"John From Cincinnati" canceled: Sigh of relief?

Jfc_lHBO canceled John From Cincinnati, that dark, strange surfing-drama-starring-Rebecca-de Mornay  you probably never had the energy to stick with. (I didn’t. I don’t think this makes me a bad person. There was always On Demand if I changed my mind…)

JFC caused a bit of a stir at EW.com. Ken Tucker gave the show an A- right off the bat, while Michael Slezak didn’t care for the first ep. A few weeks later, Samantha Harmon decided to perform a spirited cheerleading routine for the show, and that’s when I noticed a lot of the commenters who still watched  had a similar sense of I’m-still-suffering-through-this pride. Ed wrote, "I hate everything about the show… but I’m sickly drawn to it. It’s like a bad dream you wake up from that you just have to replay in your mind in order to remember how horrible it was!" Ha! Sounds awesome! Paige agreed: "I watch every episode but it just doesn’t stick… nobody is likable, everyone is screaming or babbling nonsense, characters appear for no reason whatsoever and worse, I just don’t care… so why do I watch? ‘Cause I’m a TV junkie and it’s hard for me to let go." Owen went so far as to say, "We John lovers know something the haters don’t. And somehow, I believe, we are better people."

That’s pretty funny. And even though I didn’t watch John, I remember feeling the same sort of reluctant-yet-hardcore love for The Comeback when it was still on. That show frustrated me a bit when I made it appointment television, but now that I own the DVDs and can bask in the genius of it all at my leisure (and walk around the office with Slezak holding long, shouted conversations consisting only of Comeback quotes), not one of the episodes ever gets old. So John fans, was the show rewarding enough to want to watch them all over again? Because based on what I’ve gathered, it seems even JFC‘s most loyal hangers-on might be breathing a secret sigh of relief.

What hope is there for strange, nonlinear, borderline-unwatchable shows like this one?

P.S. This was my favorite comment on any of the JFC Popwatch posts, from Chloe: "ALSO, just to add a fact to this, San Diego is the meth capital. So all the characters DO IN FACT MAKE SENSE." If you say so!

addCredit(“John P. Johnson”)


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  • Lora

    Actually, SD is no longer the meth capital of the world. I think it’s now Philly or something.
    I watched every episode of JFC, really hoping at some point it would all make sense and my 10 hours of devotion would pay off. It never did. I still have no idea what it’s all about…and I don’t think it means it’s too “deep” for me…the one other person I know who watched the show felt pretty much the same way. If your audience doesn’t understand what you are trying to say/do, haven’t you kinda failed as an artist…

  • Arnold

    Cincinnati, not Cincinnatti.

  • Terri

    Personally, I loved the show. I have been a little obsessed with it, so maybe my family is breathing a sigh of relief. But I’ve really enjoyed watching the episodes over and over, and got more out of them each time.
    I don’t think this makes me a better person, or a sucker, either. It just captured my imagination, and my heart. I look forward to getting obsessed again when the DVDs come out. It’s been an interesting experience, and a perfect summer diversion.

  • Joe in Philly

    Philly is the murder capital, not the meth capital (that I know of).
    Amusing quote: “What hope is there for strange, nonlinear, borderline-unwatchable shows like this one?” Because being borderline-unwatchable is such a good quality in a TV show!

  • bo

    It’s really a shame that people can’t appreciate television that tries to do something different, instead bemoaning the lack of a “payoff” or “answers,” or decrying it as “boring” and/or “pretentious.” JFC was far from perfect, but I thought it was a noble, dense, and yes, more often than not, entertaining experiment. It’s almost as if David Lynch had found God and decided to return to television to tell us about it — and yes, that’s a good thing. Also, those who were looking for “answers” really should have read Steve Hawk’s episode analysis on HBO.com after each episode aired; I really think it would have made a difference. I was looking forward to seeing where the show was headed. Oh, well. Oh, and they’d BET NOT cancel Flight of the Conchords…

  • V.M.L.

    Lora is right, SD isn’t the meth capital. I know this because I am a San Diegan myself. In fact, very few people here do meth.

  • Brad in Edmonton

    So then, what’s the status with those Deadwood movies we were promised? Does this free up Milch to work on something that actually worked?

  • Ed

    Whoo-hoo! thanks for the shout out Annie!
    I gave up on this show after the episode entitled “His visit – the second day.” Sunday night is a time to unwind. In order to understand the dialogue, I would have to rewind and rewatch the show several times.
    I have a theory about HBO. When a show becomes successful and finally signs off, HBO gives everyone involved in the show some type of 2-show deal. I think HBO already knows that those deals are D.O.A. As an example, The Comeback and Michael Patrick King, green lit after Sex and the City finished. The show was great but didn’t even get a chance. We’ll see how my theory goes when the cast of The Sapranoes starts to make their own shows.

  • Cliff

    Good riddance. It’s not TV, it’s HBO. Luckily, for the rest of us, it’s not TV, it’s not HBO, it’s Showtime, and Weeds just came back.

  • Deadwood Fan

    When the characters in the show do completely bizarre things but there is no explanation why, it throws me off track.
    Everyone was seized by this odd compulsion to stand outside Shaunie’s house for hours after his neck injury/miracle healing. They can’t see anything, theres not much to do, but darnit, standing around for hours like that makes SO MUCH SENSE!
    Wait, no… that made no sense at all. What in the world am I watching?!?!

  • Deadwood Fan

    You know, I’m seized by this incredible compulsion to bring some tea. I know you’re not letting anyone in your place to see Shaunie, but the mere fact that I bring tea will make you let me in.
    No?
    Oh well. Just another odd compulsion for the day.

  • shazzy

    Yep, despite my preliminary excitement due to my love of both surfing and HBO, I could never get into JFC. And regarding the EW critic Ken Tucker, yes it doesn’t surprise he shanked his review of JFC, another EW reviewer Gillian Flynn gave the fantastic Meadowlands a C. A complete and comprehensive distrust in anything EW’s TV critics have to say. Pathetic.

  • Jim

    I watched every episode. I couldn’t stop watching it. And I can only say one thing with full confidence about this show: I watched every episode.

  • Coach’s Mistress

    I, too, watched every ep and “suffered through it” even tho I’ve never done this with any other show. I never knew what was going on, and I would read the synopsis on hbo.com for insight…nothing ever made sense. But for some strange reason I’m a little bummed out that it was cancelled…I guess I was hoping for something more??? But, at the same time I am relieved. none of this makes sense, I know…blame the show.

  • Matt

    Another August, another inevitable HBO freshman summer-season cancellation. Can they just bring back The Comeback yet and be done with it all. JFC and Lucky Louie will never have the die-hard, fervent cult us Comeback fans have (even if we are a small bunch.)
    Hey Annie, can I come do Comeback quotes with you and Slezak? I already do them around everyone I know, it’s just that no one ever picks up on them.

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