The making of crap...

Honestly, out of the dozens (maybe hundreds, if you count the people who give it the okay to go) of human beings who get terrible TV shows produced, how does not a single person speak up and say that it is crap?

Is it pride? Stupidity? Fear?

I’m not talking about shows that appeal to a limited audience, but is loathed by most people. I’m talking about a show that appeals to absolutely no one because it utterly fails at what it is intended to do.

Anyway, discuss. Depending how the conversation goes, this might be better in the pit.

The show that was on my mind as I wrote this, if you’re interested, is Kid Notorious. That turd-stack has not incited as much as a smirk from me. I’m biased, though. I turn sour anytime that celebrities are the focus of a show.

Head Executive: “We want to get more of that valuable 18-24 viewer demographic!”
Lackey 1:South Park is popular with 18-24s.”
Head Executive: “Great! Let’s make one of our own!”
Lackey 2: “Hip-hop is popular with kids.”
Lackey 3: “And dirty jokes.”
Lackey 4: “We can save money by using bad animation and calling it an ‘art style.’”
Lackey 5: “Throw in some celebrity references.”
Lackey 6: “Better have a laugh track.”
Lackey 7: “And extremely outrageous situations.”
Lackey 8: “Joe Hackwriter is available and works cheap.”
Head Executive: “Excellent ideas! Let’s get it going! I want a complete demo reel by the end of tomorrow!”
Lackey 2: “Is it time for lunch?”

Executives who make all the decisions DON’T know it’s crap. They think they’re brillian ideas men, but in fact they have all the talent of a paperbag.

The people who can see it is crap are ignored, as they aren’t as important as an Executive, and therefore do not really know anything. :rolleyes:

In TV, it’s impossible to predict what shows will succeed and what will fail. Some good shows get good ratings; others get poor ratings. Same for crappy shows; some really terrible shows are ratings monsters.

So the fact that the show might be crap is only one of many considerations when making decisions. The executives might know it’s terrible, but think it has a chance despite that.

I’m not disagreeing, but please list some examples of high rating crap shows.

Name any reality show.

Seinfeld was a high rating show, but I thought it was a steaming pile of poo.

Your missing the point, reality shows have an original gimmick, whether you like it or not (I don’t), it has appeal. You may not “get” Seinfeld, but most people agree (including me) that it was a hilarious show.

I’m talking about stuff that simply cannot possibly have any appealing attributes at all. These are usually cancelled quickly, so examples are hard to think of.

I’m talking about Whoopi and ilk, though I never watched it (it was a predictable turd).


We feel that way (steaming pile of crap) about Friends.

In fact, the pile may not even be steaming, but frozen solid.

On the bottom of your shoe.

Everyone Loves Raymond?

Substandard writing, terrible acting, no original plot or themes (the most original characters are directly ripped off from Seinfeld).

I’d guess that the answer to the OPs question is that as a result of the way films and TV shows are made, no-one is especially interested in making art. Everyone on the set is an employee, not an artist. When TV or films do become special is when someone - be it a producer, a director, a cinematographer or whatever becomes particularly interested in the project and dedicates themselves to producing the best work possible.

If it’s so easy, let’s see you guys do it.

You’re assuming that these people are either too stupid or too apathetic to produce good shows. What you don’t seem to grasp is that

A) Producing good shows is really hard,

B) As with movies, a show concept can start out very different from what it ends up being when scores and scores of people work on it and budgets and logistics gets in the way, and

C) Most TV shows, really, are quite well produced. The standard of quality today is certainly higher than it used to be.

Rickjay, you make a good point, and note that I never said that MOST shows are like this (I even pointed out that shows I don’t particularly like do have certain appeal).

And though I admit, I can’t put up a very good intelligent defense of it, I enjoy Everybody Loves Raymond. I’d probably disagree most with your bad acting label. Sure, the characters might be cliched archetypes, but I think all of the actors in the show play their parts extremely well; they time the punchlines brilliantly.

In any case, it often gets my entire family roaring with laughter when we watch it, but maybe that’s because we can relate to it more than most.

The Beverly Hillbillies
The Brady Bunch
Yes, Dear (even the president of CBS thinks it’s terrible).
The Love Boat
Joe Millionnaire
Fear Factor
Queen for a Day

I won’t bother to list shows I detested but which were generally well regarded in their time; these are just shows that were drubbed critically when they came out and which were all considered pretty bad (some have gotten better reputations in hindsight; they become familar friends).

And the fact that some of the shows are old doesn’t matter. TV executives have very long memories.

What about really great shows that have really crappy ratings? Critically acclaimed, like Freaks and Geeks, or My So-Called Life, yet no one watches them. (Or at least, not enough people to matter.)

I’ve never worked in entertainment.

I have, however, had several jobs where the boss had no clue that a given idea was NOT going to work, and decided he wanted us to give it a try…

…and no one had the guts to stand up and say, “This won’t work, boss.”

I don’t find it terribly surprising that this paradigm holds sway in the entertainment world. If Boss wants to throw away a fortune on crap, let him. Just cover one’s own ass and make sure that it’s someone else’s butt that goes up in the sling when the balloon goes up, that’s all.

Just like in the real world.