Thursday, August 17, 2006

Complete and Utter Confusion...

USA Today reports on desperate networks looking for the next big thing in tv comedy... networks that admit even themselves that they have no idea. Multi-camera studio show? Single camera dramedy? Laughtrack? No laughtrack? Nobody seems to know...

And to further complicate matters, networks must be too aware that the only tv comedies getting any buzz these days are series like 'Weeds', 'The Office', 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', 'My Name Is Earl', 'Family Guy', 'The Daily Show' and 'Colbert', 'Scrubs' (sort of), 'Arrested Development' (yes cancelled but there was buzz), 'Entourage' (if it's even considered a comedy), It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'(barely a buzz)...

And look at that list --- not a conventional 'sit-com' in the bunch. And even with their perceived notoriety, none of these shows are doing big business in the ratings game. Which must make them fairly difficult to invest in from a network standpoint.

Sorry for not mentioning 'Two And a Half Men' and 'According to Jim' --- because even though I know they do respectable ratings, the other prerequisite was that the shows are actually funny...
Think about it:'Rosanne', 'Seinfeld', 'Cosby', 'Raymond', 'Cheers', 'Friends', 'Simpsons', even 'Frasier' and 'Home Improvement'...all did HUGE numbers each week once they hit their stride. And, by and large, they were all pretty funny.

If you asked me today to pick a direction in comedy television that would guarantee a network some sort of big hit, I'd be hard pressed for an answer. Not that any network is asking...but I'd still be hard pressed.



SONG & ARTIST? - "So no one told you life was going to be this way.
Your job's a joke, you're broke, you're love life's DOA.
It's like you're always stuck in second gear,
It hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, but..."

10 comments:

Heart Of Darkness said...

The song? Rembrants, "I'll be there for you" - Friends theme.

What makes something make it big on TV? I'm curious. No standard sheet to fill in, force-feed into the computer and watch it spit out a success, is there?

What's better - old school sitcom, or off-the-wall crazy/strange comic shows? And what's the next big thing?

Oh, and BTW - how's that BoFlex commercial coming along? Anywhere online where you can download it? :D

Love
"Missy"

Crashdummie said...

Friends was wicked - well in the beginning anyway. After some seasons it became to hollywoodized & the character lost their quirkiness & charm.

The new big thing? Dunno... I just know that some shows you just wanna kill brytaly - Like "Bold & the Beautiful" & "Days of our lives" (hasn't it been airing since 1968 or something?)

R.I.P!

Chopped Nuts said...

Well, they may not be comedy (or are they?), but what about the other shows you pitched a while back? Any updates? We need another one of us with a mark in the win column, since I figure it's only a matter of time before McG starts pretending he doesn't know us.

All right, he doesn't actually know us, but maybe he'll make his blog a VIP list-only access.

wcdixon said...

Easy song - Heart gets it.

That's the neverending quest, for the next big thing in tv. And though off the wall/quirky seems to be more 'in' right now, they tend to burn out after a season or two. And nets want the 8-10 year success of the old schoolish sitcom.

So is there a hybrid out there?

Chopped: read a post one or two back - I'm still in Saigon...

Mystery Man said...

I'm old school sitcom. Hilarious scripts that deliver the comedy goods and great performances in front of studio audiences. I just want to laugh. I don't need multiple cameras and gimmicks to do it.

-MM

Matt said...

It might be because I'm a TV snob, but ever since I started watching shows like Arrested Development or The Office, I find it much harder to laugh at multi-camera shows with laugh tracks. I just can't help but notice the artificiality inherent in the format - the half-sets, the perfectly staged movement, etc. When I try to imagine any of the Characters or situations from Arrested Development in multi-camera format, it suddenly seems less funny.

It seems the only way I can enjoy multi-camera shows is if I'm watching them for nostalgic purposes. Although part of me wonders if that's due to my youthful ignorance of format, or because older multi-camera shows really WERE funnier.

wcdixon said...

So - have we learned anything here? It seems it's about what is making people laugh right now, and those shows aren't inherently going to draw big ratings. So there you go....booomph, moving on.

Heart Of Darkness said...

People laugh at others getting hurt... how about a show about the "other side", the mean kids, the thieves, the people that live on stealing from others... just with a fun spin? How about a lawyer getting kicked out, blacklised (for helping somebody instead of stealing money, for instance in a hostile taekover), and then, not being able to find another job, he tries on a career as small time crook? Not that far a step for a lawyer, really... see him start with petty theft, purse snatching (and getting his ass kicked by a little old lady who wont let go of her purse) and then develop, slowly, painfully, comicly into a real criminal... a really dumb criminal!

Would that make it?

Jutratest said...

I think the next hit comedy will be a hit because it will be fresh and funny, with characters that people love coming back to.

Sounds so simple doesn't it?

wcdixon said...

Hart: a comedy about small time crooks...something to chew on...

Jutra: you know the more I ponder this, I really think you might be onto something...