Saturday, November 14, 2015

UNDATEABLE not LIVE

This is a very different report than I had planned to post. I was invited to watch the two live broadcasts last night of UNDATEABLE LIVE, and ten minutes before the show was due to air live in the East the producers and NBC agreed to scrap it. Considering the horrors of Paris, it just seemed wrong and insensitive to be funny and silly – especially on live TV. It’s not like pre-taped entertainment. In a show that depends on immediacy and interacting with the audience, how could the cast ignore the reality and unspeakable tragedy of the moment?

Yes, you could argue the other side of it. Viewers might welcome an escape from the unfathomable images and reports from Paris. And there is some validity to that. But again, remember, this is live. And the performers are not just “actors,” they’re people. They’re feeling the same ache in their hearts as everybody. And asking them to ignore those emotions and clown around in front of literally millions of people seems callous and unreasonable. If you need to escape, there are plenty of other ways.

Personally, I think showrunner Bill Lawrence, the cast, and network made the right call. Bill explained his feelings to the studio audience and although I’m sure they were disappointed I don’t think a single one of them disagreed with the decision. Bill made sure all of them could come back at a later date and even keep the seat they had last night. I too will return – next week – under hopefully much lighter circumstances.

Not much else to say. What can anybody say? Instead, I’ll just leave you with some pictures I took last night on the set, and like everyone, will send my best wishes and prayers to the people of France.




23 comments:

Howard Hoffman said...
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Howard Hoffman said...

Indeed, right decision. Bill Lawrence explained his decision on Periscope when he got home last night.

Click here to see it.

Peter said...

I was debating whether to post about this last night in the previous thread, as I know Ken has said before that this isn't a political blog and sometimes these debates can get heated in the comments. I'll just say that, like everyone, I'm horrified and sickened by what happened in Paris and my heart goes out to the friends and families of those murdered.

But I'm also fed up of the regularity in which we're finding ourselves in such a horrible situation and nothing seems to change because some people are terrified to admit the elephant in the room is the depraved ideology underpinning these atrocities. Time and again we're told that this ideology is peaceful and the attacks have nothing to do with it, despite the terrorists screaming "allah akbar" before murdering over a hundred people. But it makes certain virtue signallers feel comfortable to keep insisting this ideology is all peaceful and cuddly and it's all the fault of the evil West. I felt sick last night when some people called in to a radio show here in the UK to say France had it coming because of its support for America and Israel. This is the morally depraved mindset of the political correctness brigade which has enabled this ongoing crisis of terrorism. What happened last night will keep happening until the West takes serious action.

Stoney said...

While "Undateable Live" did not go on there was some live TV humor last night courtesy of Bill Maher. I left the news coverage just to see how he would do in the wake of this tragedy. He seemed uncomfortable and more than a bit irritated. (Jay Leno was not helping things with his interruptions!) There was enough on the domestic political side for some laughs.

Scott Whitmore said...

(Ken: apologies for 'going political' in this comment; I understand if you elect to delete it instead)

Peter -- To quote one of my Navy XO's favorite phrases, I think you're painting with too broad a brush. And in the process, in my opinion, helping the cause of the extremists.

Any grouping of people centered around a core cause -- be that cause a religion, a political party, or even rooting for a sports team -- will feature varying interpretations of the cause, and varying levels of commitment to the cause. In other words, there are casual fans of the team who watch the games, want the team to win, but shrug their shoulders if they don't and hope for a better result next time.

And then there are the fans who feel their lives are over if the team loses. Who get mad and punch walls or other people, and maybe drink too much because of the loss. And there are people of varying level of interest in between and around these groups on the spectrum of fandom.

So, how are you helping the extremists if you decide all X are evil instead of focusing your concerns on the part of the spectrum that is really causing a problem? Simply this: when enough people join you in deciding "All X are evil and must be dealt with" then the moderate or even causal X folks are faced with a difficult decision. They must decide to let you destroy them, either physically or by abandoning their cause -- which may well be an integral and sustaining part of their lives, like a religion -- or they can grudgingly ally themselves with the extremists for their own protection.

In the end, I suppose, you'll feel justified because you'll have helped make your own theory true. The sad truth, though, is it doesn't have to go that way.

RonRettig said...

I went to see "It's A Mad, Mad. . . .World" on Nov. 23, 1963. This is the day after JFK was assassinated. It was at the Hollywood Cinerama Dome and I had reserved seats. I thought the comedy might relieve some of the horror. I was wrong the screening was lightly attended and it was almost as if the audience was in a trance.
NBC made a correct decision regarding cancellation the live "Undateable". This is odd for NBC as it has been unable to make correct decisions in picking shows to air for several years now.

Mark Evanier said...
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Mark Evanier said...

I went to see "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, World" at the Cinerama Dome on 11/23/63 and I remember the place being packed -- my family and I wound up in the front row where the only open seats were -- and I remember everyone loving the film and the escape from the real world. Maybe we were at different performances.

Mighty Dyckerson said...
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VP81955 said...

