Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Exfanding Review: Comic Book Men
So the mid-season premiere of Walking Dead and the premiere of the new reality series, Comic Book Men, have both come and gone.
Walking Dead absolutely (excuse the pun) killed it, ratings-wise, raking in over 8 million viewers on a night that was dominated by the Grammy Awards (which pulled in close to 40 million viewers). For its part, Comic Book Men did quite well following the zombie phenomenon Sunday night with 2 million viewers.
Reviews of the show, however, have been a mixed bag.
That’s to be expected, I’d say, and while I really enjoyed watching the series premiere and I liked the format of the show, there were times when the action dragged a bit.
But as an introductory episode to a new show, I think Sunday night’s premiere served the series well and I think the show is going to pick up from there.
Part Pawn Stars and part Clerks, Comic Book Men is, admittedly, exactly my kind of thing. So I’m biased, and while I can understand some of the critiques I’ve read (“there are no likeable characters”; “it propagates the ‘comic book guy’ stereotype”), I knew what to expect going in.
The guys on the show are funny, and a lot of their humor revolves around making fun of each other—they’re close friends, and, frankly, that’s what close friends do.
In that sense, Comic Book Men is one of the most “real” of the reality shows on TV—you get the feeling that these guys act this way towards each other with or without the cameras running. And, sure, some of the insults can seem mean-spirited, but if you listen to any of the multitude of View Askew podcasts out there, you’ll know that these guys are actually good friends and they spend a lot of time together.
The biggest surprise for me, actually, was just how much they focused on comic books—I honestly thought the store and the comics would be an afterthought, but in the first episode at least, that stuff was right up front in flashing lights.
So much so, in fact, that I’m not sure how much of a mainstream audience this show can bring in.
I applaud the show for going this route, though, and I will definitely be back for next week's episode.