When watching CBS, let them eat humble pie!

It’s hard to be a culture snob when you like a piece of "prolefeed" culture. I mean, I genuinely love a little show in CBS’s 8:30 p.m. slot (incidentally, this is the slot immediately after the enormously successful "Big Bang Theory") called "Life in Pieces." It has a fair 64 percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.6/10 from IMDB. 

Now, minus those facts, I’ll tell what I do know; one of these shows elicits genuine laughter and vociferous snickering throughout every scene, and the other generates a few pity laughs and modest chortles per episode. Then again, the “other” also generates two billion in profit to the parent network, so it’s not exactly a judicious comparison.

But it’s true. In the midst of discovering cultural masterworks like Paddy Chayefsky’s "Network" or Sleater-Kinney’s legendary trio of late '90s albums "Call the Doctor," "Dig me Out" and "The Hot Rock," I’m also enjoying in equal measure the pop culture that’s billed as “family entertainment” on contemporary network TV. What the hell is wrong with me?

I can’t even look at myself in the mirror without disgust. How have I fallen for a program that’s designed for a malleable mass audience? I, the individual, the light in the darkness, the sharp knife in the drawer, the light bulb lit in the dark shed, have become a consumer of mass media. Just like everybody else

But, I can perhaps mount a successful defense for my preference of said television programming. Indeed, if I were first to describe "Life in Pieces," I would have to underlie how hilarious the high-quality writing is. I mean, this is coming from a guy who loves "Frasier," and watched the whole series (all 11 seasons, baby) on Netflix last year. So, I know good television writing. This is that. Truly witty, quick, and effective writing is a prime aspect of this show’s greatness. They assault the comedy nerve fast and hard.

But there’s an equally important victory in the casting and acting on the show. I know Colin Hanks from "Dexter" and from being Tom Hanks’ son. I know Betsy Brandt from the hit AMC thriller "Breaking Bad." And my mom knows who James Brolin is, so that means he is of clear importance and prestige, obviously. So, they have real, experienced talent behind the wheel of this well-made automobile. (Clearly not made in Germany.)

So far, there doesn’t seem to be anything disputable about the show except for its mass appeal. All in all, that may not be a legitimate reason not to like something. I mean, some things are exclusively good for their mass appeal, like Donald Trump. So it would stand to reason that my media privilege has been checked by a down-to-earth, well-written family comedy. What can I say; every person loves “The Final Countdown,” despite what they no doubt deny!

Related Links:

Spark'd TV: Starting with a BANG

'Breaking Bad' provides lesson for showrunners on when to end


Reach the columnist at hfinzel@asu.edu or follow @OnlyH_man on Twitter. 

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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