Oh my god! Have you watched—or should I say "endured"—the new Jay Leno Show yet? It's amazingly similar to his old late-night show in that it's (a) bland, (b) derivative, and (c) wildly unfunny. On the other hand, it's also different because it's WORSE! It's like Leno took all his funniest ideas—which of course aren't funny to anyone—and ran them through a special "sad computer" that infuses each joke with the essence of your grandmother breaking her hip or a kitten with leukemia. Naturally, his debut episode sucked (emphasis on sucked) in a whopping 18 million viewers... 98.9 percent of them now suffer moderate-to-severe brain damage from either trying to wrap their heads around Leno's ass-smelling jokes or banging their heads in frustration against countertops. (Statistics courtesy of the American CAT Scan Association.)
However! Despite our wishes and all common sense, The Jay Leno Show will almost certainly be a hit. Why? Two reasons: (1) People who live in Middle America are staunch supporters of all that is stupid in this country, thereby ruining everything for everyone, and (2) M-O-N-E-Y, beeyotches! Even after doling out Leno's ginormous salary, it still costs NBC less to produce his unfunny fart-fest than a really good scripted drama like Mad Men—which rarely, if ever, bases its jokes around the subject of farts.
BUT DON'T PANIC, JAY LENO! Just because your show is about as funny as an infected cold sore, there are craploads of new sitcoms debuting this week that are—unbelievably—even WORSE. Such as...
• The Cleveland Show (Fox, Sun Sept 27, 8:30 pm). What's less funny than Family Guy? How about a spin-off of Family Guy featuring the least funny secondary character on the show? Cleveland leaves Rhode Island to move to Virginia where he marries his high-school sweetheart, and... and... Zzzzzz... BANG! OWWW! I fell asleep on my gun! (And yet? A missing testicle is funnier than this show.)
• Hank (ABC, Wed Sept 30, 8 pm). Hey! I know what you need to lift your spirits in these tough economic times, when unemployment is soaring through the roof and you're probably reading this while eating spoiled discarded bologna and sleeping on a urine-stained mattress by the river. You need a laughtrack-laden sitcom about a CEO who loses his fancy high-paying job and is humiliatingly forced to move out of his mansion into a normal, tastefully decorated three-bedroom house in the suburbs. Where he has plenty to eat. Did I mention it stars Kelsey Grammer? I'm sure you'll laugh as soon as you swallow your spoiled bologna.
• The Middle (ABC, Wed Sept 30, 8:30 pm). From the ABC press release: "Patricia Heaton is Frankie Heck, a loving wife and mother of three, who's middle class in the middle of the country and is rapidly approaching middle age." OH THAT'S JUST GREAT! That's exactly what Middle America needs: another heaping helping of Jay Leno–style stupid, starring hard-line Republican, anti-abortion nutbag Patricia Heaton. You know what would make this show even funnier? A bunny with syphilis in its eye! (Excuse me... why aren't you laughing?)