Friday, November 1, 2019

New TV Review: Perfect Harmony

I can almost hear this casting discussion.

"We need someone to play an elitist, out of touch egomaniac."
"How about that guy from West Wing."
"We can't afford Martin Sheen."
"No, not him, the other screaming nutcase."
"The Jewish stereotype with a beard?"
"No, the other flaming egomaniac."
"Bradley Whitford?"
"Yeah. Him. Let's stick him in a setting where the locals make fun of him, and they poke fun at their own foibles."
And this is how Perfect Harmony was born.

The setup is simple. A retired music professor has lost his wife. After taking her to the deep south town where she was born to bury her, he is about to commit suicide... when he is stopped by horrendous singing of a church choir. Drunk, and deciding he will not die to such painful sounds, he marches in, corrects all of their singing foibles, and passes out.

The local southerners take pity on him, and adopt the arrogant SOB.

And this is a comedy.

I will grant that a lot of the humor is culture shock comedy. Those aspects are hit or miss -- the hits usually land in Bradley Whitford's head, so are much appreciated. (Can you tell he may have played this part a little too often?)

But where the show usually shines is in the music. And they have funny music moments. Whether they're slowing down a song to make it intelligible, and it works, or they're doing a rock version of a hymn (I believe one was Nearer My God to Thee).

I'm not going to say it's going for depth, but it does tell you something that I have gotten more laughs out of this show than I have out of any "comedy" in 30 years. (The last comedy I watched was Night Court reruns... or Head of the Class.) And merciful God, the humor DOES NOT RELY on the characters being total morons, or sex, or "I'm so smart, society is stupid." In fact, only one character here is actually a moron ... and even he's not so stone stupid, you expect him to stop breathing.

Anyway, you might want to give Perfect Harmony a try. It has been getting steadily better about the culture shock humor, but solid on the music fun. Expect at least three good laughs.

Let's call it a 6/10. Maybe even 7/10, depending on the episode.

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