NBC needs to realize when it has a hit
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 20:10
The way I see it, normal people have outrage over things like poverty, genocide and abortion rights covered. Therefore, by getting upset at something as innocuous as the way that the NBC network is treating its comedies, I’m not being unreasonable because someone has to get mad at this stuff, right? So let’s get started.
The National Broadcast Company (NBC) is responsible for bringing America some of the greatest comedies that have ever graced the small screen, including “Seinfeld,” “Scrubs” and “Friends.” However, for every major success the network has had in the comedy world, they can tout about a dozen flops. Does anyone remember the not-so-brilliant idea that was “Joey” following the finale of “Friends” in 2004?
Today, however NBC seems to be in its prime in terms of witty and hilarious sitcoms – it just doesn’t realize it. That is evident by the fact that they are treating these comedies like placeholders in an otherwise grand lineup of reality shows, procedural cop dramas and whatever lawyer dreck they’re just cranking out these days.
“Community,” perhaps NBC’s greatest cultural accomplishment to television this decade, is about the lives of a study group at a community college. This show would be tailor made for a four-season stint, given its premise, but the network’s knee jerk reaction to low ratings was to cancel it after season three, as though any show could compete with the inexplicable ratings giant, “The Big Bang Theory.” Then it was given a limited fourth season, then it was put on hiatus a week before its premiere, then the horrible “Whitney” was allowed back on the air before “Community” and just recently it was given a release date for early February. If you’re exhausted from the story, you’re not alone.
“Up All Night,” another culturally relevant and generationally hilarious show, with A-list cast, centers around the lives of parents of a newborn, is facing a fate worse than death. Midway through the show’s second season the network has decided change up the show’s format from being a single-camera sitcom to a multi-camera sitcom. Multi-camera sitcoms are already considered a bit campy (unless you’re CBS), so to take a single-camera show and morph it is essentially hammering nails into the show’s coffin before it’s even dead yet.
The network never has and never will be able to compete on the same level as CBS or even Fox when it comes to ratings, so I don’t see why it tries. With a cavalcade of fun shows that appeal directly to an audience of hipster pop culture snobs like myself, why in the world would it settle for being at the back of the rank and file of other networks?
Perhaps the biggest insult to the comedy genius that the network is sitting on will occur tonight. All of NBC’s comedies appear on Thursday nights. However, because Hurricane Sandy may have perhaps made it somewhat difficult for viewers to catch “The Voice” (American Idol four years ago), NBC is airing a rerun of Monday’s episode – bumping all the other sitcoms to next week, with the exception of 30 Rock, which aired last night. It’s not like it’s one of 13 final installments of Tina Fey’s final season. All of this because, hey, who cares about comedies when you’ve got this revolutionary singing competition to worry about, right?
NBC has had amazing success with comedies in the past. Whoever is picking up new pilots for them is a genius because he or she knows how to speak to the newest generation in a way that no other network seems to. Sure, ABC, Fox and, to a much lesser extent, CBS are all trying to market to the tech savvy, gay-loving hipster groups, but none have done it with the style and poise of NBC’s successes. If the network would simply get out of these creative shows’ ways and just let their cult audiences love them, they would be a contender to battle the other big networks on an entirely different battlefield. Unfortunately, it looks like, through either cowardice or incompetence, we’ll instead be subject to more remakes of other successful shows that rake in the ratings.
Speaking of which, hey NBC, I have an idea for a show: you put a bunch of people in a house with hidden cameras in it, located on a remote island and they have to out-sing the competition in order to stay on. We can give them weekly cook-off challenges or make them solve a crime using only snappy dialogue and forensic evidence. Get back to me and we’ll talk details, I’m sure you’ll find this one a hit!