What in the new season works for your workout.
By Gregory Jacobs-Roseman
As I’ve written on here before, I watch a lot of television at the gym. In addition to strength training with my trainer, I spend seven hours a week doing cardio work on either the treadmill, elliptical, or bike, and to get through that hour, I download television episodes onto my iPad and watch while sweating it out. That's a lot of TV. Usually it's one hour-long drama and one half-hour comedy, as sans commercials that adds up to roughly 60 minutes.
With all the new shows airing their series premieres right now, I thought I’d share my reviews of some of the new shows, all of which I watched at the gym. Overall, dramas are better for cardio than comedies because of the suspense factor. You really need a comedy with rapid-fire jokes like 30 Rock or Happy Endings when working out. For most of these I have only seen the pilot episode. This week, new half-hour comedies!
Show: Animal Practice
Premise: An over-confident veterinarian (played by the amazing Justin Kirk) who prefers to interact with animals rather than humans is thrown for a loop when his ex-girlfriend inherits the animal hospital. It’s like Dr. Doolittle meets House.
Review: I’ll be honest, the only reason I downloaded the pilot is because it was free on iTunes. Kirk has always been one of my favorites, from Weeds to Angels in America, and that monkey sure is cute, but for me it’s not funny or interesting enough to be worth watching episode two.
Appropriateness for cardio: « (out of 5). It didn’t grab me or make me laugh enough to make me forget that I’m working out.
Show: Ben and Kate
Premise: A goofball brother who “never grew up” and a sister who “grew up too fast” move in together to take care of the latter’s daughter.
Review: I really wanted to like this show, but I think it may have been a little over-hyped. Ben can be frustrating at times but remains loveable. It was pretty cute overall, and I loved the moment at the end when they ended up under the table at the wedding. Also, Lucy Punch is hilarious.
Appropriateness for cardio: ««. This is a heartwarming show that I’ll probably end up watching at home rather than at the gym.
Show: Go On
Premise: A radio sportscaster (Matthew Perry) joins a support group full of oddballs after the death of his wife.
Review: I… I mean… I’m on the fence about this one, but probably only because I really want to like it. Poor Laura Benanti has been trying so hard to get on TV, and I really want her to land a series regular role in a show that doesn’t get canceled immediately. And the show has Julie White playing an angry lesbian! Everyone loves Julie White playing an angry lesbian! I’m sad to say that while the show doesn’t quite get off the ground, I’m gonna keep watching with my fingers crossed, hoping that it improves.
Appropriateness for cardio: ««. It should probably be one star, but I’m adding one just for Laura Benanti and Julie White.
Show: The Mindy Project
Premise: Mindy Kaling is an OBGYN looking for love in all the wrong places. A worshiper of rom-coms, after a drunken incident at her ex’s wedding she decides to take steps to improve her life and meet Mr. Right.
Review: OMG if you know me, you know that this show is everything I’m all about. It’s like Mindy Kaling took the musical I’ve been developing for the past four years, made the lead character a doctor, and cast herself in the role (PS: what’s with weddings in all these premieres?). If the season is anything like the pilot, this is going to be a fun show.
Appropriateness for cardio: ««««. This is the first of the comedies that actually made me laugh out loud and forget that I was running.
Show: The New Normal
Premise: A gay couple trying to have a baby hires a single mother trying to turn her life around to be their surrogate.
Review: I’m mixed on this one. On one hand I really like the premise. On the other, as a friend of mine put it, much of the show is basically: “Oh, look at those silly gays.” I’m intrigued to see more, however, and Ellen Barkin is fantastic.
Appropriateness for cardio: «««. I have a feeling this rating will get lower as the season continues on.
I would’ve reviewed Partners too, but I couldn’t find it on iTunes.
There you have it. Enjoy, and happy cardio!
GREGORY JACOBS-ROSEMAN is a composer/lyricist and theatrical sound designer currently developing Save The Date: A New Musical Comedy. www.gregjr.com
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