All posts by Dave

Panic 9-1-1 Made Its Debut. Might Be Too Harsh for TV Though

Well,at least for now it looks like this show is offer the air. I originally wrote this piece around the time of the 3rd episode (Dec 2012)-where I predicted the show wouldn’t last too long. And right on cue the show went off the air. I think it might come back in a few weeks after the dust settles. Maybe late January 2013

So what happened. Well, a bunch of (white) kids got pretty bad deaths at the hands of a gunman, then a different guy shot up some people in a mall, then ANOTHER guy shot up some firemen in upper NY. In fact I think ANOTHER dude got shot in the heads in broad daylight in crowded-ass NYC. So here in Chicago tons of (black) kids have been getting shot to death for several years running and people just sort of go  “tsk, tsk, tsk, those people…” but it’s been very sad.  Real life crime is pretty tough on the system, and trying to market it as entertainment is a dicey trick. it CAN be done but it needs a certain amount of buffering. 911 calls are the pure, uncut stuff–and then to ADD reenactments! Sheesh.

The A&E network debuted a new show recently and it’s called Panic 9-1-1. And by the way those hyphens are part of the title, I assume that’s because they want to make sure you can tell the difference between 911 the event and their show.

I’ve watched the first two episodes and tonight a third episode is coming on. So far I’ve seen a guy take a gun store hostage I’ve seen a woman at home alone and we had listened to her while she was being stalked and raped, we’ve seen a couple of young girls drown, and of course more attempted rape. Obviously this program is trying to make everybody rush out and buy some sort of ADT home security system. And I think people SHOULD have some kind of  home security and/or in-home secured gun (depending on WHO is living in the house by the way).

But this program is probably doomed to well my thinking is that it comes from an incident that happened a few months ago failure. It’s way too heavy for the average person. There’s a fine line between entertainment and watchability. And I think this program crosses that line. The premise of the program is in the going to take recorded 911 calls and play them back, and that seems pretty okay until you really think about it. It’s not okay because 911 calls are people getting robbed, people getting killed, people getting raped–and you have to listen to it.

So where does a show like this come from? My feeling is that the show comes from an incident that happened a few months where a woman at home alone with her child called an operator and had the asked operator should I kill the people trying to break into my house. And she ended up shooting one of the two guys that broken. And gun activists everywhere finally had their episode they finally had the incident they’ve been talking about for years. And they collectively scream “see I told you so I told you so.” In fact in one episode of the show itself they actually depicted an exact repeat of this episode.

911 kill

But that brings up a good question; who wants to see a show like this? Including all of the reenactments in the commercial breaks that are cliffhangers. There’s tension and then there is unpleasantness. People in America seem to enjoy hearing about crime. But I don’t know if the one I really watch it happen. One of the very first things I did when I get my Internet connection in the mid-nineties was explore the Internet. And one of the things I discovered was a website that was all 911 phone calls and I listen to an old lady have her home and a invaded for about half an hour, and then the rape that follow–the whole thing was on audiotape. But it was very disturbing as you might imagine. And it’s been a full 15 almost 20 years and I haven’t been back any web sites like that. That does not fall under the category of entertainment, it’s interesting to hear that it exist but I don’t know if people wanna watch this type of show on a weekly basis.

As I said the only people who might get into it are gun nuts and security people who want to use it to threaten other people. I tried to hang with it, but I was about to about to bail on the show, I gun in there to write this piece. My really big question was; would they take a racial angle? I mean, when it comes to crime you can VERY easily slant the racial aspect. Recently I think the 25th or 30 new season of “Cops” debuted and for the first….5 solid years it was like all black guys being chased around with a few shirtless/toothless black guy. The show was pretty created during the “crack” craze and all the news looked like a crack show itself. So the show was clearly getting in on the bandwagon.

But after a few years the sheer volume of whit folks doing crime made them spread out and FINALLY include the white criminals. But take a show like A and E’s “the first 48” well, they want murder crimes that need to be solved in 2 days so of course the skews Black. It doesn’t HAVE it, they COULD feature White, Latino and Asian but….it doesn’t feed into the stereotype, so they don’t. But let’s be real, at this stage, I’m more surprised when people do the right thing then when they do the wrong thing, so I’m not about to hit the streets with a  picket sign.

Well I Discovered a Cartoon Called Adventure Time and Everybody Already Knows About it

So the title of this piece pretty much says what happened; I just found out about Adventure Time. And I like it. I’m not sure why and I’m not super dooper crazy about it. But generally I like it. I mean, it’s no Fullmetal Alchemist but it’s waaaaaay better than most animated American shows made for kids.

Here’s the deal; looking back I’d say I like a lot of cartoon shoes about boys with magical powers and/or doing adventures. It probably started for me with Prince Planet. Back in the day that was MY SHOW! And yeah Clutch Cargo and Johnny Quest were a lot of fun-but I think even then I understood that shows were crazy informative with real facts and that left a lasting impression. Hence my degree in Anthropology.

