Bad gimmicks often make their way onto television. It happens, but we can forgive networks for giving us yet another alien-from-space sitcom.
Bad gimmicks often make their way onto television. It happens, but we can forgive networks for giving us yet another alien-from-space sitcom. Sometimes, these gimmicks indicate a creative well has run dry, or that a network is trying to cash in on the concept of another show. Now, it seems the well at ABC hasn’t just run dry, but is full of shit. This fall the network debuted its newest abomination: A show based on a commercial.
The idea for ABC’s Cavemen is taken from those Geico commercials that aired for a few years with the slogan “So easy, even a caveman can do it.” The half-minute commercials were good, but as a 30-minute show, the concept doesn’t work. It’s hard to imagine any viewer watching a whole episode all the way through, thinking, “OMG, a caveman text messaging and referencing Wikipedia? That is so not before the current era!” But that’s basically the premise of the show and all of its jokes: Three cavemen living normal, modern lives in the same apartment.
A press release for the show states, “Cavemen is a unique buddy comedy that offers a clever twist on stereotypes and turns race relations on their head.” Oh really, anonymous ABC public relations writer? Turning race relations on their head? For serious?
Maybe if the show had aired in the 1960s, but now the “race relations” shown are trite, boring and meaningless. In the first episode of the show, a caveman is dating a non-cavewoman who might be ashamed of him. The episode begs the question: Can a minority (in this case a caveman) date someone in the majority?
A better question for the creators of the show is: Hasn’t this issue been dealt with before and resolved since at least the 1980s? As it stands, the only allegory presented in Cavemen is that of advertising rearing its ugly head into entertainment. Not a new concept, but Cavemen is much more egregious than any product placement could ever hope to be.
But what if the show becomes a hit and goes on for nine seasons? Besides me losing faith in humanity, an avalanche of rip-offs from the advertising world will flood our televisions. Here is a list of advertisements that are waiting and ready to be made into TV shows.
The Shane Company
Tom Shane is a purveyor of diamonds and more importantly, has the world’s most boring voice. He could star in his own show where he visits Sierra Leone and explains to enslaved children why we need diamonds in the United States.
Using his monotone voice, he would say: “I’m here letting you know the reason many of you are missing limbs and never get to see your mothers. You see, when a man loves a woman, or a rapper loves himself, he expresses it with a lot of money in the form of diamonds.”
Then, as the child looked at him with crying, hungry eyes, he would say, “This is Tom Shane, and now YOU have a friend in the diamond business.”
I have no idea what Measure 49 is, but according to some commercials, voting for it will help families lose their homes. This has reality show written all over it. If America can create pop stars by voting, why not also vote people out of their homes and onto the streets? If Ronald Reagan were alive, he’d host.
A single-camera sitcom, this would mainly concern a 13-year-old boy talking to his mom about feminine care products. Maybe she would be an executive in the business? It’s not clear what the exact premise would be, but if The Office has taught us anything, it is that uncomfortable equals funny.
If you’ve flipped through the Portland Mercury lately, you’ve noticed the full-spread ads with women who have apparently just finished sucking off an oil well–a warning against the dangers of meth and Oreo binging. At first glance the ad appears to be for a dentist’s office in the bowels of Mordor, but if you look past the teeth and body sores, you’ll notice these ladies have nice hair–like Pearl District-walking-a-tiny-useless-dog nice. This show would be about a top New York stylist who moves to Gresham and opens a salon.