Major reviewers tear into Jay via Twitter. “Is it a bad sign that… I want to poke my eyes out?”
A number of major TV critics took to Twitter Monday night to review the first edition of "The Jay Leno Show" — and their initial assessments were pretty brutal.
On the positive tip for NBC: Jay Leno was in the top 10 trending topics on Twitter, an unscientific sign viewership for the premiere of the 10 p.m. comedy show won’t be awful.
But critics — most of whom, let’s face it, have never been big Leno fans — seemed largely uninspired by what they saw.
"’The Jay Leno Show’ is so hip. Hip replacement," snarked Matt Roush of TV Guide magazine. (His full review was even more biting).
The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal kept things local, comparing Leno’s bow to that of Bears QB Jay Cutler. (Cutler was savaged by local sports columnists).
"Jay Leno isn’t starting any worse in prime time than Jay Cutler did," Rosenthal tweeted about 15 minutes into the show.
A few minutes later, Rosenthal modified his assessment. "I may have been a bit quick to say Jay Leno no worse than Jay Cutler in NBC prime time debut," he wrote.
Ad buyer Shari Anne Brill of CARAT also seemed underwhelmed.
"Jay Leno’s new show came across a bit too safe and a bit too familiar," she tweeted.
Veteran reporter Jon Lafayette, who blogs for Multichannel News, was also less than blown away. "TV doesn’t seem revolutionized to me," he tweeted.
Time magazine’s James Poniewozik took an early shot at Leno’s new musical introduction. "What ’80s cop show was ‘The Jay Leno Show’s’ theme originally from?"
Poniewozik, who wrote Time’s recent cover story on Leno, said the new show seemed too familiar.
"NBC insisted ‘The Jay Leno Show’ was not another ‘Tonight’. So what show was my TiVo accidentally recording on NBC at 11:30 all those years?" the critic asked. (Full review here).
Aaron Barnhart of TVBarn.com implied Leno swiped a gag from David Letterman. "Jay is steal stealing from (Letterman)," he said. (His full review was much more generous).
Some critics were completely unforgiving when assessing Leno.
" ‘Leno’ " is unendurable," wrote Gail Pennington of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Is it over yet? Please?"
TV Guide’s Damian Holbrook was equally tough.
"I’ve seen Discovery Health documentaries that are funnier than ‘The Jay Leno Show,’" he tweeted, adding, "This is painful….It’s made of suck. Avoid at all costs."
Another TV Guide staffer, columnist Bruce Fretts, summed up his take thusly: "If ‘The Jay Leno Show’ is the future of TV, I wanna live in the past," he wrote.
Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times asked, "Is it a bad sign that I’m less than 20 minutes into the new Jay Leno show and I already want to poke my eyes out — or his?"
Not every critic completely hated on Leno. Variety TV editor Michael Schneider found some merit in the hour’s musical guests.
"Strong interview with Kanye," he wrote. "Talk with Seinfeld surprisingly awkward. JayZ/Rihanna great."
UPDATE: More reviews are in from national critics. They’re not pretty, either.