What do they expect? Do they think that we’re fools? Because if the good ones can’t make it through, then why should we believe in the rest? And why should we even stick around?
I’m talking about television executives. And I’m talking about the you know it’s happening even though they’re dancing around it cancellation of Fox’s “Arrested Development.”
How does the one and only worthwhile show on TV, a show that garnered 11 Emmy nominations only a year ago, get axed? And why? Why?
The how is easy: not enough people watched. Or, not enough boxes. Not enough people with Nielsen boxes watched. Damn you boxes!
But the why? Ah, there’s a good one.
What’s Fox thinking? Then again, maybe they aren’t. Because when a program like this is given the soft slide, it just makes you lose all hope.
Consider this: after two and a half seasons, “Arrested Development” has become the most widely praised and decorated comedy on television. It sits at the top of nearly every critics’ best-of list since 2004. In 2005 it won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. In 2004, the show won five Emmys (Outstanding Comedy Series, Writing, Directing, Casting and Editing). Many of the actors and actresses on the show have taken home a whole slew of trophies. And the series featured guest appearances from everyone from Charlize Theron to Ben Stiller to Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Yet, it’s getting the ax. In fact, it’s getting more than the ax. It’s getting a just-shined, sharp-as-a-samurai’s silvery guillotine blade, to the throat.
“Arrested Development” defied convention and now it’s paying the price. It was never predictable, and it was never stale. It crossed genres. It blended insane humor with deft social commentary. In fact, the show went so far as to call attention to its own plight during its most recent episode, when www.savethebluths.org was advertised on the screen. Characters made sleight of hand pitches regarding the possibility that HBO or Showtime might pick the show up. A fundraiser was held to “raise awareness within the community.”
Fox responded to the program’s originality like a tyrant, going so far as to limit its original order of 22 episodes to 13. The final four are being shown in one crazy, two-hour block on Feb. 10. Know what else happens on Feb. 10? The opening ceremony of the 2006 Olympics on NBC. Coincidence? I think not.
It’s like taking a tragedy, wrapping it up inside of a murder and then boxing it inside of a
travesty. And then putting a gift card on said box that reads: “Goodbye. You’re Done.”
Sadly enough, it’s happened before. “Twin Peaks,” “Firefly,” “My So-Called Life,” “The Family Guy,” “Mr. Show.” This lineup reads like a list of cadavers chilling somewhere in a morgue that houses all the other great television shows axed by TV execs.
Television, as an industry, continues to gut itself time and time again. It pleads for creativity and avid eyes and then it devours its young, one by one.
But this time, Fox has gone too far. And if there’s ever been a sign that TV land has just completely lost it, this is it. When a show of the brilliance, pure comedic genius and magnitude of “Arrested Development” gets cut off mid-season and thrown to the sharks,
you know that everything is rotten in Denmark.