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Which Critic Can Say the Meanest Thing About ‘Viva Laughlin’?

Courtesy of CBS

Today is one of those wonderful days in the entertainment world when critics seemingly conspire to pile on some hapless TV show or movie, competing to skewer the poor victim as perfectly as possible. Which critics got off the bonnest mots about today’s train wreck, CBS’s Viva Laughlin? Let’s find out!

Alessandra Stanley sets the standard with the lede for her Times review this morning:

“Viva Laughlin” on CBS may well be the worst new show of the season, but is it the worst show in the history of television?

Can anyone beat that? Other reviewers swing wildly but can’t connect. “Don’t bet on this turkey surviving to Thanksgiving,” writes the Boston Herald’s Mark Perigard.

Newsday’s Diane Werts uses the old dictionary gambit: “Look up ‘TV train wreck’ in the dictionary from now on, and the definition will be this lifeless musical/drama mess.” (Although we did like the derisive “ha!” inserted amid the description of the show’s “permanent” slot in the schedule.)

“Can something be both stale and half-baked?” asks the L.A. Times’ Robert Lloyd. Nice try, Robert, but you could certainly be a lot meaner.

In the end, only one critic approaches Stanley’s standard, and it’s through dry wit rather than Stanley’s bald dismissal. Describing star Lloyd Owen’s opening musical number, sung to “Viva Las Vegas,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Joanne Weintraub writes, “He jumps up on a table way too soon in the game, leaving you with the suspicion that there’s a lot more table-jumping where that came from.” Glumly, she adds, “And there is, there is.” Well played, Joanne Weintraub!

Which Critic Can Say the Meanest Thing About ‘Viva Laughlin’?