The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum discusses the rise of the lovable scumbag protagonist, looking primarily at FX’s screwball spy show Archer and HBO’s Jose Canseco emulating Eastbound & Down. It’s a great read for a variety of reasons, though the quote that stands out most to me is this one:

Each of these comedies maintains a tricky balance: they puncture their dirtbag’s delusions, but the satire stems from something deeper than contempt. If he’s a bully, we understand his rationalizations. If he’s a predator, the women around him aren’t just prey. (On a few of these shows, the ladies get down in the dirt, too, particularly on “Always Sunny” and “Archer,” which features both savvy and cretinous female characters.) On a show like “Two and a Half Men,” the primal joke was on lesser, envious men, as well as the skanks who fell for Charlie Harper’s wiles. The version that starred Sheen was tactical enough to savage its own showman now and then—but it always came back to glamorizing him in the end.

See, it’s not just the quality of writing that puts Archer miles above Two and a Half Men, it’s the measure of comeuppance levied on their respective leading men.

NEWS DUMP 2/1/2012

Suck my news and kiss my dump, everyone.

  • As you may have gleaned from the above video,Eastbound & Downis coming back on February 19th, and is bringing Jason Sudeikis along for the ride. The humor of Kenny fucking Powers is an acquired taste (one that tastes like hooker spit and 8-balls), but for those who buy into Danny McBride’s John Rockeresque pitcher, this season looks as good as ever.
  • Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC raised over a million bucks. That seems like an unbelievable figure for a comedian to raise, but I refuse to be impressed by any monetary statistic after learning Transformers 3 made over a billion dollars.
  • Last night’s episode of New Girl directly addressed the unending dialogue surrounding Zooey Deschanel’s "manic pixie dreamgirl" status by pitting a pantsuited Lizzie Caplan against her. I stopped watching the show awhile back, but happened to catch this one, and was impressed. I may have to add that show back to the Watch This feature, at least until Caplan’s 3-episode guest stint finishes up.