgia-hungry Gen-Xers than children, but at least David Arquette found work (as Captain Barnabas, a local loon out to expose the Sea Monsters as “real”), and we get The Roots’ updated version of Sigmund’s theme song. So where’s the Lost Saucer remake?

Do we really need another cable dramedy about how tough it is to be a comedian? When it stars ex-Saturday Night Live-er Jay Pharoah and is helmed by Tim Kapinos (Lucifer, Californication) and Jamie Foxx (everything else), maybe. White Famous (series debut Sunday, Oct. 15, Showtime) is essentially Foxx’s story, centered on a black comic (Pharoah) on the rise who’s straddling the line between street cred and mainstream (read: white) appeal. While White Famous offers few insights into Foxx’s real career (even when he shows up as himself in the first episode), it does make it abundantly clear that SNL blew it with the talented Pharoah. As a “prestige” series, this is more Dice than Louie.

Speaking of wasting perfectly good comedic talent, have you seen 9JKL (new series, Mondays, CBS)? That filler half-hour between The Big Bang Theory and Kevin Can Wait? Oh yeah, no one watches “live” TV anymore—it’s all on-demand with your Hulus and your Rokus and your Flibberzoos. It’s safe to say no one is “demanding” 9JKL, not even to justify the $9.99 they blew on CBS All Access for Star Trek: Discovery. Mark Feuerstein, David Walton, Elliott Gould, Linda Lavin and Liza Lapira, funny people all, star in the most forgettable family sitcom since … well, damn, I’ve forgotten. Chances are, by the time this column finally reaches the Interwebs, 9JKL will be canceled. Never mind.

Much in the same way that White Famous seems like a stylistic throwback, Loudermilk (series debut Tuesday, Oct. 17, Audience/DirecTV) could be a lost early-2000s comedy from the trope dawn of AA (Asshole Antihero). While White Famous is a misuse of a young actor like Pharoah, it’s perfectly OK in the case of Loudermilk, because the titular Loudermilk is played by been-there comedy vet Ron Livingston (sorry, Ron—loved ya in Office Space). Loudermilk is a former alcoholic and, even worse, former rock critic, who hates pretty much everything and everyone. Sounds familiar, but as scripted by one Farrelly brother and a Colbert Report writer, and delivered by Livingston, Loudermilk really works.

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