I'll simply say, thank God those of Westboro Baptist Church -- the so-called Christian equivalent of ISIL, ISIS, whatever -- doesn't have similar access to tools of violence. You'd see much the same thing, just as you did during the Crusades. (Indeed, the vast majority of Muslims despise jihadism, and publicly say so.) I regularly walk past the Islamic Center on Vermont between 3rd and 6th streets, and those I see there are peaceful, friendly and easy to talk with. I'm not going to avoid them because of a few extremists.

I feel for those series that filmed episodes last night; I'm guessing a few of them ran longer than usual because they probably required a few extra takes on some scenes.

cd1515 said...

not sure I agree Ken.
entertainers and sports leagues can provide a valuable diversion in times of tragedy.
people need to get away and can use a lift.
I understand the people working in said event may not feel working, but guess what, that happens with regular people every day who'd prefer not to work during times of personal stress, but they soldier on. (no pun intended)

Joe Blow said...

We hear always harsh self-criticism by Americans and other western nations. This is driven by a very noble impulse---the passion for justice that is at the core of western culture. It is unique in a world of blind nationalism that is driven by "depraved ideologies", whether they be religious, political, philosophical, or the absence of any ideology---just brute force grabbing power.

Two people (above) have presented their differing opinions in a reasonable and respectful way. In nations where individualism is supreme, each person must decide what he/she thinks is the solution to these mindless, barbaric attacks. Self-defense is a right and a moral obligation. I've read that 20 to 30% of Muslims are extremists or sympathize with them, so 70 to 80% believe in a peaceful form of that religion. Unfortunately, that means millions and millions of people favor the kind of attacks that took place in Paris last night. Those who are in leadership positions in the western world must feel an enormous responsibility to protect the citizens of their countries from these barbarians. I pray they have the wisdom and the courage to do the right thing.

DwWashburn said...

r/e Ron and Mark's comment --

It's somewhat ironic that TCM had a regularly scheduled showing of Mad World last night.

Anonymous said...

@VP81955

"I'll simply say, thank God those of Westboro Baptist Church -- the so-called Christian equivalent of ISIL, ISIS, whatever -- doesn't have similar access to tools of violence."

Call your meter reader. I think your moral equivalence meter is broken.

Anonymous said...

What worries me is the anti-semitic atmosphere in France that is causing many Jewish citizens who are law abiding and productive to leave, while encouraging and tolerating muslim immigration, who for the most part are just the opposite. Now, France is unfortunately paying the price. All of Europe now has a very very big problem....

FrenchGuy-- said...

@Anonymous, This is not true. Don't let this guy who wants to bring all jews in one country mislead you. Put this on youtube: "Envoyé spécial - France 2 - 15 oct 2015 - Kippa". I hope you understand French.

Catfish Cooper said...

It was interesting to watch "Undateable" LIVE! Rerun. I had seen this episode live, and wondered (as many have on your prev blogs) if watching a rerun of an originally aired live episode would be just as good, worse or better. I was able to tell where they
made the flow quicker, even leaving in a few of the "crack-ups" from the actors, it still played very well and loved it. Funny cause I could watch 439 different shows on my APPS but chose to dig in to this different way to watch a comedy...Love Your Blog Ken!

D. McEwan said...

"VP81955 said...
I'll simply say, thank God those of Westboro Baptist Church -- the so-called Christian equivalent of ISIL, ISIS, whatever -- doesn't have similar access to tools of violence"


Ah, they do! Those weapons are far easier to come by here in gun-crazy America than in France, which has better gun laws than we do. Perhaps the difference is that their sick religion makes suicide a sin, whereas the terrorists' sick religion makes suicide-bombing martyrdom a blessing with heavenly rewards.

In any event, the problem is not A religion; it's Religion!

Roger Owen Green said...

I recall that an episode of the Dick van Dyke Show was recorded shortly after JFK's assassination - Happy Birthday and Too Many More - and they filmed sans audience.

alecwriter120 said...

I liked "Undatable". Now I really like "Undatable". Good call.

Andy Rose said...

Interesting that your list includes "United States" and "Buffalo Bill," two series reknowned for having some of the most unlikable main characters in the history of sitcoms. Do you think the creators should have given them some redeeming qualities to find an audience, or do you think the audience eventually would have appreciated the shows without any changes?

I don't know of any broadcast network commercial break that is 8:00 long. Some basic cable shows are in that neighborhood, especially with feature films (which they don't expect anyone to watch in their entirety anyway). A lot of unscripted shows on Discovery now have very short, self-contained "cluster buster" segments in the middle of a break to make it seem not quite as long. Likewise, AMC likes to lard up their breaks of their most popular shows with a lot of promos and teases that makes them inordinately long.

Broadcast networks occasionally run a break approaching 5:00, but that's largely because they like to run shows in a "seamless" format now, with one show flowing directly into another. They take the station break that used to come at the end of the show and combine it with a network break in the middle of the show, making for one extra-long break, but without affecting the total break time.

Andy Rose said...

I just realized I posted the comment above in the wrong location. I meant for it to be attached to your Friday Questions post.

Anonymous said...

@ D McEwan:

"In any event, the problem is not A religion; it's Religion!"

Or alternatively maybe it's intolerance for other people's religion.