Monday, January 9, 2017

They're fans

Readers of this blog have seen links to two very different reviews of ABC's Big Fan.

One critic trashed the show as creepy, dumb and generally a threat to western civilization. The other pundit thought it was fun and entertaining, a pleasant enough way to pass a half-hour. After watching the premiere, I definitely lean toward the more positive view, though I can understand a bit of the naysayer's case.

If you don't know, Big Fan grew out of a segment on showrunner Jimmy Kimmel's late night chatterer. Three super-fans of a well-known celeb - on the debut ep the famous one was Matthew McConaughey - compete to prove their knowledge of anything and everything about the celebrity.

After a couple rounds only one big fan is left and plays directly against the celeb to answer questions about the famous person's life and times. On the debut ep the civvie won the ultimate showdown 5-4. Both my wife and I thought Matthew might have been purposely slow on the final question to give the civvie the win.

As you can probably guess, Big Fan is a long, long way from the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions. The show is mostly a hoot, as the departing fans get a photo of themselves with the celeb and some time on stage with the object of their devotion. But I still enjoyed the proceedings, especially when they created a faux movie poster of Matthew and the winning civvie.

Andy Richter hosted without too much snark. The director may have squashed him, and Andy kept his worst tendencies under control. The one questionable aspect was the sort of yucky super-fandom on display. But the show didn't go completely overboard on such undying devotion of civvie to celeb.

In fact, there was a nice moment when one of the fans, who has cystic fibrosis, said he couldn't agree more with Mr. McConaughey's advice to just keep livin'. After my own recent health scare, I'll definitely second that motion.

UPDATE: Big Fan's ratings were so-so to poor. The first ep got 3.6M viewers and a 1.0 18-49 rating, and the second ep got 2.7M viewers and a 0.7 18-49 rating. Not so hot.

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