If working in the music biz is such a dream job, why have there been so few TV shows set in the field? I can think of just two: the short-lived UPN hip-hop drama Platinum and the awful ’80s sitcom Throb, starring a pre-Frasier Jane Leeves. Maybe it’s because TV’s attempts to nail the concept of cool always turn out to be supremely uncool. Take Love Monkey, a new lite romantic comedy starring googly-faced Tom Cavanagh (star of the series Ed) as Tom Farrell, an indie-label a&r guy looking for love and a few good bands. The novel it’s based on was compared to High Fidelity, and some of that Hornby vibe comes through. Tom talks records with his buddies (including a bloated Jason Priestley), makes a mix CD for his pregnant sister to listen to while she’s in labor, and bemoans his girlfriend’s taste (she likes “vagina music” like Jewel).
Of course, Tom’s idea of hip is utterly square. He makes an idealistic speech about seeking power and originality over schlock then tries to woo Wayne, a marketable teen heartthrob played by Columbia Records’ latest product, Teddy Geiger. Instead of satirizing the hypocrisy of the rock world or exploring the inner workings of the decrepit music industry, Love Monkey pursues a retarded idea of rock ‘n’ roll authenticity, spouting earnest references to Dylan and the Chelsea Hotel at every turn. “You’re Wayne and we will try to keep your Wayneness,” Tom promises sincerely, damning Love Monkey to the crapper, another failed attempt to use rock as the backdrop for an insipid sitcom.