• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
JAN
3
3 YEARS

Review: 'Work It' Is Awful and Embarrassing for ABC

The alleged comedy premieres tonight. Don't even think about it.

Work It Men As Women Still - H 2011
ABC/MICHAEL ANSELL
Stupid on parade.

When the bile bubbles up contemplating what heinous element of a series to slaughter first, you’ve got a problem.

Or, rather, ABC has a problem. It’s not just that Work It is poorly written, broadly acted and apparently produced without any shame, it’s that any number of people had a chance to say no to the groin-thwack against standards that is this series, but they refused.

PHOTOS: TV's Biggest 'Anticipointments' of 2011

Will no one stand up for standards? Or is that quaint in a town that vomits out 30-minute sitcoms and cranks out predictable dramas without so much as a nod to ambition?

Right. Thought so.

But really, Work It is the kind of series that restores mystery to the network-executive conundrum. How does ABC get it right with Suburgatory but so obviously wrong with a low-brow men-dressed-as-women sitcom that makes Bosom Buddies seem like Arrested Development in comparison?

How did the network know precisely how much soap is good soap when it opted for Revenge yet seem to have no idea just how much blatant stupidity is enough for Work It?

STORY: 'Game of Thrones,' 'Modern Family' Among THR Critic Tim Goodman's 10 (OK, 29) Best TV Shows of 2011

Then again, this disconnect with logic and taste is partly what makes covering the industry so weirdly fascinating.

In any case, Work It was an easy spot months ago as one of the worst new series coming this season, and sure enough, nothing was done to make the pilot less wretched in all that time. It’s just a shame that it’s the first scripted series of 2012, because who needs to be this angry so quickly in the new year?

Now, normally when a show is so bad that those people involved should be trotted out in public and debased, it seems somehow important to shine a spotlight on the guilty parties. But not here. Work It is so awful that one could get the impression the two people who created it might get enough satisfaction just seeing their names attached to a produced pilot no matter how scathing the review. So they’ll go unnamed. As for the actors: Well, this series can only lend credence to the theory that sometimes you just don’t know how crappy a project is until it’s too late. So they will also go unmentioned in the hopes that the show dies quickly and the Interwebs somehow lose track of their affiliation to this debacle.

STORY: LGBT Groups Urge ABC Not to Air 'Work It'

If you’re still interested, here’s the “premise”: A couple of guys can’t get work in St. Louis. For a full year. They drink beer and bitch about it. Then one of them says the whole world is run by women and that there’s a “mancession.” So one of the guys cross-dresses to get a job, and — gasp! — it works. He then gets his friend to do the same thing.

Hilarity does not ensue.

If you want to be politically correct about something so trifling as this series, you could make a pretty good argument that the two guys who created and wrote this show disdain women. Almost all the women come off as ditzes, getting their jobs because the clients want to “nail them.” And they are incapable of figuring out that two people who are clearly men are dressing as women and fooling them (mostly by mocking things that women do, as seen through the prism of two writers who don’t seem to have spent much time with actual women).

For the record, hilarity never ensues, in case you were hoping for a paragraph of slight hope way down here at the bottom. And no, there are no good drinking games for this show. And — you should really pay attention here — Work It is not so bad it’s good. It’s just terrible. And not the kind of terrible that needs any rubber-necking tonight.

Email: Tim.Goodman@THR.com

Twitter: @BastardMachine