Thursday, March 08, 2007

Living In A Cave

So I got a forwarded e-mail this morning from a friend about an article from The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes. In it, she tells of ABC's plan to develop a sitcom around the cavemen from the Geico commercials.

Who says TV is running out of ideas?

I suppose there is something of a tradition of cavemen on TV. "The Flintstones," of course, was one of the most popular animated TV shows of all time and even launched a couple of live-action movies. There was also the more obscure animated "Captain Caveman," a rather obscure superhero who ran around with three hot chicks saving the world or somesuch.

The late, great Phil Hartman used to have a sketch on "Saturday Night Live" entitled "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer." He was a caveman with all the modern problems but would always win his cases or get out of trouble by a sarcastic "Your machines frighten me!"

Of course, that was a two-minute skit and had the brilliant Hartman in it. While I find the Geico commercials generally amusing, I don't see how anyone could possibly mine 30 minutes of material on a weekly basis from it. Supposedly, the series will be set in Atlanta, de Moraes reports, which just leads to all sorts of jokes I won't go into here.

I realize that so much of TV is recycled hash, so when someone thinks they have a clever idea based on a current hot trend, I can almost see why they choose to run with it. But if network executives sat down and processed information for five minutes, they might see why a sitcom based around modern-day caveman probably won't have a lot of steam to it.

To paraphrase the commercial, even a caveman could figure it out. It just makes you wonder how cavemen stack up to network TV executives on the evolutionary scale. Judging by the way ABC programmed Wednesday nights this year, my money is on the cavemen.

R.I.P. CAPTAIN AMERICA: The superhero, who took a bullet outside a courthouse in the just released comic book "Captain America #25," was in his 80s, though a lot of the time was spent frozen in an iceberg. Cap routinely helped save the world from everything from the Nazis to the Skrulls, so he will be missed. Still, he'll likely be back in a later issue.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Repeats, repeats everywhere, at least in the scripted show world. The notable exceptions are new episodes of "Scrubs" and "30 Rock" on NBC tonight beginning at 9 p.m.

Reality TV offers new installments, including a new "Survivor" (CBS, 8 p.m.) and a new "American Idol," (Fox, 8 p.m.) in which a couple of more contestants are voted off, and Idol alum Carrie Underwood performs her new hit single, "Wasted." Also airing a new episode is the reality phenomenon "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?" (Fox, 9 p.m.), surprisingly not produced by people who want to give cavemen their own sitcom.


Zodin2008 said...

Just to show how well branded the 4 major networks are (and while I have some CW faves, it's not a major network), I love how the fact that ABC is picking up a Caveman sitcom instantly makes it a dog. It may even be funny or well made (see "Sons and Daughters") but it's a dead duck on NBC.

If it was on CBS, they would probably make the Caveman fat and give him a smokin' hot wife, ala Leah Remini or Courtney Thorne Smith (yes, I realize she was on ABC but it's an acknowledged CBS trend); if the Caveman were on Fox, he'd probably be a loser loner who's in his 30's still "living in the cave" but he has a heart of gold trying to win the girl of his dreams.

And of course if the Caveman was on NBC, the show would actually be funny and he would either have a Steve Carrell or Alec Baldwin-like boss, or else he would go around making things better with a dimwitted caveman brother while hanging out with his ex-wife and new husband.

Of course, if the Caveman was an intern at Sacred Heart on the set of "Scrubs" do you think daydreamin' JD would even notice him? The caveman would probably end up in Ted's singing quartet or pulling pranks on JD with the Janitor.

Phillip Ramati said...

Those are probably better ideas than the ones ABC has planned.

And to think, this is the network that once gave us "Three's Company" :-)