Tonight was the 300th episode of MADtv. So is that a milestone, or a prelude to the end? I gotta tell you MADtv has gotten strange. I once heard a an expression that goes, “a bulb burns brightest before it burns out.” Or maybe it was about stars (celestial not
The show has always been compared to Saturday Night Live, but that’s only because it airs on Saturday nights. In no other way does it compare. It is a very different kind of humor, and as far as I can tell the shows creation comes from an entirely different place; we all know the history of SNL. Lorne was the driving force of SNL, and Quincy Jones was the producer of MADtv-and at this point
To me, MADtv came out of very strange moment in history. For a while FOX was a new and struggling network, and in those days they realized that appealing to minority groups (meaning Black) viewers were a more realistic demographic than trying to go after the 3 major network’s viewers. Why try to poach Seinfeld or Friends fans? Just go after the underserved Black viewers. And they were VERY successful with that. In Living Color, and Living Single made FOX a lot of money. Enough money to eventually dump the color format. And MADtv is from that era of programming.
Originally this year I thought Mad wasn’t coming back. Their season got off to a very late start. And the first thing you notice is the format change. They’ve moved the show to some sort of club and essentially become a “clips show.” They go to clips after a humorous presentation, which they did in the past also, but now it feels less like it’s live. At least before you had the illusion that it was live. But Mr. Show is Mr. Show and this ain’t Mr. Show. Bob and Dave had that format and it worked for them. There is also a group in LA called the Ministry of Unknown Science that does a pretty good live version, but I’m not feeling it from
They’ve added a couple of new “ethnic” cast members. Where in the past they would go Black for color (except for Bobby Lee, of course), this year they went to the Spanish speaking community. And as usual, I feel the performers are actually stronger than the writing. But my feeling is the show won’t be back next year, despite the changes. In fact, it almost looks like the changes were a last ditch effort. Your thoughts?