Rebel Yells, But You’re Likely to Yawn in Response
- Rebel. ABC. Thursday, April 8, 10 p.m.
- Home Economics. ABC. Wednesday, April 7, 8:30 p.m.
Disney holds monthly search-and-destroy meetings to root out the apparently endless amount of racist material in its old movies. If only the company could make a fraction of that effort to eliminate the brain-dead drivel in its captive ABC network, TV critics could all whistle while we worked instead of putting lit cigarettes out in our eyes, which I’m sure will take a major uptick in the CDC statistics after this week’s screeners get around.
Not since the U.S. Army Air Force and the RAF last visited Dresden have two such fearsome bombs exploded at the same time as ABC’s Rebel and Home Economics, and there aren’t even any Nazis around to blame it on.
Like Dresden, Rebel has an awesome mortality rate, the most tragic fatality being the career of Katey Sagal. Sagal is an astonishingly versatile actress, hopping between eccentric dramatic roles—a homicidal motorcycle hoochie in Sons of Anarchy, a 14th-century Welsh witch in The Bastard Executioner—with astounding power. And she started it all by brilliantly reworking (or maybe bitch-slapping) the smiley-faced June Cleaver/Harriet Nelson suburban housewife archetype with her gloriously deviant portrayal of the slothful (“the laziest bitch in Chicago,” as she bragged in one episode) and promiscuous Peggy Bundy in the sitcom lampoon Married…With Children.
But in Rebel, Sagal is trying to animate a character whose bellicosity and smug populism obliterate everything around her, including plot, characterization, and credibility. That’s Rebel Bello, a
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