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Fleeing from the Cave
2007-10-15 09:43
by Jon Weisman

Just to ensure I don't go down in history as "The Guy Who Liked Cavemen," I have written the following post at Season Pass for Variety.

I went out on a limb for "Cavemen," and they cut it down on me.

Twice at Season Pass I have defended the show (albeit with faint praise), but last week's episode mocked my efforts. I was prepared to not laugh out loud, having been intrigued by an approach that emphasized dry wit over obvious humor, but the most recent airing lacked either. For the first time, I saw "Cavemen" as others have — as the worst kind of "Saturday Night Live" skit, all premise and no execution. ...

In the post, I discuss Chuck and Reaper as well, concluding that both have their merits but that neither holds a candle to Mad Men. Let's face it - the best new show of the year was on AMC. The season finale of Mad Men comes Thursday, and I'm sure going to miss it when it's gone.

2007-10-15 19:43:23
1.   Bluebleeder87
I still love Californication very much but the little turn of events kind of turns me off, maybe it will get better.
2007-10-16 12:56:01
2.   kylepetterson
I watched about five minutes of it (somewhere in the middle of the first episode) and almost vomited when I realized that every joke is "we're cavemen, and were living now. Isn't that hilarious?"
2007-10-16 18:10:18
3.   mintxcore
2: yeah, but isn't that kinda the definition of a sitcom? Sure there are plenty of exceptions, but most sitcoms have a very simple premise that is continually exploited. Like Threes Company. Or Cheers.
2007-10-16 20:05:30
4.   Jon Weisman
3 - You're right about Three's, but dead wrong about Cheers, at least when it was good.

2 - I don't know which five minutes you were watching, but that wasn't every joke. In fact, for much of that episode they went out of their way to downplay the fact they were cavemen - that was the premise but not the joke. The complaints other people had at work after the first episode were, "If you're going to do a show like that, why make them cavemen to begin with?"

2007-10-16 20:54:26
5.   mintxcore
4: the more i think about it, the more i realize Cheers really was a bad example, as it really wasn't a "typical" sitcom overall.
2007-10-17 08:10:09
6.   overkill94
3 I think my favorite example of a sit-com following the same structure over and over would be Home Improvement.

1. Set up premise
2. Have Tim screw it up somehow
3. Have Tim talk to Wilson about it
4. Have Time screw up the advice given by Wilson, but still get his apology across
5. Roll credits

It only worked for so long because the writing was still pretty sharp (at least during the early days), but it's amazing how they never deviated from that structure.

2007-10-17 08:29:05
7.   Jon Weisman
HI gets a big ugh from me.

I was a secretary at Disney during part of the time it was on and read those scripts in my spare time. No fun.

2007-10-17 14:04:35
8.   Marty
I just suffered through half of the first episode of Pushing Daisies. I don't want to see any more.
2007-10-17 15:21:52
9.   Bob Timmermann
Join the club Marty, but I will be watching again tonight just because I have nothing else to watch.
2007-10-17 15:51:12
10.   Jon Weisman
9 - My wife will be watching America's Next Top Model while I watch Pushing Daisies.
2007-10-17 15:58:26
11.   Bob Timmermann
I will watch tonight solely out of sheer sense of stubbornness. It's almost like watching "John From Cincinnati" except with pretty colors. I'm going to keep watching it to appear cool.
2007-10-17 17:06:37
12.   trainwreck
Even though it is just a mini-series, I believe Five Days is the best thing on TV on Tuesdays.

It may be the best thing on TV right now.

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