So, it turns out I may be slightly addicted to television...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I have a Thorne in my side

Okay tv writers - I have a bone to pick with you. Starting with the writers of my beloved Little Mosque on the Prairie. Did the budget cuts at CBC take out the best of you? Because season 4 is not shaping up to be all that funny. And there is one big, tall, reason why.

Rev. Thorne.

Now, I understand that characters have to evolve, that sometimes characters have to be written off, and maybe sometimes an actor leaves a show and has to be replaced by someone new. I get that. But you took my favourite character, the sweet, affable Rev Magee and replaced him with a pretentious, uptight, rude Rev Thorne.

I get that we are not supposed to like Thorne, I'm not stupid. I read the official website which proclaims that the more we hate Thorne the "happier" everybody on the show is because he's supposed to be the villain. But this is a comedy and I like my villains funny. And I'm sorry, Thorne is neither funny nor interesting. And he certainly doesn't add anything to the show. Especially since we already had two uptight, rude and pretentious antagonists to my cute little Imam Amaar: uber-religious Baber and the intolerant radio dj Fred Tupper.

And that's precisely what I don't get about this season on Little Mosque. Every character had their place, and it worked very well. The satire was witty, the humor good and dry and the laughs a dime a dozen. And now, well, do we need 3 men we're not supposed to like? Why?

On top of that, it's like every character went for a lobotomy over the summer and is behaving very much unlike themselves. We've hardly seen the mayor, who was high on horse tranquilizers in her one scene. She's supposed to be obnoxious too, but now she's obnoxious and a druggie? How believable a mayor is she supposed to be? And Fred, well, last I saw him he was riding the back of a scooter of a woman a good 30 years older than him because he was out trolling for ladies. Isn't he supposed to have a thing for Fatima?

And Rayyan. When last season ended she was left standing at the altar and it felt like she might finally, after 3 long seasons, realize that Amaar was the man for her. I really enjoyed last year's storyline where Amaar pined after the blissfully ignorant Rayyan. But it's time to get them together now. However, the writer's are acting like there is zero sexual tension between these two. You could feel how right they were together in every scene last year - they were the Muslim equivalent of Jim and Pam, and this year... Nothing.

And finally, Amaar. Amaar has always been well-intentioned but naive. But Rev. Thorne makes him seem like a total ass. Like a tool that not only isn't the sharpest in the shed, but has been left out in the field to rust. And that's the biggest reason I don't like Thorne. While he's supposed to be the opposite of Amaar, he makes me dislike Amaar. And Amaar is supposed to be our hero, our voice of reason.

That, and I think I only laughed once over the entire 3 episodes so far this season. Once. And even then, it was only a chuckle. The rest of the time you could see the funny coming a mile away, and then, well, it's not funny.

So that got me thinking about others shows that have characters we are supposed to hate. And I determined there really are two kinds of Thornes. There are those we are supposed to hate that actually detract from the show, from the other characters and the viewing experience as a whole. ADA Sonya Paxton from Law & Order SVU came up right away on my detractor list. I don't see how she's added anything to the show, and certainly not to the storyline. I am so glad they just got rid of her - she hardly lasted until episode 4 - what was the point of that?

But then there is Glee's Sue Sylvestor - the Cheerio coach we all love to hate. She is definitely the villainess. She is certainly meant to be the chink in Will's armour, and yet I love her. Her character is hilarious - she is as obnoxious, if not more so, than Rev. Thorne and ADA Paxton combined, but she ADDS something to the show. She furthers the plot, she creates plot twists, and her lines are damn funny. Sue is the perfect example of how a "thorn" can work in a show without making viewers cringe.

I hope the Little Mosque writers wake up to that before it is too late.

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