But even in recent years I’ve gravitated to super boy type shows. Dexter’s Lab, Danny Phantom, Ben 10 and of course Fullmetal. Hell, maybe I want/ed to BE a super boy.

At any rate Finn and Jake on Adventure time represent a real departure from even the shows I listed. I’d honestly have to say it captures ACTUAL young people’s state of mind most accurately. I mean, looking back on my youth I think that’s how I thought when I was 11-13. And that’s certainly one of my favorite age for girls; its before they get sexual and self-conscious and they’re still loud and full of energy and can still run and jump rope and they’re funny and make funny faces. That all disappears by 14 for them. And in boys, they’re not quite ready to get in the chest pounding he-man fist fights but they’re brave enough to go on little adventures and try stunts. But they still sorta, kinda believe in magical of fantasy type reality. They haven’t quite closed the door on the realm of the spooky. And parents usually let them run around alone a little. In this era of abduction that’s sort of going away, but generally moms and dads will let them run around out of sight so kids that age can still do little adventures.

So this show seems to catch that spirit. I mean there’s a lot of funny voices, and yelling and screaming and wailing and every little thing is GIANT. Plus they use tons and tons of hip lingo, just like real kids. So it feels real. And let’s not even talk about the romance. All the romance that’s going on is this conflicted and confused and unrequited stuff. I think that tone the show goes with really captures that brief time in our lives very well.

Anyway, here’s a link to the pilot episode.

Mr. Box Office and The First Family Are Byron Allen’s Squandering Talent

Byron, Byron, Byron. Even your name foreshadows your character. So about a month or 2 back I put a few comments on the forum section of the Internet Movie Database about these 2 show I accidentally stumbled across. The shows were so bad, but the people were so famous I was confused. I mean, I was asking myself, are these new shows? Old? New, but produced overseas or something? I just couldn’t figure out what the deal was. So I went to IMDb to try and figure out what was going on.

The 2 shows are new AND they’ve already been given a 100 episode greenlight. That could be 4 or more CALENDAR years that these shows are on the air. As bad as they are, So down below you can see my reasoning on how and why this happened. But right now I’d like to talk about the squandering issue.

You see, both of these shows feature large cast or relatively well known and strong performers. But they’re terrible shows. The word “hack” comes to mind. You know those punch lines you see coming a mile away and those plot twist you see26 minutes in advance. I mean, you can figure out a whole episode as soon as they come on. And it’s just hard, hard, hard to believe that somebody saw these and said, “Yes! In fact give me BOTH shows.”

 

Well, the key to the groan level quality is Byron Allen.

UPDATE. Can you believe since I wrote this article, I”ve had a good look at my stats, and it’s funny as hell. In fact it’s the funniest thing about Byron; the people searching for information about his shows can’t believe how bad his stuff is. Check out this search string right below. The funny thing on TOP of the funny thing is that my page is the 35th result.

Byron Allen awful

It’s weird, during the 80’s Byron and Arsenio had a sort of neck and neck thing going in terms of their acts; a sort of non-threatening “isn’t that strange” take on things. But Arsenio zigged and Byron zagged and they had totally different careers.

Byron just kind of stayed in that bland, ho-hum type humor. When it’s just him, his humor doesn’t hurt so bad, but once an entire show, with a full cast, is built around what he thinks is funny–it just doesn’t result in belly laughs.

Looking back, Byron disappeared for a looooong time, then it seemed like he came up with the idea “if I can’t BE in showbiz I can get a press pass, interview people, and at least share the screen with people who ARE in showbiz.” And he did that for a while, sold that interview show in syndication, built up his bank account, met a bunch of people and built up a track record.

Cut to a few years later, he came up with the comedy round table show where HE didn’t have to be funny, just host funny comics. So he did that for a while and then decided to go for the Tyler Perry sit-com model. And now we’ve got Byron producing this sit-com and the equally painful to watch First Family.

So I give the man an A+ for sticking to it all these years. But a solid D for execution. Given his history and knowledge of the industry, for him to have put that much effort into casting but NOT into writers is criminal. And why I agree with the thread’s main point-this won’t last long.

Later I said

well, I did say the guy had a serious knowledge of the industry. So I’m guessing he worked some incredible deal; like maybe cutting production cost to the bone and showing stats to prove it would still be profitable. Then getting the 100 episode commitment to convince the actors to get on board.

“It has been cleared in more than 85% of the U.S. Entertainment Studios first shot pilots for the sitcoms, which are getting initial orders of 104 episodes each.”
http://www.deadline.com/2012/05/byron-allens-entertainment-studios-clears-syndicated-sitcom-block-for-fall-12-launch/

But it’s shocking and insulting that enough people would collectively push this kind of crap on viewers. It’s really insulting and pretty much says “they’ll watch anything.” But who knows, maybe there’s a master plan to get REALLY good by episode 99.