Thinking Man Reviews: Boss – Pilot

By Anthony Medina

**Be aware this review contains spoiler** 

Season 1 Episode 1

“Listen”

“You think this is easy?” – Mayor Tom Kane

The Specs

Originally Aired: October 21st 2011

Creator: Farhad Safinia

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Farhad Safinia

Channel: Starz

You may know him as Frasier or even Side Show Bob. But funny man Kelsey Grammar has put aside his wine glass and big floppy shoes to give us Tom Kane, the ruthless and powerful Mayor of Chicago. So if your looking for the usual good hearted high brow comedy we’ve come to expect from Mr. Grammar, look else where, because the Boss ain’t #$&*ing around.

The Rundown:

Personal

We open on Tom Kane, as he sits patiently listening to his doctor describe the rare neurological disorder that will take his mind and eventually his life. After hearing this disturbing news he calls his estranged daughter but it unable to reach her. As we delve further into his personal life we find that his marriage to Meredith Kane (Connie Nelson) is a sham, maintained only for appearances. Tom Kane has no one.

Politics

For reasons as yet unknown, Tom has turned on his political ally, Governor McCall Cullen, in favor of State Treasurer Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner). On the surface Zajac appears to be a family values, church going man who works in the interest of the people. However, we quickly learn that there are skeletons in his closet as he begins an affair with Kitty O’Neill (Kathleen Robertson), Tom’s political adviser.

City Business

When Native Art work is found in a construction site, a man named Moco takes it upon himself to report it to the local news. Unfortunately for him, this project has been in the works for 22 years and Mayor Tom Kane has been at the forefront for the expansion of the O’Hare International Airport. And now his plans are threatened by this act of show and tell. Tom calls a meeting with the Hispanic Council Member overseeing the project and delivers a devastating and terrifying speech chastising the man for this failure. The Councilor gets the message and vows to make amends. He does so by delivering the ears (yup actual human ears) of the man who spoke to the reporters. The Mayor attempts to deal with this issue by adding an amendment to a garbage bill that would give him sole authority over the archaeological artifacts. But he meets opposition and is unable to pass the bill.

Thoughts:

For those of you most familiar with Kelsey Grammar as Frasier, the lovable quirky therapist, you will be quickly relived of that sentiment as Tom Kane is a ruthless, corrupt and monstrous man whose sole aim is maintaining and augmenting his power. There is nothing likable about Tom Kane. Even his illness garners little sympathy as we see him abuse his position in ever self aggrandizing maneuvers. And yet we are left with the unassailable impression that Tom Kane is definitely an effective leader. And maybe even a good Mayor.

Farhad Safinia the creator of Boss and the writer of this episode strives to present a grittier, more realistic approach to politics by showing us the darker side of democracy. There are no good guys or even bad guys, just human beings each working to their own advantage. In the end this episode is highly entertaining and beckons the viewer to continue watching. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and go watch Boss, you won’t regret it.

Thinking Man Rating: 9/10

BOSS Showrunner Says He’s Worried About the Ratings

Maybe if he had one – just one – likeable character on the series and one – just one – moment of joy he wouldn’t have to worry because the ratings would take care of themselves.

Boss Creator “Heartbroken” Over Low Ratings: “I Hope We Get to Tell the Entire Story” – by Kate Stanhope

It’s no secret that Boss, despite its famous leading man and Golden Globe win, has been struggling in the ratings.

“I am completely aware of what the numbers are and I’m heartbroken,” creator and executive producer Farhad Safinia told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s fall preview sessions Thursday. “There are so many great things about the show that I feel it deserves a larger audience.

Boss was renewed for a second season even before the show debuted. The series premiered to 1.05 million viewers last October on Starz.

Safinia also believes it was the show’s low ratings that caused [series star Kelsey] Grammer’s Emmy snub. After winning a Golden Globe award in January for his performance, many awards show pundits predicted he would also snag an Emmy nomination. “Kelsey not getting nominated is a travesty. I just don’t understand it,” Safinia said. “The only explanation I can come up with is perhaps that people didn’t get to see it.”

Read it all

Aw, Farhad, don’t sweat it. Stick to your icky vision of politics and life. Be true to yourself, dood. If you live in a world without happiness, why betray it just to make your audience feel, you know, good?