Television Listings

Ex-Disney chief's series proves desperately unfunny

 Michael Eisner, former chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co. attends ceremonies honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with Disney character Mickey Mouse in Hollywood April 25, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files - Reuters
Michael Eisner, former chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co. attends ceremonies honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with Disney character Mickey Mouse in Hollywood April 25, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files
— image credit: Reuters

By Randee Dawn

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - In the press notes for Nick at Nite's new series "Glenn Martin, DDS," there's a quote from executive producer Michael Eisner, who says the series "re-envisions the classic family sitcom" and "delivers humor in a mature, sophisticated manner." But the former head of Disney must have been talking about another show.

"Martin" ain't no modern "Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," and the only universe in which "sophisticated" could be said to apply to it would be the one in which Judd Apatow is U.S. poet laureate.

"Martin" looks different from other sitcoms: It's stop-motion animation, and that allows for vibrant colors and textures. Still, in this era of claymation and Nick Park, the series' lack of fluidity calls to mind "Davey and Goliath" rather than "Wallace and Gromit."

Beyond that, it's utterly conventional. Martin, his wife and their two children (as well as his daughter's personal assistant) have hit the road in an RV and are having wacky adventures. Oh, and they've brought their -- um -- well-endowed (in the anus department) dog, K-9. Seriously. Just imagine the animator whose life's work has boiled down to re-creating a dog's oversized exit portal, and you get the sense of desperation that wafts off the entire series.

Martin and company are on the road after their house burns down and, in the premiere, endure challenges including frustration with the children's addiction to technology, loss of car keys and the enigmatic Amish. There also is an uncalled-for characterization of Sarah Jessica Parker as a horse. What did she do to deserve this? Who did the Amish piss off?

But ignore the stilted jokes, the limp characterization, the complete lack of "re-imagining" of anything. Just understand this: "Martin" is an animated show with a laugh track. Imagination comes in handy, though, in trying to figure out how someone approved this concept, labored on this and then let it free into the world. Mr. Eisner, really. This is how you wanted to bring Tornante Animation into the world? You should know better. What would Mickey say?

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