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#601976 - 04/01/13 10:58 AM The dramatic importance of being nice
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
As I was watching the season finale of THE WALKING DEAD, it occurred to me that the show isn't wildly popular just because it's fairly well done or the genre violence or the extreme dramatic situations. It's that the characters are nice people whom you like and want to spend time with. They're not smartasses or deeply conflicted souls struggling with their inner demons or anything like that. And even for the characters who aren't that nice, like Shane or Daryl, a lot of their story on the show is about them either learning to be nice or struggling against being bad.

Also this weekend, I went back and got the last few issues of THE BIONIC MAN after deciding to drop it. I did that because I actually found I missed reading it, something I can't say about many comics I've given up on, and in wondering why I missed it realized it's because I like Steve Austin. And not just for nostalgic reasons from watching the TV show when I was a kid. I like this character because he's a nice guy and I want to spend time with him and his adventures.

And then I thought about other TV shows, like MAD MEN or BREAKING BAD, and other comics and how the characters in them aren't nice people. As well done as they may be, I ultimately find myself asking "Why should I give a crap?" There's an old cliche in fiction that nice is boring and only evil is interesting and I suppose that's true in a saccharine and sanitized culture where LEAVE IT TO BEAVER is as dark as it gets. But if I had to guess what the main reason was for why so many "quality" shows in the supposed New Golden Age of TV get such low ratings and why so many "quality" comics in this age of supposed writing and drawing brilliance sell so poorly, it would be that they're stories about jackasses created by people who think only jackasses are compelling.

Mike

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#601977 - 04/01/13 11:23 AM Re: The dramatic importance of being nice [Re: MBunge]
Ceci n'est pas une chaussette Offline
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Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 2840
Well, that certainly explains why Mad Men and Breaking Bad aren't wildly popular. Well thought out, Mike.
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#601982 - 04/02/13 09:45 AM Re: The dramatic importance of being nice [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
It's also why "Family Guy" got cancelled after only a few episodes in 1999 and creator Seth MacFarlane was never heard from again.

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#601983 - 04/02/13 10:18 AM Re: The dramatic importance of being nice [Re: Lawson]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Lawson
It's also why "Family Guy" got cancelled after only a few episodes in 1999 and creator Seth MacFarlane was never heard from again.


Last Sunday's episode of FAMILY GUY was the 2nd lowest rated show during that hour on all 4 broadcast networks, beating only its follow-on AMERICAN DAD. It was seen by 3.1 million people or less than 1% of the total U.S. population and since its revival on Sundays for Fox, FAMILY GUY'S season ranking in the ratings has been #68, #71, #84, #69, #53, #56 and #70.

Yeah, that totally disproves my point.

Mike

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#601984 - 04/02/13 10:42 AM Re: The dramatic importance of being nice [Re: MBunge]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: MBunge
Last Sunday's episode of FAMILY GUY was the 2nd lowest rated show during that hour on all 4 broadcast networks, beating only its follow-on AMERICAN DAD.


*Shrug*

I dunno what else was on last Sunday. Lots of guys I know caught "The Walking Dead" season finale. Mrs. Lawson and I watched the season premieres of "Call the Midwife" and "Mr. Selfridge" on PBS. There also was NCAA men's basketball.

I'm gonna go ahead and say "Family Guy" is a success, given that it's aired more than 200 episodes over 14 years, and at any given hour, it seems to be in reruns on at least one of the channels in my cable package. And the creator is a young millionaire who makes movies and just hosted the Oscars.

Even held against the lofty Mike Bunge standards of success, surely you gotta show Seth MacFarlane a little love.

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#601985 - 04/02/13 11:48 AM Re: The dramatic importance of being nice [Re: Lawson]
Ceci n'est pas une chaussette Offline
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Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 2840
Family Guy has actually always had low TV ratings for first airings. It's targeted at a younger audience, which doesn't watch shows when they air. They watch them on the internet, on DVD, in OnDemand packages, and so on. That's why it got canceled when it first premiered... the executives thought like Mike does, looked solely at first air ratings, and canceled it... and then it got brought back because DVD sales were insanely high. I don't have any figures handy on how well those sales have held up through the present day, but ten seconds on google shows this figure from a few years ago:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2009/06...rst-week/21636/

Family Guy - Volume 7 debuts on the top of the TV Show DVD sales chart with nearly 274,000 units sold in its first week, translating into sales of over $7.5 million.

I'm not aware of any other show that managed to get canceled, then get put back on the air - on the same network - because it was so blindingly obvious that the network fucked up. I am, however, reminded of Family Guy's cold open from their first uncancelled episode:

http://youtu.be/0oMTmtN7lHI
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

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#601986 - 04/02/13 12:16 PM Re: The dramatic importance of being nice [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Ceci n'est pas une chaussette Offline
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Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 2840
However, if this kind of indirect money stream is too puzzling for Mike, I'm happy to put Family Guy on the shelf, and use the thread for something more positive. I'd like to ask you all to please give generously to Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards. You probably haven't heard of them... they had a short-lived sitcom that tried (somewhat foolishly) to chronicle the misadventures of terrible people.

Needless to say, it was an abysmal failure. All four are now dying of tuberculosis, brought on by malnutrition. They can only desperately beg for change in the streets, hoping that someone will forgive them for trying to foist "quality" by jackasses on a public that only wants to watch nice people.

Obviously we can't save everyone. There'll always be a Carroll O'Connor or James Gandolfini who has to keep themselves warm on the musty cots of the poor house, praying for death to release them from their life of poverty. But if we all try, maybe we can save these four.
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

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#601987 - 04/02/13 12:22 PM Re: The dramatic importance of being nice [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Of course, Michael Richards went on to demonstrate that you really can go too far.

grin

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#601988 - 04/02/13 12:46 PM Re: The dramatic importance of being nice [Re: Lawson]
Ceci n'est pas une chaussette Offline
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Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 2840
Just once I wanna see a racist celebrity meltdown that's not a total cliche. It's all "you're a n*gger!" or "The Jews start all the wars!"

How about somebody goes on a wild tear against Norwegians, huh? Those lutefisk-eating, never-smiling death-metal jockeys have had it too good for too long.
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

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#601989 - 04/02/13 03:31 PM Re: The dramatic importance of being nice [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7070
I caught part of one episode from the marathon AMC ran to fill air time. The acting and writing are way worse now than Season One (and they weren't good then).
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If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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