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The level of tone deafness in the writing of Mixology (and, it should be noted, in the entertainment offices of ABC) is astounding. How does a network that skews female crank out a misogynistic piece of frat-boy awfulness like this? And who decided to schedule it coming out of Modern Family, the polar opposite in tone and comedic achievement?
Less than brilliant, ABC.
Yes, I know that ABC wants to put anything behind Modern Family in hopes that its most popular comedy can launch another show, but that programming notion is both archaic and, in this case, ridiculous. Who here thinks that after America spends a half hour with the extended Modern Family clan they’re going to want to hear jokes about rape, about women being slapped by men, women who men think are whores and one-liners like this:
“Look at that chick throwing up. I’m going to bang her out.”
Nice job, ABC.
As a network that is “rebuilding,” it has a tendency — well, for about the last five or so seasons — to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and hope that something works. It’s not the greatest of programming strategies and Mixology is just the latest example of the network being stunningly desperate and without any kind of clear sense of what it’s looking for (or, in this case, what it is).
Perhaps seduced (with a roofie?) by The Hangover pedigree of writers and creators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore — or by the fact that Ryan Seacrest is also behind it — ABC said yes to something it should have slapped silly instead.
Billed as “high concept” because the series revolves around 10 people in one bar on one night, Mixology breaks up their various pursuits to get laid and tries to make comedy from the mix. Put the emphasis on “tries,” and scratch “comedy” entirely. And forget whatever love and/or affinity you might have for The Hangover. Because in Mixology, Lucas and Moore come off as people who got fired from 2 Broke Girls for being heavy-handed with the stupidity and sexist sensitivities.
Yeah, it’s that bad.
Mixology takes the time-honored drunken pursuit of finding someone in a bar to have sex with and approaches it with the kind of delicate touch of people who thought Top of the Lake was a sitcom.
“You are a Viking!” one character says to another. “You rape and pillage and take what you want!” Pause for the big finish: “Obviously, don’t rape her.”
“They smashed it out about five times a week,” one voice-over says while a newly-minted couple have sex. When said couple breaks up, and the archetype wussy male is heartbroken about it, the guy who helped make the relationship happen in the first place says that was never his intent: “I thought she was a whore.”
Yes, it’s just as hilarious as you think.
Then, because there’s a bros-before-hos kinda thing in the pilot, the guys are talking about how no man ever has Kleenex in his place. One guy says he has tons of it at his apartment. “Why do you think I have so much Kleenex? I pop off all over the place.”
(You’ll notice that I’m not mentioning who’s in it – I consider that a favor to them in the long run. Just bury this thing on the resume and pray nobody remembers.)
Perhaps sensing that an audience could, were they to tilt their heads and squint, come to the conclusion that all of this humor was possibly misogynistic and not just merely unfunny, the writers decide to let one hard-ass woman who wants men to be men deliver the lines, as a kind of cover. So she belittles some milquetoast to his face and then laments his inaction to another female co-worker. “If I talked that way to Don Draper he would slap me in the mouth,” she says. And a real man would top it off, she says, by saying, “I’m a man! Respect my balls, woman.”
If you’re wondering if women get called bitches, too, sure – that’s in there. And 2013’s favorite TV term – “douche” – gets tossed around tiredly as expected.
Chalk this up as a politically correct knee-jerk response to humorous envelope-pushing if you want, but Mixology is a tone-deaf, poorly executed, badly written series that, in the parlance of the show, kind of rapes comedy.
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