The Success of Bad Sitcoms and the Failure of Great Ones

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The Success of Bad Sitcoms and the Failure of Great Ones

Postby The Colonel on Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:21 am

Arrested can't buy good ratings, yet Jim Belushi and Yes Dear dominate? Why?!

Here's a Theory:

http://www.intrepidmedia.com/column.asp?id=2431
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:19 am

WHich Coen Brothers film is My Name is Earl ripping off? Raising Arizona simply because it features "hicks"?
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Postby DerLanghaarige on Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:22 am

Jim Belushi was in Blues Brothers 2000?
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Postby The Colonel on Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:43 am

FYI, I didn't write the article, someone I know did, and I will call him out on the Blues Brothers thing. Whoops!

As for the Coen thing, not sure, but I assumed he meant Raising Arizona, not because of the "hick" thing but more likely because of the tone of the show. Goofy, whimsical criminality and stuff. Kind of off the wall. I don't watch the show but 've seen the comparison mentioned elsewhere.
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Postby Theta on Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:53 am

Bad sitcoms are popular because people like mediocrity and don't like to think. If they think too hard, they realize they hate their lives. Also, you'd be surprised how many of these sitcoms actually represent many suburban families.
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Postby The Colonel on Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:13 pm

I agree on all counts, and so does the person who wrote the article. People want to see familiar, banal shows rather than something a bit more off-the-wall and outlandish. And they certainly don't want to have topay attention across multiple episodes to catch jokes about Boy Fights and MotherBoy.
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Postby MiltonWaddams on Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:19 pm

the humor is puerile, repetitive, unoriginal, and bland

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Postby jgraphix on Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:20 pm

heh..you said banal
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Postby so sorry on Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:30 pm

Its hard for 'us' (the internet saavy, psudo-intellectual people) to comprehend that WE are the minority in this situation. The VAST majority of this country doesn't sit in front of a computer and bitch about why Scrubs doesn't get any ratings... if they don't 'get' a show, they move on.

If the rating show that Arrested Development isn't popular, then guess what? IT ISN'T POPULAR! No matter how many threads, blogs, or "Save Show X" petitions are started, or Golden Globes or Critically Acclaimed awards they get...
The safe sitcoms will always be picked up because they are just that, safe. The networks make money off them, and thats what counts....

don't be mad at middle america for liking According to Jim over My Name is Earl. be mad at the networks for dumping the critically acclaimed shows (but don't expect anything to happen).
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Postby jgraphix on Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:31 pm

Well I'm mad at middle america because they are lazy, hapless and stupid people.
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Postby so sorry on Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:46 pm

you know what? i consider myself a fairly intelligent middle american, and i can't get into Scrubs or arrested developnment, and quite frankly i think My Name is Earl ain't the greatest thing since sliced bread either!
so don't be hatin' on me!

(although i am a bit lazy...)
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Postby Doc Holliday on Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:56 pm

Chairman Kaga wrote:WHich Coen Brothers film is My Name is Earl ripping off? Raising Arizona simply because it features "hicks"?


Exactly. I hate reviewers who are so dubious over their own convictions that they don't qualify their comments for fear of being taken to task on it.

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Postby Doc Holliday on Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:58 pm

The Colonel wrote:I agree on all counts, and so does the person who wrote the article. People want to see familiar, banal shows rather than something a bit more off-the-wall and outlandish. And they certainly don't want to have topay attention across multiple episodes to catch jokes about Boy Fights and MotherBoy.


The higher purpose of your friends article, however, is spot on the mark sir.

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Postby Doc Holliday on Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:02 pm

so sorry wrote:Its hard for 'us' (the internet saavy, psudo-intellectual people) to comprehend that WE are the minority in this situation. The VAST majority of this country doesn't sit in front of a computer and bitch about why Scrubs doesn't get any ratings... if they don't 'get' a show, they move on.



True - you know, I feel for the creators of Scrubs a bit - it generally gets overlooked - though is getting some kudos this year, finally. It is SO hard to mix drama with comedy in their prescribed formats.

The drama is invariably around a patient being deperately ill or dying and the comedy is pratfalls, sound effects and largely physical humour and exaggerated stereotypes. These shouldn't complement one another at all by conventional wisdom. Throw in the melodrama of the 6 main characters personal lives and it really really is quite an accomplishment on the creators part - and thats without mentioning the what, six now? tiny characters (Ted, Janitor et al) who somehow have been fleshed out with two lines in an episode, one episode out of every two that are screened.

There were a MILLION ways Scrubs could've sucked.

And it all fits into what, 24 minutes? dudes...that is soooo hard to pull off once, let alone over twenty times a year for five years...Kudos Scrubs!
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Postby Ribbons on Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:05 pm

I think it's kind of ridiculous for this guy to imply that Arrested Development has somehow been on a short leash. It's been given chance after chance to attract viewers and it just hasn't. Not saying the show is bad, it's not, but this isn't the network's fault.
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Postby Petri on Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:05 pm

jgraphix wrote:Well I'm mad at middle america because they are lazy, hapless and stupid people.


I think I live in Middle America (does Houston count), and think Scrubs is the funniest show on TV. My Name is Earl is great too. However, at the end of the day, 24 owns my ass.
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Postby MiltonWaddams on Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:06 pm

here's the condensed version:

mediocre safe shows will always succeed because people don't care or want to think. breaking news, hard hitting article.

why do you think leno is so popular?
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Postby Doc Holliday on Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:24 pm

MiltonWaddams wrote:here's the condensed version:

mediocre safe shows will always succeed because people don't care or want to think. breaking news, hard hitting article.

why do you think leno is so popular?


