Monday, February 14, 2005

The Curious Case of Arrested Development

Before I go on my little rant, I'd like to print a correction. Yesterday I said that Danu was an Irish folk band. They're not. According to our musical notes man, they are an Irish traditional band or trad. So there you go.

The best show on television may come close to being cancelled. The reason? It's too good. Yes, this is a charge that most people who love a show throw around, but this time it's true. The show, an awesome ensemble called "Arrested Development."

Here's the thing: most people don't want to watch a program like "Arrested Development." They want to watch the same show over and over and over again. Tell me the difference between "Everyone Loves Raymond" and "The King of Queens". Both are ugly or overweight guys who act like retarded five-year-olds. Each has an incredibly beautiful wife who is a shrew of a ballbusting woman. And each has mettlesome parents/in laws.

This is just an example of two shows, the Jim Belushi Show, the one with Damon Wayans, just about 90% of all sitcoms follow this formula. Nobody wants to watch anything new or different. They just want to watch their cliches get figuratively and literally kicked in the balls every week.

How does this work with AD? Well, it's a different show. For one thing, AD is not a show that you can just jump into one day and start watching. Like a good book or a worthwhile movie, you have to start at the beginning to understand the nuances of the show. There are eight characters, each with a separate way of looking at the world and a unique comic voice. While some of the characters are archetypes (the know-it-all brother, the controlling mother, the vapid socialite sister) they also have other layers. Each layer is loaded with laughs.

Judging from the ratings, not many people are watching. This concerns the Fox network. Crappy ratings means cancellation. On Thursday, it was announced that AD will be cutting their episode order from 22 to 18, meaning that instead of ending during the sweeps month of May, their run will end in April. Check out this article from Wednesday:

AD Wednesday story

One of the stars, David Cross went on the Jimmy Kimmel Show and completely lost his shit, saying that Fox is replacing AD with a show called, "America's Cutest Retards." Which is pretty fucking funny. He has given up ship, which completely flipped out a majority of their fans.

I don't think Fox was aware of how this was going to freak people out, and this came out on Thursday, telling fans that they're behind the show 100% and that it's not being cancelled. Sort of bullshit, but here you go:

Fox's rebuttal

Which lead to this story about how the shelving of AD for the May sweeps could be considered a good thing. If you read this, it actually makes sense and may buoy your spirit:

Do you feel better?

So after a few days of positive press, which included star Jason Bateman hosting Saturday Night Live, Fox showed an episode of AD on Sunday night. It was a pretty good one (not one of the best, but certainly better than anything on TV), what does Fox announce following the show? AD is going on hiatus for three weeks.

What's my prediction? I think Fox is going to let this show twist in the wind for the next three months. If it gets picked up, it's going to be on a very short leash ... for some reason Fox doesn't believe in letting a show find its audience or not preempting it or moving it's time slot around. But the chances are good that AD is going to join the long list of Fox shows shot down before it reached their prime. Shows like "Action!", "Undeclared", "Andy Richter Controls the Universe", "Family Guy (which is coming back)" and "The Tick".

The one weird thing is that Fox does take the chance on these shows, but they have to stick by them. That's the bottom line.

BTW, here is an awesome interview with the creator of "Arrested Development""

Mitchell Hurwitz

1 comment:

Natalya said...

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Just wondering :p Seriously tho, keep postin. Your blog is coolies!