Monday, September 19, 2016
The trouble with television
Remember when TV had a very specific cycle? New shows came out in September. The ones that failed were replaced in January or February and by summer, all the new episodes of every show had been exhausted and it was nothing but re-runs. Things are different now. Networks put out shows whenever they want and many of them will go on hiatus right in the middle of the season. They still put out new shows in September but it's not nearly as big a deal as it used to be.
Another thing that happens every year is the networks try (and fail) to incorporate us into new TV shows. Not The Unbelievables® as a recognized entity, because branding is expensive, but me, Jeff and Michael as characters within these shows. I'm also not talking about lame parodies that portray us in a less-than-flattering fashion. These are standard, cookie-cutter shows taken from tried and tired templates. They try to make just enough changes to keep us (as well as TV industry professionals) from suing them, but we know it's us. Thankfully, our legal eagles get involved somehow and stop them before they ever get on the air. We don't own the rights to the names Clark, Jeff and Michael, unfortunately. For that matter, we don't even own the rights to the word 'Unbelievable', if you can believe that (I can't), so it's an ongoing struggle.
It might not be a problem if these shows weren't so shoddy and terrible.
Here's an example from just one of the crappy shows that they tried to launch this year...
OPEN ON THE MICHAEL FAMILY EATING BREAKFAST
MICHAEL: (cough, cough)
MICHAEL'S WIFE: What's wrong, honey?
MICHAEL: I don't know. I suddenly don't feel very good.
JEFF: Nasty cough there, buddy. Sure hope it's not cancer, because I'm your brother-in-law! Haw haw!
JEFF'S WIFE: Jeff! That's an awful thing to say!
JEFF: Sorry, honey. Just joking.
MICHAEL: I hope it's just a joke. I don't have nearly enough money saved for my family if something happens to me!
MICHAEL'S WIFE: Hello? Yes, he's here. Who's this? Oh. Okay. Hang on.
MICHAEL: Who is it, honey?
MICHAEL'S WIFE: It's Jesse Clarkman, that derelict former student of yours. I don't care for him.
MICHAEL: No wonder, what with us having an impressionable teenage son on crutches.
JEFF: Don't forget your wife is pregnant, because you had sex with her! Haw haw!
JEFF'S WIFE: Jeff!
JEFF: Sorry, honey.
MICHAEL: I'll get rid of him. (takes phone) What do you want, Clarkman?
CLARKMAN: Yo, Mr. Michael, you wanna help me launch an elite team of fashionable crime fighters? I sorta know how but I make poor decisions and am generally kinda dim. I could use some help from a pseudo-father figure. We could make lots of money, if that's something you think you might need in the immediate future, bitch.
CLARKMAN: You can let your brother-in-law be part of it, but maybe don't clue him all the way in for a few years, yo. Also, try to keep it a secret from your bitch as long as possible, bitch.
MICHAEL: Never call here again, you damn dirty juvenile delinquent! (whispering) I'll meet you at the fast food restaurant in 20 minutes (hangs up and puts on silly-yet-somehow- menacing porkpie hat).
See what I mean? Awful.
That's just one example. The guys will have more for you later this week.