Aside from reruns of "Midsomer Murders," Darth generally watches television only on Sunday night: "The Simpsons," "Family Guy." "Malcolm in the Middle," and "Arrested Development." However, due to an error in the VCR (I have since crushed the cheap piece of junk into dust), I found myself watching the series premiere of "The War at Home," starring - if that is the right verb - Michael Rapaport and Vicky Barone. Permit me to suggest that, from a Roman Catholic perspective, there is a crucial moral issue at stake here. We know that we are only given a certain number of days in this world ("LORD, let me know my end, the number of my days, that I may learn how frail I am." - Psalm 39:5), and that there will be an accounting of how we use our time (Matt 25:1-46). Suffice it to say that you do not want to show up before the judgment throne of God and have to account for the 30 minutes spent watching "The War at Home." Darth fast-forwarded through the commercials, so I've only got to answer for 22 minutes. Still, I have a feeling that the Big Guy will be less upset over the 94 minutes I wasted watching "Porky's" (I was 21, after all) than the 22 minutes wasted on "The War at Home." By my age, I should know better.
How do you make a show this bad? Well, take one formerly cool dude, now a father flustered by the demands of parenting; add a savvy, laid-back mother who has often been, as the kids say, "down with the swirl"; throw in several wise-cracking kids who know how to work a key light, and then remove every bit of restraint, dignity, taste, and wit. Following this formula, you will wind up with an infinitely better show than "The War at Home."
The season premier included such comic gems as: (a) a 15-year-old boy whose father is terrified he is gay; so, naturally, the boy fans Dad's terror by dressing up like his mother so he can - get this - drive her car to a girl's house without being arrested (might Darth suggest that this ploy could only occur to California screenwriters whose minds were well-lubricated by Schedule II narcotics?) (b) a younger brother who gets the video game he wants by squealing on his transvestite-brother; (c) a 16-year-old daughter who dates a black guy name "Taye" (short for "Boo-taye" - my sides were splitting) in order to coerce her father into letting her date a a guy who's 18-years-old, but white.
All of the characters break the "fourth wall" by speaking directly to the camera about their hopes and dreams, which, unsurprisingly, all sound like the hopes and dreams of people born and bred on Burbank sound stages.
Please, Mr. Murdoch - rebuild the fourth wall. Make it brick. No windows, no doors. No air.
And bring back "Millennium."