A new trend has developed on television involving a look back at our better days, when we were young and innocent and life was basically hell. From the WB”s now defunct “Popular” to old school “90210” (the “Brenda” episodes),” high school has become “the” setting for any truly interesting and moneymaking teen show. Once again, the NBC network higher-ups have decided to stay true to form and pull out from their replacement recesses “Go Fish,” a truly unremarkable teen comedy set around a freshmen as he embarks on his tumultuous journey through high school.
“Go Fish” centers on Andy “Fish” Troutner (Kieran Culkin, Mac”s little bro), a freshman with a three-point, foolproof plan for high school popularity. Of course, being as this is supposedly a “comedy,” Fish”s plan is thrown out of whack on his very first day, mostly due to his awkward but eccentric best buds, Hazard and Krack. Not only is his plan ruined by an unfashionable and lame attempt at sexual humor a la “American Pie,” but the girl of his dreams, Jess (a beautiful sophomore) definitely doesn”t associate Fish with any impressive connotations.
Making the best of a bad situation, Fish listens to the advice from his older brother Pete (Will Friedle, “Boy Meets World”), who once was the king of the school and has now returned to become one of its oppressive yet clearly uninterested faculty. After having a rollercoaster of a day himself trying to make his students like him, he spouts off a long-winded story to Fish that ended with, “the moral of the story is: Don”t give up “cuz Swedish girls might have sex with you.” Of course you probably don”t get that now it didn”t make sense then either.
“Go Fish” has some high points, mostly in the wonderful ensemble that the producers have brought together which includes Andy Dick. He plays ironically enough a drama teacher. Fish”s friend Krack (Kyle Sabihy, “Analyze This”) is too good for this show, relegated to a sidekick who only gets screen time when he”s trying to prove that he”s smarter than all of his teachers combined.
It comes as no surprise that “Go Fish” was created from the likes of Adam Herz whom we all at the University remember as “that guy who made “American Pie.”” Guess he has a thing for high school. Unfortunately, this high school is too fantastical and ripe with drivel. Friedle”s Pete is basically an “older” version of his former character, Eric, from “Boy Meets World.” Culkin seems to try really hard to turn the blandness of the script into a work of art, but definitely falls short in the execution.
Like Fish, “Go Fish” means well and only wants to be popular. What is really irritating is that NBC had a wonderful and critically acclaimed “high school” dramedy in “Freaks & Geeks.” But as most of us who adored the show know, ratings are the be all and end all for television. Thus, the moral of the story is: Watching “Go Fish” isn”t going to lead to sex with Swedish girls if your lucky it might lead to another nauseating rendition of high school hell.