Friday, June 19, 2015

'Caroline in the City' is on youtube and I am very ranty about it......

I was amused to find all episodes of Caroline in the City on youtube. I wasn’t a diehard follower but I had seen several episodes esp of the first season in high school and I liked the sarcastic bite of the humour mostly between Caroline’s cartoonist Richard ( who, clad in black and obsessed with existential poetry was a complete anomaly in 90s heroic standards) and Annie (the best character on the show, Caroline’s best friend and a dancer in Cats).

So, when I discovered it ( probably after thinking about it while talking to Allison)  I watched a few eps here and there on youtube, recorded from syndication on some British station as evident through the v.o. on the credits and enjoyed revisiting the 90s clothes, the 90s hairstyles, Lea Thompson’s dimples and the broadway references.   Note: there is a fab epwith David Hyde Pierce playing an accountant who wants to be in Cats. You should find it.

But then, the show takes a nosedive.  A nosedive.   I don’t know (and I have a barely working knowledge of this ) if it was taking cues from relationship triangles and disasters in Friends but it goes so way off the deep end and I GOT VERBALLY ANGRY last night.

ANGRY at a sitcom.  Why? Because I am an adult and I can.

Let’s recap the relationships in Ye Olde C in the C.  You may need wine 

Richard ---- morose, bitter artist turned colourist who has a thing for sunny Caroline but doesn’t realize it til Caroline almost marries Del---her poofy haired greeting card mogul.  Caroline doesn’t recognize this.  (note: my teenage self never realized that Richard is basically gay.  Now, it is blatantly obvious.  Regardless, Richard shoulda ended up with Annie or with Del.  Whomever.).

 Caroline----perky Wisconsin native with dimples who has her own single girl in the city comic strip. In the second season ---after a few mixed paths and almost-happens realizes that she loves Richard.  This is not done well. This is not done subtly. Culminating in her leaving Richard a message on his 
( hello 90s!) answering machine which his returned-from-Italy old girlfriend Julia erases.
sometimes Richard dates Lorelai Gilmore

Then Richard marries Julia!!!  After pretending to be married to Caroline.  This isn’t even some charming screwball comedy move from the 30s….

Then we get season three which, I swear, I may  not actually make it through:
Julia---- I HATE IT WHEN writers resort to a Julia.  The Men love B**ches Trope. I HATE IT!   The same guy who would fall for Caroline would not end up marrying ( and yet he does) the woman who albeit gorgeous, he left in Italy with his memories of backpacking.  It is  awful.  The two have no onscreen chemistry and the love triangle is so very sickening.  Julia is a horrible woman and she does dastardly things and we’re supposed to hate her but root for good girl Caroline to win Richard. But, who WANTS Richard now that he has proven terrible decision making skills? Who wants Richard to be the hero when he knows that he is susceptible to a gorgeous but horrible woman with a trust fund?

Not me.  Anything that was endearing and black and artistic and nerdy about him before is now just annoying.  And Caroline is annoying because she gives into Julia and I want them all ( except for Annie ) to fall off a cliff.

But the  show decides (cue from Friends?) to finally get Richard and Caroline together.    In the stupidest way possible.  The absolute worst writing of any “love” story ever.   And they keep poking at it with episodes soapily linked to each other in To Be Continued. It is so genuinely awful.

First, they have the entire ensemble in an unrealistic flashback bottle episode where they are all tied up by a marriage counselor.

Then they release Julia’s trust fund so Richard is no longer a starving artist and can paint in a penthouse.  This is disingenuous to the character who has spent seasons ALMOST getting his big break (in a funny and clever way). They just cash in their bored chips and GIVE him money. All that clever writing work. UGH!

He also doesn’t have to work for Caroline anymore which means they can’t have their daily domestic spats; nor can Annie show up from across the hall and engage him in a battle of sardonic quips.

They paint themselves into the worst corner ever and do you know how they get out of it?  ( I am rolling my eyes here): by having Caroline and Annie think that Julia has cheated Richard prompting Richard to follow his wife to Spain to confront her. Thereafter, Annie and Caroline also go to Spain and Richard almost gets trampled BY A BULL RUN ( oh how I wish he had).

And this was the episode I watched last night after a few pints with a friend and I WAS SO LIVID that someone ( a many someones, to be exact) made actual real live money and lots of it for writing this awful nonsense.  Like give me the money and make Richard get trampled by the bulls….

And it gets even worse…

Caroline and Annie  have apologized for their mistake and gone back to New York.  Richard follows Caroline because on his deathbed from bull trample ( he’s not even scraped) he re-evaluated his life and wanted to be with Caroline.

You two shouldn't be together. The cat deserves more happiness
And I didn’t get past this moment so I cannot tell you what happens next because I was yelling at my computer and because I love my MacBook Air so much didn’t want to  be inspired to throw it across my room in frustration.

So what have we learned?  A.) people who write throaway bull running episodes owe me money B.) I hate it when writers create a “love triangle” by having their heroine or hero end up with a jerky mean and evil person. WHY WILL WE LIKE THEM IF THEY MAKE POOR LIFE CHOICES AND FALL FOR HORRIBLE people?  C.) the 90s. oh the 90s 


Christmas with CWG said...

I always thought Richard being with Julia was just his way of resigning any hope of being with Caroline. Maybe to subconsciously punish himself for not acting sooner. Maybe to convince himself that he could be happy with any other man's ideal. Then, when Caroline is available, the same arrangement serves as a way to punish her.
As for the sloppy writing in the last season...yeah. that happens when a show is confined to a small cast. Plus, the writing was on the wall for the end of the series. I can imagine them in the writers room going, "nmeh? Bullfight ? Why not.
It was the 90's. The heyday of the romantic sitcom. They really had nothing to lose.

Brenda said...

I only vaguely remember this show, but yeah, TV writing that starts off great and then self-destructs is THE WORST!!! My personal Caroline in the City is Smallville. It had so much promise at the beginning and could have been AMAZING, but they retconned every character and destroyed the continuity again and again until I couldn't deal with it anymore. And the biggest missed opportunity was not making Chloe grow up to be Lois Lane (via an assumed identity, which they could have plotted easily - there are tons of great theories online about this). I'd have forgiven them everything if that was the endgame, but no such luck.