Have you ever watched a show that made you feel embarrassed not only for watching, but also for the entire cast and crew? CTV’s new sitcom Spun Out left me feeling that way — it’s easily one of the worst sitcoms I watched this side of ABC’s Work It.
To start, the writing is brutal. You can see the jokes coming a mile away, and when they arrive, they land with a thud. Making matters worse is the overuse of the laugh track. It roars aggressively at anything that seems like a joke, and it’s so loud and obnoxious that it sweeps you away like a tsunami leaving you disoriented, (or that’s at least how I felt).
The overall concept didn’t do the show much good either. Spun Out is a mix between the star Dave Foley’s old show NewsRadio (if it came two decades too late) and The Crazy Ones (which Rogers’ IPG mistakenly said aired on CTV an hour before the premiere of Spun Out when it was actually Two and a Half Men). It takes the humour, assorted wacky characters and visual feel from the former and the modern-day advertising/PR work environment setting from the latter. In Spun Out, Foley plays Dave Lyons, a boss of a PR firm, and Paul Campbell plays Beckett, a failed writer who decides to start a career in PR…you can pretty much guess the rest. Saying Spun Out is similar to either NewsRadio or The Crazy Ones though would be an insult to both of those shows, even though they’re both mediocre themselves.
The reasons why Spun Out isn’t so hot are many. Along with the dreadful writing as I mentioned above, a large part of the premise of Spun Out’s debut episode made little sense. I’m talking about the company that changed the sound of their trucks to make music when they reverse after Beckett randomly blurted out the idea. What’s even more ridiculous is that the trucks’ music caused 15 accidents in an hour as people stopped to pick up their phones in front of them thinking the music was their ringtone. That would barely fly on a cartoon, but on a network TV sitcom, you have to be kidding.
On top of the mediocre writing and premise, Spun Out’s set is pretty lousy. Much of the scenery out of the sets windows is obviously fake as are some props such as the magazines hanging in the office. (I actually thought some of the magazines were left over props from Foley’s other dud of a sitcom How To Be a Gentleman at first.)
My other problem with Spun Out is that it all feels done before. Even if this were 1994 I’d bet this show would still feel uninspired. It’s loaded with a bunch sitcom gags we’ve seen before like people taking bets at when a character will mess up, that same character feeling as if the others don’t realize he’s still around while they ridicule him, other characters randomly appearing and blurting out lines in a cheap effort to be funny, a guy trying to cheer up the main character but quickly abandoning the idea by saying “I got nothing,” the main character getting fired and slumming around at home in his PJs and the main character comes through with the idea to save the day.
Worst of all Spun Out isn’t even funny. I must’ve chuckled maybe twice during the debut episode, but that was about it. Spun Out is very mediocre and I doubt it’s long for this world. Even if it were a halfway decent sitcom, it takes a miracle to find an audience on Friday night even if this show debuted at a special night and time after the country’s number one sitcom.
Episode Reviewed: Egg Salad
Spun Out airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on CTV