To ABC geniuses: An ad campaign is not a sitcom
The stunningly handsome cast of ABC’s soon-to-be-canceled “Cavemen.”
Am I the only person who thinks that ABC’s willingness to venture out on a limb and pick up the half-hour sitcom pilot “Cavemen” is one of the stupidest moves by a major television network this year? Greenlighting “Cavemen” is about as bright as greenlighting … well, I’m at a loss to think of something comparable.
Actually, I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks this is monumentally dumb. I believe a lot of people think so. I have no evidence to back up that belief — at least, not until this fall when ABC cancels “Cavemen” after less than six air dates (on which, inevitably, no one will be watching it).
The series is based on the (apparently) highly popular series of Geico auto insurance commercials featuring cavemen who are offended by the stereotype that cavemen aren’t very bright. They take umbrage at Geico’s ads proclaiming, “So simple a caveman can do it,” which is “clever” and “funny” in a recursive story-within-a-story kind of way.
These caveman ads have always struck me as thinking they’re a lot funnier than they actually are. But even assuming they’re a huge marketing success for Geico, it sounds like a horribly lame and gimmicky idea for a TV sitcom, with a novelty shelf life of — I dunno — one episode. Or maybe one commercial for one episode.
There’s an adage that there are no bad concepts, only bad executions. I humbly disagree. There are bad concepts. “Cavemen” is one of them. Perhaps a brilliant team of writers can milk something watchable out of a concept so inane, but I wouldn’t count on it. ABC’s web site says, “Joe Lawson, Will Speck and Josh Gordon (Blades of Glory) have created a hilarious and thought-provoking social commentary on race relations in today’s America.” Makes it almost sound potentially cerebral, but I call it spin control on a desperate premise. “Cavemen” showcases nothing more than creative bankruptcy at its finest.
If you’re going to base a TV show on an ad campaign, I vote for a reality game show called “Unpimp My Auto” hosted by Peter Stormare. Every week he destroys the pimped ride of a different unsuspecting contestant who has been nominated to the show by his friends. Every contestant automatically gets a new Volkswagen GTI. Hey, it couldn’t be any worse than watching that wretchedly stupid “Deal or No Deal,” and look at the ratings for that show.
Put “Unpimp” into development. I nominate Fox as the network. Fox, I expect to see it on the air next season and my royalty check in the mail by August.