Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Lily Finnerty Award- Worst in Comedy

Named For: Lily Finnerty (Grounded For Life)
Awarded To: The character you most love to hate in a comedy series
2009 Winner: Toby Flenderson (The Office)
2010 Winner: Susie Greene (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
2011 Winner: Gabe Lewis (The Office)

10. Freddie Benson (iCarly) 0 points

9. Eve Baxter (Last Man Standing) 5 points
2nd by Jack

8. Louie (Louie) 6 points
1st by Rizzo

7. Noah Werner (Suburgatory) 6 points
2nd by T-time, 4th by Me

6. Hazel Wassername (30 Rock) 11 points
1st by Bonz, 5th by Me

5. Stevie Janowski (Eastbound and Down) 11 points
2nd by Cecil, 3rd by Me

4. Robert California (The Office) 14 points
1st by Tyson

3. Rodney Ruxin (The League) 14 points
1st by Cecil and Jack

2. Ben Wyatt (Parks and Rec) 19 points
1st by Jaydon, 1st by Me

and the Poolie goes to...

1. Andy Bernard (The Office) 20 points
1st by T-time, Larry, and Matt, 2nd by Me

This is Andy Bernard's first nomination and win for the comedy character you most love to hate. Back in 2009, Andy was nominated for and lost by only one point in the best supporting character award.  Here to discuss how Andy Bernard went wrong is Poolie voter, T-time.

Remember when we loved The Office? It seems so long ago. But it was only twelve months ago that Poolie voters judged it to be the best comedy on television. Of course that was when Steve Carell still graced the program with his unique blend of humor and heart. We knew it would not be as good after Michael Scott got on that plane to Colorado, but we couldn’t have imagined it would fall apart completely.

The program’s fall from grace was quick and severe but it didn’t have to be. There was still a stable of talent in the cast. All they needed to do was spread the load. Go back to classic Jim/Dwight pranks. Give more screen time to Kevin and Ryan. This should have worked. It’s not what they did. The Office instead attempted to force the load once carried by Steve Carell onto one man. Bad idea. That one man was Ed Helms. Worse idea.

It’s safe to say that Andy Bernard, as portrayed by Helms, has destroyed this show. This is in large part because HE IS NOT FUNNY.  It’s also because he thinks that he is. He overdoes every bit. A perfect example can be found in the finale. Andy as the down-on-his-luck janitor had some inherit comedy. But Andy doesn’t know when to stop, pushing every bit until the viewer is just annoyed. STOP TRYING SO HARD. If he had just played that bit to its logical conclusion, it might have been good, but he can’t help himself. Frustratingly, that was one of Andy’s better moments this year.

The sadder part is that Erin, a formerly fun character was dragged down into the morass with him. They keep pushing this Andy-Erin relationship on us like it is something we should care about. For an audience to have a stake in a TV relationship, they need to feel for one of the characters. We never cared about Andy finding love. That was never part of his appeal(when he had any). They were matched up at first because of the jokes and then later it was just assumed we would care. This is the Parks and Rec approach. That’s not the way that The Office built Michael-Holly or Jim-Pam. It is the way that they ruined the affection we formerly had for Erin Hannon.

In the end, this is a comedy. All Andy Bernard needs to do is be funny. There was a time when he was. The Stamford version of the character was amusing in small doses. That time is long past. The Andy Bernard of the past few years was a tolerable annoyance. This year, his step into the bright lights has ruined a once beloved franchise.

by Tim Forcella

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