Even if Sean Saves the World wasn’t a show that seems to have forgotten about all comedies of the last twenty years with the hope of succeeding with material that would probably seem dated in the ’90s, it would still be an awful show. What makes it truly awful is the main premise of the show is that Sean is gay, and that is the joke.
I’ve never understood the comedy concept that what a person is or what they like or who they are is worth laughing at. It’s the same reason I can’t stand The Big Bang Theory, where many of the punchlines focus around what four “nerds” enjoy. That’s not funny; that’s lazy writing. You’re basically laughing at what makes that person who they are, and that’s just cruel.
The gay character on television has evolved far beyond a person being flamboyant for comedy’s sake. Take for instance the carefully handled sexuality of characters on a show like Orange Is the New Black, like Sophia, a transgender woman still coping with change, or Happy Endings, where Adam Pally’s Max Blum subverted almost every stereotype inherent in the television gay friend.
But like I said, Sean Saves the World likes to forget about the recent history of TV. The dream of the ’90s is alive in Sean Saves the World, and that’s a terrible thing. Much to the detriment of the show, Sean has been the most difficult character to watch, as Sean Hayes is so far over the top, he distracts negatively from the rest of the show. But “Sean the Fabulous” decides that what Sean Saves the World truly needs is to be even more distracting, more frustrating and even more of a negative stereotype.
In “Sean the Fabulous,” Sean wants to become the parent responsible for a fundraising event happening at his daughter’s school. When he gets there, he has to follow Jason, a father who is just too fabulous for Sean to compete with. So to take down Jason, Sean tries to be more fabulous than Jason. So while Sean has been at 11 in this series, now he’s at a 20 and the knob is sparking. He’s so dangerously close to his Jack McFarland character from Will & Grace, I wouldn’t have been surprised if his pent up fabulousness caused his head to explode.
In the land of more interesting minor characters, Liz and Hunter have become roommates, and now they both want to sleep together. Sean tells them both it’s a bad idea, because yeah, something interesting that goes beyond one episode would be terrible, Sean. Then you have Max being weird, having relationship problems and creating the only genuinely funny moments of the show, as usual.
Then all these plots just sort of stop. They each have very unfulfilling conclusions, almost like the writing staff (or monkey locked in a room with a typewriter, or whatever) decided this episode would be fine with just a first act and the slightest beginning of a second. Sean Saves the World has been able to pull its disparate plots together before, but they’re not even trying here.
Frankly, it’s been less that 24 hours since I’ve watched the episode, and my brain is already trying to push it out of my consciousness. I keep thinking it had some funny plot points, but then I keep remembering what I’m truly thinking of is the final episode of The IT Crowd, which I watched prior and whose opening credits are better than anything Sean Saves the World has ever done. I guess this is just my brain trying to cope with trauma.