June 12, 2010

TV Review | Carlawood 2.1, 2.2

Carlawood (TVtropolis: second season premiered Monday, May 31, 11:00 PM ET) is one of those shows that still exists, for some as-yet-unexplained reason.  The show must have its fans, yet a 1.3/10 on IMDb tells me a different story.  Carla-centric shows get the worst ratings on IMDb.  I’m not surprised.

The first episode of Carlawood‘s second season has Carla look for a new assistant.  Helpfully, there’s a graphic on-screen that says “Carla’s New Bitch.”  She goes through an aggressive trainer, a party animal and other people Carlawood tries to sell as eccentric.  Seriously, why is this so important to the show?  So she’s getting a new assistant?  Who gives a shit?

Carlawood tries to imbue the most mundane situations with high drama.  Carla has complications regarding her green card.  Carla trains for a five-kilometre run.  Carla needs a new publicist.  I know it’s a reality show, but nothing happens on Carlawood.  I said this when the show debuted, and it’s just as true now.

I don’t pick on Carlawood for easy page views.  I am genuinely baffled as to why Collins deserves a reality show, and why Carlawood demands a second season.  Collins comes across as self-absorbed and a bad shill.  Carlawood is trying to mimic Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List, except that Kathy Griffin is a genuinely caustic, interesting personality.  Collins just wants to play Ron James and sell a book.

I’d be fairer to Carlawood if it wasn’t such an infomercial for Collins’ interests.  I only watch shows like this when I plan on reviewing them, and Carlawood angers me every time I see it.  The woman comes across as superficial as Hollywood itself.  Is she fronting for the camera?  I don’t know, and I don’t care.

In the end, I don’t blame Carla Collins for Carlawood‘s faults.  She has to earn a living.  No, I blame Canadian television for being so conservative.  Canadian television is much, much more likely to buoy established talents than take chances on the unknown.  King Kaboom dies while Carlawood eats up screen time.  It’s as much a fact of life as breathing and nocturnal emissions.

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April 21, 2009

TV Review | Carlawood 1.1

Carla Collins is a minor Canadian celebrity.  Her main claim to fame is co-hosting BBS/CTV’s Entertainment Now/eNow from 1995 to 2001, which led to the 2000 sketch comedy series Chez Carla.  When that project died the death of most Comedy Network shows, she hosted CTV’s short-lived 2001 variety show Sonic Temple.  Her most substantial Canadian role was as Rusty Sinclair on Paradise Falls.  The last few years of her life have seen Collins move to the Los Angeles area to strike it big there.

I’m not sure what Carlawood (TVtropolis: starts April 19, 9:00 PM) is supposed to be.  Lone Eagle Entertainment tries to sell it as Curb Your Enthusiasm meets Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” and I can’t see that high concept.  Collins is not nearly as bitchy or as outspoken as Kathy Griffin or Larry David.  Also, to be Curb Your Enthusiasm means heavy use of profanity, something Carlawood isn’t capable of.

Carlawood doesn’t make Southern California look all that weird.  The first episode has Collins reading through an audition for a romantic comedy.  The casting director moonlights as a psychiatrist, comedian and salsa dancer.  Collins makes out like the casting director’s a total nutcase.  Despite wearing many hats, he seems more obnoxious than eccentric.  Collins was a comedian/radio jock/entertainment show host/weathergirl in Canada, so she’s one to talk about hyphenates.

Tyrone Power, Jr., Collins’ current husband, comes across as goofy and likable.  Power is on crutches throughout the episode, as he injured himself standing on a rock.  He was on one foot and a huge tidal wave hit him.  Now that’s eccentric!  Of course, Collins has to bounce jokes off Power, since Carla Carla Carla.

I’m not expecting schadenfreude on the level of Hogan Knows Best or The Osbournes, but Carlawood is mundane.  Nothing happens in the first episode.  Carla Collins goes to a casting session, markets her stage show and walks her dog Buster.  Maybe the show gets weirder after a few episodes, since the first episode is mainly setup.

Carlawood was supposed to debut April 1 on E!, Canwest’s secondary broadcast network.  E! is dying, so moving this show to TVtropolis was the right move.  Carlawood fits right in with reruns of TV Made Me Do It and Vanity Insanity.  There might be an audience for Carlawood, but I know I don’t belong in it.

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