My Own Worst Enemy
NBC, Mondays at 10 p.m.
1 out of 5 stars
NBC’s new so-called action series “My Own Worst Enemy” is one of the worst things to happen to television in a long time. It’s possibly the most emotionless, unexciting and over-baked action drama to ever hit the small screen.
This is the story of a man with split personalities, played morosely by Christian Slater (“Alone in the Dark”). One of these personalities is Edward Albright, a James Bond-like super spy with a thing for exotic women and making trouble. The other, Henry Spivey, is a genial office worker who loves his wife and kids. Both personalities have one important thing in common: They’re both complete assholes. Because of this, when Slater’s character begins to switch between personas at the wrong times, it’s nearly impossible for the audience to distinguish the two. In fact, the personalities are so similar that Spivey’s wife gets a little more than she bargained for during a passionate night at home with Albright, which leaves her swooning until the next morning.
Albright’s spy missions are straight out of a corny children’s movie, full of unnecessary code words and strange first names. The super spy’s mission for the pilot episode is to acquire a briefcase with “the marbles” from a man named Uzi (Mark Ivanir, “Get Smart”) while reporting to his boss, Mavis (Alfre Woodard, “The Family That Preys”). Things get complicated as Albright switches back to the meek office cog Spivey while holding a sniper rifle. For whatever reason, Spivey continues to point the sniper rifle out the window and accidentally fires on the targets. The show is riddled with completely unrealistic decisions made by equally unbelievable characters.
The show tries to be funny, but it fails. The writers rely far too much on the premise of the show, employing such witticisms as “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m a split personality and so am I.” They couldn’t even get one split-personality joke right, so it’s a mystery why they decided to go for several in a single episode. The funniest thing about the show is seeing Albright get his ass saved by actor Mike O’Malley, the unfunny slob from “Yes, Dear.” O’Malley plays another character with two personalities, Tom and Raymond, who are — against all odds — actually different from one another.
Shockingly, there are one or two cool moments in the show. Albright leaves videos for Spivey to find in his home, allowing them to team up against the evil Uzi. While this did set up a pretty bad-ass explosion in the pilot episode, it basically counteracts what little coolness there was to the whole split personality deal. Also, these eight or nine minutes of solid action are so drastically overwhelmed by all the other crap that they might as well not exist.
The show closes on an entertaining note, as Spivey tells his debonair alter ego, “There is an incredible difference between driving somebody’s car and driving somebody’s wife.” However, the few seconds of tolerable television presented in “My Own Worst Enemy” can do nothing to compensate for the poorly written, derivative drivel that makes up the vast majority of the show.