NEW YORK – It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.
It's hard to imagine that on the same station on the same night you'll have, er, joy and definitely hate -- for five whole weeks -- beginning Sunday night.
Let's start with the worst of times -- and perhaps the worst that TV is capable of. It's called the The Last Resort and it feels like it in more ways than one.
The premise is that four miserably married couples are given a Hawaiian vacation for one week where they are supposed to either make-up or break-up -- with the help of low rent "experts" who act like they are out of work corporate motivators.
Stuff like: "Punch the pillow and express your rage." I have a better idea -- punch the remote and wipe these mediocre miseries out of your life.
The couples aren't smart, they aren't interesting, they aren't anything but whining bores. In fact, they are so dull-witted that they believe they can get instant answers with psycho-babble bull from the dopey experts. In the words of Sigmund Freud, "oy veh!"
Typical moment: Fatso wife says to the "confession camera," "People think we're the perfect family -- we have the mini van and the white picket fence." Perfect? It sounds like a 1950's nightmare. BORING.
The whole show makes you feel like you've gotten stuck on vacation with your friends who always fight and belittle each other. After 10 minutes you either want to kill either them or yourself.
There is no depth to this show. And these days, there's no depths to which the TV "real" guests won't sink to be famous for two minutes. (Although I can't imagine any viewers will last that long.)
Hard to believe but immediately following this train wreck comes Love, Hate & Joy, a show so smart it makes the one before it even more incomprehensibly reprehensible.
It's the only time I've ever understood why some people are famous and some end up on reality shows. It's because some people are funny, smart and NOT DULL.
The hilarious Joy Behar is host of this show where each night she talks to just one smart celeb on the subjects of dating, marriage, sex, divorce. Over five nights, she's got Jeanne Garofalo, Gene Simmons, Al Franken, George Hamilton and Whoopi Goldberg.
This is perhaps the only talk show I've seen in a decade where the guests are allowed to express their opinions about a subject instead of desperately attempting to plug a movie, CD, book or TV show.
They just talk -- brilliantly and often hilariously -- about love, dating and what they lead to. Behar, as funny as she is, steps backs and lets her guests -- and the audience -- become the stars.
I went to a taping of the show where Garofalo was the guest. She is brilliant, funny, articulate and doesn't feel the need to pop on some fake boobs just to make herself feel relevant. (And yes, she's straight, despite rumors that anyone who doesn't glam up has to be gay.)
And Joy is pure joy.
So is the show.