Aloha. On my way to Hawaii, but while I stand in the endless TSA line I thought I’d answer some Friday Questions.
Stephen gets us started.
Have you ever seen a single-camera comedy which you thought might have worked better as a multi-camera, or vice versa? For example, I think The Crazy Ones is an 'okay' show, but with the large primary office set, the ensemble which is together in almost every scene, and of course Robin Williams' manic energy, the multi-cam/live audience might have served it just as well, if not better - especially as it airs on CBS where it is surrounded by other multi-cams. I am not suggesting changing the format of an established show (we all saw how that went for NBC with Up All Night last season), but I'd like to get your thoughts.
Yes, but if they made THE CRAZY ONES a multi-camera show then they’d have to write actual “jokes” and not just joke-like rhythms. They’d be held accountable to an audience. That said, Robin Williams is always 1000% better in front of a live audience and it would help that show immensely.
Some shows like MASH could only be done one-camera. But if you had to, you could do a version of NEW GIRL or MINDY PROJECT multi-camera. Make no mistake, when a network takes a single-camera show and redevelops it as a multi-camera show it is not to save money in production. It is to make the show funnier. And in most cases it works, a la THE ODD COUPLE and HAPPY DAYS.
Jim S asks:
Are there shows that you just don't get? I just saw the first two episodes of "Community" last night and while they were, at least to me cute, not the second coming of comedy. I keep reading from critics how it has the Harmon touch again.
I just don't get it. I always thought "Community" was a fairly clever show that all too often became one big inside joke. I didn't think season 4 was terrible. Yet I keep hearing about the genius that is a low rated prime time show and a low-rated show in syndication. What am I missing?
COMMUNITY goes out of its way to not be a traditional sitcom. As a result it has its loyal fans and detractors. There are so many sitcoms on the air that are so bland no one could have an opinion either way. I’d sure prefer to be doing something interesting.
I appreciate COMMUNITY more than I enjoy it. But then it’s not meant for me. They make it very clear by the references that they’re aiming for a younger audience and really don’t care if older viewers watch it or not. So the fact that COMMUNITY doesn’t speak to me, that’s fine. The danger with that approach is that you severely limit your audience and on a major broadcast network that can be treacherous. Especially when it’s up against a show like THE BIG BANG THEORY, which draws more younger viewers and millions of older viewers as well. THE BIG BANG THEORY drew a whopping five times the audience of COMMUNITY for COMMUNITY’S season premiere last week.
So if you don’t “get” COMMUNITY, you’re not alone.
I never got TWO AND A HALF MEN. I don’t get TWO BROKE GIRLS. And as anyone who has read more than two posts of this blog knows, I don’t get GIRLS.
Is there a TV show where you have the sole writing credit? I’ve read 2 of your 3 books (even paid for one of them) heard you on KABC, seen a few of your “Directed By” shows and of course follow this blog. I’ve watched at least one Frasier show written by David Isaacs, but has a TV script been broadcast where you alone have the “Written by” credit?
After listening for so long to Boss radio and WLS, did things change for you when you started hearing stations like KLOS and DJs like JJ Jackson?
For me those changes seem to coincide with changes in the music, too. The end of the Beatles, the beginning of Zeppelin.
But I traveled in both worlds because I still loved that DJ’s in Top 40 radio could have more fun and be sillier. So when I became a disc jockey I was one of those guys who played “The Night Chicago Died” on the air then went home and played Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
What’s your question? Please leave it in the comments section. Mahalo.