Hidden Hills and What I like about you ( I think that’s what it’s called, it’s the one with Jamie Gertz) are two shows about aging suburban couples trying to recapure their youth as it was before they had kids.
This week, on both shows, the couples went to concerts and the wives got on the husband’s shoulders and flashed the band. Wtf? I can’t believe this happened on 2 different shows. It’s bad enough that we have the formulaic sitcom family where the dad is a fatass and the mom is kind of cute, she berates him constantly for being a idiot and he shamefully hangs his head and makes a joke about twinkies or something. Is anyone else irritated by this pattern?
Well, two shows debuted this fall that had the same idiotic premise: going back in time to live your youth over. One was called “Do over”, forget what the other was.
Network TV is becoming less and less original. There are thousands of flaks telling the writers what their surveys show viewers used to like. Being original gets you fired. Imitation keeps you working.
To change things you would have fire all those people, throw out all survey data, have “originality tests” for hiring writers, etc.
(I thought this was going to be a thread about shows like “It’s like you know.” An alleged Seinfeld clone.)
It’s not just television. There’s a problem with movies on the same subject being produced at the same time too. Sometimes there’s been a falling out, or someone stole an idea, but frequently it just happens. A Bug’s Life and Antz is one example, as are the two films about Prefontaine.
With sitcom plots, it’s even more common. I remember reading an article years ago that mentioned “The Surprise Party” as one of the most common sitcom plots, but there’re plenty of others: “Stuck in the basement (attic) together,” “Let’s spend our winter holiday in a rustic cabin,” “The really bad blind date,” “Oh no, I’ve got two dates on the same night,” “Game show appearance” (these days, it’s usually on Jeopardy), “Mom and Dad (played by familiar celebrities) come to visit,” “The family is asked to appear in a T.V. commercial” (that one was very common during the '70’s – I haven’t seen it lately, but maybe it will be replaced by “the family is asked to appear on a reality show”), “The pregnancy scare” (second season – the real pregnancy comes in the fifth season)…Gah! Now I remember why it’s been so long since I watched a sitcom.
I’d dispute the idea that T.V. is becoming less original. It was never very original to begin with – check out “Leave It To Beaver”, “Make Room For Daddy”, and “Father Knows Best” for an example of how similar sitcoms were 40 years ago.
You people act like this is something new. Anyone remember a show from the “Golden Age” of TV called I Love Lucy, with a wacky housewife and a long-suffering husband? How about I Married Joan, with a wacky housewife and her long-suffering husband? Or My Little Margie, with a wacky young woman and her long-suffering father? Or Private Secretary, with a wacky secretary and her long-suffering boss. . .
If Scooby Do is “Dobie Gillis” with a dog, then it is also Dobie Gillis without Dobie Gillis. I can almost see Maynard G. Krebs as Shaggy, and Milton Armitage (Warren Beatty) as Fred, Thalia as Daphne and of course Zelda Gilroy as the smart chick who’s name escapes me, but there is no Dobie equivalent in Scooby.
Scooby Doo = Dobie Gillis. This is not my own observation or speculaton, it’s old news. According to an old interview with comics/TV/animation writer Mark Evanier, Hanna-Barbera wanted to do a Dobie Gillis cartoon, but the licensing fee was prohibitive. So they added a dog and a “mystery” slant. For a cite on this (minus the Evanier interview, unfortunately), do a Google search for “scooby doo” AND “dobie gillis” for a number of more detailed accounts.