At least my name isn’t Earl, I suppose.

I feel your pain.Now I know how the Geico Caveman feels.

One of my friends has been complaining that a Korean R&B singer has stolen her identity. I don’t know if one Korean singer is better or worse than an entire new series (warning: that link plays video).

The series, which I decree shall never again be mentioned on this site, is supposedly a “drama” about a “Computer geek by day. Government operative by night.” Here are excerpts from two descriptions, with the most egregious segments highlighted in bold:

Chuck Bartowski is just your average computer-whiz-next-door. He spends his days working for Buy-More with his band of nerdy cohorts, longing to find a woman who can appreciate him. But when an old friend, who happens to be a CIA agent, sends Chuck a mysterious encoded email, the world’s greatest spy secrets are embedded into his brain.
He never asked to become the government’s most powerful weapon, but the fate of the country suddenly lies in his unlikely hands. Hopefully, this won’t take away from his video game time! International terrorist plots, sexy spies and cold pizza – it’s all in a day’s work for our trusty hero…Chuck.

And from one of NBC’s press releases:

From executive producer, Josh Schwartz (“The O.C.”) and executive producer-director McG (“Charlie’s Angels,” “We Are Marshall”) comes a one-hour, comedic spy thriller about Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi, “Less Than Perfect”) – a computer geek who is catapulted into a new career as the government’s most vital secret agent. […] Instead of fighting computer viruses, he must fight assassins and international terrorists. With the government’s most precious secrets in Chuck’s head, Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin, “My Bodyguard”) of the NSA assumes the responsibility of protecting him. His partner is the CIA’s top agent (and Chuck’s first date in years) Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strzechowski, “Gone”). They’ll keep him safe by trading in his pocket protector for a bulletproof vest.

Haw! Nerdy computer guys are named Chuck and they can’t find a woman and they work at Best Buy and play videogames and wear pocket protectors! And hey look — it’s 1985 and that stuff is still funny!

I wouldn’t be bothered by the series appropriating my name if it could at least come up with something original. (Especially since they’re also releasing a US remake of the BBC series “The IT Crowd,” which manages to tell the same jokes, but cleverly). Is it really this easy to get a pitch picked up for TV these days? Maybe the atmosphere is exactly the right time to pitch my series about how lawyers are unethical, or how LA TV executives are vapid and unoriginal.

Until then, the only way to dispel the stereotype of computer geek shut-ins named Chuck is to complain about it on my blog.

On the other hand, the new Bionic Woman series (warning: more video, but better) looks pretty awesome. I almost feel bad for making fun of it before. Granted, it looks to be almost as heavy on the personal drama as I suspected. I expect lots of “they can repair my body, but they can’t fix the damage to my soul!” But it’s also got evil cyborg Starbuck, which makes it okay.

10 thoughts on “At least my name isn’t Earl, I suppose.”

  1. haha creator of the O.C. and director of charlies angels..thats going to be quality viewing.. bring back fortune hunter!!

  2. Well, while the concept of the show is pretty lame, I will admit to laughing at the clip with the ninja. But then again, I’m a sucker for slapstick.

    Also, the first season of “The O.C.” was one of the best teen TV dramas ever made, and I loved the first “Charlie’s Angels” movie….but I feel your pain about the name thing, Chuck.

    Agree “Bionic Woman” looks pretty great. But as a whole, the Fall season of shows announced so far by the various networks sound pretty pathetic. How about the CBS reality show about a bunch of kids who try to create a functional society in an abandoned ghost town?

    I’m a totally not kidding.

  3. That ninja scene gets double hate points from me: one for being slapstick, and two for destroying a perfectly good Mac Pro. (Unless it’s a G4, and then it’s okay).

    I’d never watch that ghost town show, but I’ve got to admire the retro quality of the concept. It sounds like a late 60s/early 70s TV show pitch, tough teens sticking it to the square adults. Kind of like the live-action, puppet-free shows that ran on Sid & Marty Krofft, or that pirate island show that ran on the Banana Splits.

    The series that has me most interested and most concerned is “The IT Crowd”. The original is hilarious. I’ve never seen the US version of “The Office,” but I’ve heard they did a decent job of porting it over. And it looks like not only is the guy who played Moss in the original playing the same part here, but they got the exec producer of the original to executive produce this one. But I hope they didn’t stop making the original, and I just like that cast better than the American version.

  4. Oh, I didn’t get that the ghost town thing was a reality show. Never mind. That’s gonna suck.

    But on the other hand, “How I Met Your Mother” is coming back. The websites had me afraid it was going to get dropped.

  5. Journeyman looks interesting..only because I’m a huge quantum leap fan so anything vaguely like that i’m gonna watch.. Also pushing daisies..kool concept

  6. Oh as for the IT crowd chuck..yeah they are filming season 2 of the uk series right now.. Father Ted and Black Books are other great graham linehan shows.. the problem i have with the US series is.. they are gonna make like a 24 episode season right? the whole concept is good for short 6 episode seasons for the UK..but stretching out that premise over so many episodes is always a worry..

  7. Glad to hear they’re still making the UK version. I love “Father Ted,” too, but I’d never heard of “Black Books.”

    The US version is going to be a mid-season replacement, so it’s probably not an entire 24 episodes; I’d guess 12 or less. And I had the opposite reaction to the UK version of “The IT Crowd”: I thought it was just starting to pick up, and everything was just starting to come together, at the end of the sixth episode. I would’ve loved to see more of it.

    The great thing about it, IMO, is that they didn’t just make it all about the premise. It started with the concept and then just went off into wackiness just marginally connected to IT. It ended up being as much about computer geeks as “Father Ted” is about Catholicism.

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