TV Review: Great News

Although I’ve been taking the time to highlight some of the tv and films I’ve been watching lately, I don’t get a ton of spare time for watching either most days. I only bring this up, because that means I’m generally pretty picky with what I choose to watch, so I have to admit that it’s a little weird that this one actually managed to fall through the cracks and be something I’ve not only been watching, but thoroughly enjoying.

Great News is a pretty standard workplace sitcom, in which a young producer on a news show has her mother suddenly show up as an intern. It’s the kind of premise that I believe gets an automatic green light for a pilot, based on how many similar shows we have to this. Add on to it that Tina Fey is an executive producer (which certainly explains why the background music is so reminiscent of 30 Rock) and you can see why the networks were so eager to give this production money.

It only lasted for two seasons, which wouldn’t be all that surprising except for one specific item: Andrea Martin.

For most of you, if not all of you, this name might not mean anything, but for people like me who grew up watching all the SCTV they could get in their non-Canada-residing hands, you might remember her as Edith Princkley in a show that, oddly enough, was about a television network.

I loved Andrea Martin. She had this amazing awkward charm that made her a delight whenever she’d make an appearance on SCTV. And then, I’ll be honest, I forgot about her. For years. She’s even shown up in a few things I’ve watched over the years, like Hedwig and the Angry Inch or My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and I’ve somehow completely overlooked her. But she was one of the selling points for me to watch this show in the first place, and she hasn’t let me down.

Sure, they may overuse her character to Steve Urkel-levels of distraction from the rest of the characters and story, but I don’t care, because she is amazing. Her ability to play this hyper-attentive mother who is still really only focused on herself is so absolutely perfect that I am really disappointed that there’s so few episodes of the show in existence.

But in reality, this show just causes me to believe that we need to give Andrea Martin the level of comedic freedom that her cohorts Martin Short, Eugene Levy, John Candy, and Catherine O’Hara have received over the years.

Or, I guess, just let her do what she’s been doing, since it looks like she’s had a pretty fulfilling career based on her IMDB profile.

Regardless, this show is probably not for everyone, as it is very much just more of the same sitcom silt, but if you want to watch a master comedian do her work on a show that seems to refuse to rein her in, Great News just might be the show for you. As long as you’re willing to shut off your brain for a bit and allow a heavy dose of stupid to settle in.


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