Wednesday, April 01, 2009

First Night: The Osbournes Reloaded

Before the programme aired, the misgivings about Sharon's latest vehicle for making cash from her brood had sat mostly within the Fox Broadcasting family - affiliates dropping the programme, the network slicing airtime and junking the idea of a series in favour of an unspecified number of one-off "specials".

But now the programme has aired, the question is: What did America think?

For Variety, it was "a disjointed mess":

Ostensibly a variety show shot in front of a boisterous studio audience, the program featured a mix of live and taped elements -- the first problem being that among the show's central family, only Jack Osbourne appears to have any natural aptitude for the hosting part of the gig.

The premiere's centerpiece, oddly, hinged on a staged (and most likely not legal) wedding, in which an audience member was bushwhacked by a "Get married now or else" ultimatum from his girlfriend. Although it was rather uncomfortable to watch, at least that drawn-out interlude offered a respite from watching Ozzy, Sharon and Kelly curse, with little faces appearing over their mouths to prevent even lip readers from being offended.

The Hartford Courant's Roger Catlin didn't enjoy himself:
That they'd be the cutting edge for Fox made them seem a little dated as well. The network must have realized what a dud it had on its hand. Not only did Tuesday's show not start a season - it was a one-shot teaser for an unannounced future season - it was cut from 60 minutes, to 40 to 35.

And from the cutting, we may have been spared the sight of Kelly singing - or even Ozzy doing a number. As it was, we were left with some unpalatable filmed bits - of a cussing kid version of "The Osbournes" annoying people in a theater, to Ozzy and Kelly spending a day at a fast food drive through - a ploy David Letterman did much more wittily years ago - that ended up with them throwing food at the cars in line.

Yeah, but what does the Courant know about entertainment anyway, right? Let's try Entertainment Weekly. Surely Ken Tucker was entertained, right?
It seems a lifetime since, in 2002, the Osbournes came across as refreshingly nutty on their MTV reality show. On The Osbournes: Reloaded, Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly, and Jack were just pathetic. No wonder Fox kept chopping this proposed hour-long "variety show" into an ever-smaller size before airing it. The network is supposed to air five more Reloadeds. Don't hold your breath. Or maybe, do hold your breath: The stink of this show will last a long time.

So, then: Not entirely a warm welcome, but still more popular than Sharon's ITV teatime show.