Below is an extended promo for CBS’s newest sitcom, “Mad Love,” which premieres on Valentine’s Day (*pistol in mouth*). It stars Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke as two people who instantly fall in love, and Tyler Labine (“Reaper”) and Judy Greer as their best friends who hate each other. Not the worst concept, but here’s the problem:
Jason Biggs. Not only do I not like Biggs, I hate the character he plays. It’s a character we see way too often on TV: the emotional, romantic, sweet guy with middling self-confidence. He’s a 21st century mutation of the Woody Allen archetype, and he’s NEVER funny unless he’s the butt of the joke. He fails as a protagonist, and here’s why:
Too many writers insert a version of themselves into the story (in this case, a TV show) as the protagonist. And because writers are generally introverted pussies with grand notions of winning unattainable girls, they craft the protagonist to be some stuttering emo twat like Biggs or Ted Mosby on “How I Met Your Mother.” Who’s the most popular character on “How I Met”? Neil Patrick Harris’s supremely confident ladykiller, Barney Stinson.
That’s because what TV viewers actually crave are confident men: Jeff Winger on “Community,” Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation,” and Sterling Archer on “Archer” all have invincible confidence in themselves, and they’re funnier than any wuss on TV. In fact, of those three shows, the only meek or timid males (the Dean on “Community” and Chris Parnell’s Cyril on “Archer”) provide laughs because the more confident and self-assured characters walk all over them. (This extends beyond the stereotype of the alpha male: Jim Parsons’s Sheldon Cooper on “the Big Bang Theory” may be a geek, but he’s not timid or shy.)
None of this is to say that confident men can’t have feelings — Nathan Fillion’s likable Richard Castle is a self-assured and talented millionaire who suppresses his love for Detective Becket in “Castle,” after all. But TV should reflect the real world: confident men should be emulated, and weenies should be ground underfoot. Grow up, boys.