Is a scheduled binge really a binge at all?
In an effort to replicate the coveted Netflix model, TBS is playing of all of Angie Tribeca - the new Rashida Jones-starring comedy created by Steve and Nancy Carrell - in a marathon format. For 25 commercial-free hours on Sunday and Monday, TBS will run the first 10 episodes of Angie Tribeca back to back to back.
TBS isn't the first network that has tried to adapt the binge-watching model to cable. But no one has been particularly successful at it yet. And Angie Tribeca is a weird choice for TBS to use as a test case.
Angie Tribeca is like an updated version of Police Squad. The humor is similar, full of puns and sight gags. But Police Squad didn't exist in a TV landscape populated by CSI knockoffs and will-they-or-won't-they romcom gambits. Still, the jokes feel like they could take place in any era.
Angie will say something such as, "You could say I'm a cop."
And a chorus follows: " 'I'm a cop.' "
Jones, who first worked with Carrell on The Office before hopping over to its sister soulmate, Parks and Recreation, plays the titular officer. Her role in Parks, Ann Perkins, and even her Office stint, were both as straight men. Save for a few moments, Jones played the regular person who kept it together while chaos swirled around her. But here, she can wear a ruffling ballroom gown and chase a perp through several different weddings.
Nor did Police Squad have the benefit of a creative team with a lot of famous friends. Lisa Kudrow, James Franco, Adam Scott, Gary Cole, and Alfred Molina all pop up in the first couple of episodes, and the novelty of their appearances doesn't wear off. Angie Tribeca is a place that allows for unapologetic goofiness. As comedies start to veer more toward drama - think Amazon's Transparent and FXX's You're the Worst - such unapologetic goofiness is getting harder to find.
There's still a place for it, though, in the form of shows such as the medical parody Children's Hospital, which starts its seventh season at 11 p.m. Friday during Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block. But that show comes in small doses (sometimes episodes are only 15 minutes), and it's a shame that the marathon viewing of Angie Tribeca exposes the show's weaknesses. Does goofiness hold up in a 25-hour block? Or does the shtick wear too thin? Angie Tribeca's shtick was never particularly thick to begin with.
We'll see. On Jan. 25, a whole new set of 10 episodes - dubbed the "second season" already - will be rolled out in the traditional once-a-week way.