Because he did a deal with the devil. I've thought it out and its the only explanation that makes sense.
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Postby RogueScribner on Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:57 pm

Think what you will about Fox, but they tried their best to find AD an audience. Any other network probably would have axed it after S1.
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Postby Bean on Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:25 pm

Was AD even that great? I caught an episode or two and remember hating it (especially because of that shit-awful camera work).
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Postby The Vicar on Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:29 pm

Doc Holliday wrote:
MiltonWaddams wrote:here's the condensed version:

mediocre safe shows will always succeed because people don't care or want to think. breaking news, hard hitting article.

why do you think leno is so popular?


Because he did a deal with the devil. I've thought it out and its the only explanation that makes sense.


Jay Leno is popular? WTF?

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Postby Bean on Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:55 pm

Leno sucks, I can't wait for Conan to replace him.
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Postby CthulhuKid on Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:52 pm

Bean Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:25 pm Post subject:

-------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------

Was AD even that great? I caught an episode or two and remember hating it (especially because of that shit-awful camera work).


Well, that's a matter of opinion, isn't it? I, personally, think AD is an amazing show (the shitty camera work meant to emulate the crap-packed Reality TV we're bombarded with). I also hated Seinfeld, which I would assume most people would call "that great."

Seinfeld was not a critical or financial success until it's second or third seaon either, was it?

What's killing AD is it's cost per episode. The rating aren't that bad compared to other Fox sitcoms, but no other Fox sitcom commands $1.5 million per episode while only bringing in a third of that.

Maybe Joss Wheadon can get it made into a movie... :-)
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Postby Kilgore on Tue Jan 17, 2006 7:06 pm

And for the sake of argument, Fox tends to give things a hell of a longer leash and 'time to find an audience' than the big 3. And I refuse to bring UPN or The WB into the discussion until either one can put on a whole two night's worth of good programming in a row.

No other network would have even given a flyer to 'The Simpsons' when it started, nor, for that matter, kept 'Futurama' on as long as they did (though they never did market that right)...for that matter, 'X-Files' wasn't a blockbuster out of the gate either, so credit to them for hanging on as much as possible, more frequently than others.

I've watched a couple 'Arrested's, and thought it was okay...could see why it got the critical acclaim and the fervent fanbase it does have, but I personally didn't think it was all that spectacular. I know a lot will argue that, but it's just an opinion...is it better than 'Still Standing', 'According to Jim' 'Jake in Progress- (good lord, who said 'We Need More Stamos!') and fistfulls of other plain-mashed-potato-spicy shows...you bet. But other promising shows like 'Action' or 'Get a Life' have slipped through before and will continue to due to the fact they are left of center...
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Postby The Vicar on Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:53 am

Kilgore wrote:And for the sake of argument, Fox tends to give things a hell of a longer leash and 'time to find an audience' than the big .


Except when it came to Firefly. Bastards.
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Postby Agent Alonzo on Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:43 am

Does anyone even know anyone who has ever watched an episode of According to Jim... I sometimes wonder how the selection process for Nielson boxes is handled...

Here is an IQ test, if you score is below 100, congratulations, you win a black box to sit on your TV...
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Postby The Garbage Man on Thu Jan 19, 2006 2:14 am

Doc Holliday wrote:
MiltonWaddams wrote:here's the condensed version:

mediocre safe shows will always succeed because people don't care or want to think. breaking news, hard hitting article.

why do you think leno is so popular?


Because he did a deal with the devil. I've thought it out and its the only explanation that makes sense.


Stewie Griffin wrote:Oh, oh you know, it is so fashionable to take a shot at Jay Leno. The fact is the man's out there every bloody night, with fresh material, and he's charming.
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Postby Autumn on Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:24 am

Agent Alonzo wrote:Does anyone even know anyone who has ever watched an episode of According to Jim...


I did, i had a sprained ankle and the remote control was on the other side of the room. I screamed for 20mins before anyone came to my rescue.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:32 am

Autumn wrote:
Agent Alonzo wrote:Does anyone even know anyone who has ever watched an episode of According to Jim...


I did, i had a sprained ankle and the remote control was on the other side of the room. I screamed for 20mins before anyone came to my rescue.


IPAMPILASH! As for Leno - I wish him no real harm...its all about perception and reality you see. You perceive him to be charming, Stewie. I perceive him to be as shallow as a puddle of pee in the Sahara.

Vive la difference!

Bottom line..he's the one known by millions and I'm the poor scrote hoping his boss doesn't run a report on internet usage today...on balance Leno wins mon ami.....
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Postby Agent Alonzo on Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:26 am

Autumn wrote:
Agent Alonzo wrote:Does anyone even know anyone who has ever watched an episode of According to Jim...


I did, i had a sprained ankle and the remote control was on the other side of the room. I screamed for 20mins before anyone came to my rescue.


There you go people... AD was cancelled because of Autumn. Now everyone knows who to blame...
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Postby Ribbons on Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:33 am

Smooth move, Autumn! Gosh!
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Postby The Wrong Guy on Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:26 am

The problem with Arrested Development is that only fans who have seen every episode are able to see how incredibly amazing it is. Those who just see one, two, three episodes now and then, are unable to understand the deftly constructed family dynamics at play, and are left with little more than lots of wierd characters and maybe-at best- a couple of good gags here and there. The show requires patience, a willingness on the viewer's part to be sucked into the wierd family's lives, and a good many people are too busy with their lives to give a television show more time than they feel is necessary.

Andy Richter Controls the Universe and The Norm Show, also failures, are the best sitcoms I remember from years past. Quirkiness I guess is also a ratings-killer, it would seem. :?
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