The Social Media Graveyard of Canceled Comedies
Dozens and dozens of new shows premiere each new TV season (and mid-season, and off-season) but only a handful live to see season two. These days, a new show has to use every tool in its arsenal to attract viewers as quickly as possible: splashy advertising, big name guest stars, over-the-top promos, and of course, a blockbuster web presence, one that gathers fans on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr who will then faithfully promote the show with homemade image macros and clever hashtags born from love. But while a show might leave our airwaves, a Facebook fan page is forever. What becomes of the social media accounts of canceled shows?
Sad things, it turns out.
If you remember NBC’s Animal Practice, it has to be for Crystal, the monkey. Why do I remember that monkey’s name when I never watched the show? Star power, presumably.
Animal Practice was canceled after just nine episodes, coinciding with its Halloween episode. Trying to give the people what they want, @AnimalPractice really doubled down on the pet costume theme in the show’s last days, with tweets like, “We’re loving these pet costumes! Are you dressing up your pet next week? #AnimalPractice” and “What’s your favorite pet outfit so far?! #AnimalPractice” and, later, “See all of the amazing #AnimalPractice pet outfits one more time in our gallery: http://bit.ly/RlDSLo,” which is a great, currently blank look back at nothing. Despite following the time-tested formula of animals + costumes = internet, it was too late for Animal Practice.
Over on the Animal Practice Tumblr, our valiant social media manager asks, “So did we put the “Ha in hospital” on last night’s #AnimalPractice?!” despite the fact that there is no “ha” in hospital, just a “ho,” as well as a “pit.”
Surprisingly, considering their robust Twitter and Tumblr presences, Animal Practice lacks an official Facebook page. Instead, it has this automatically generated page, “based on what Facebook users are interested in,” which means that the show somehow had enough fans on Facebook that a robot was forced to build this page. Related groups include “Boycott NBC’s Animal Practice,” a group that has no members (despite being a winning team!) and a features a message that reads, “This is just done to show NBC how bad of a job they did airing the Olympics including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.” Showed them.
Best Damning with Faint Praise:
Awww! Dr. Rizzo, you’re still a winner in our book! #AnimalPractice
— Animal Practice (@AnimalPractice) October 25, 2012
Yeah, you’re only a not a winner in books about ratings or continuing to be on television.
Malibu Country, Reba McEntire’s show about being both country and in Malibu, was canceled on May 10th, 2013. @Malibu_Country, the Twitter account dedicated to this updated Beverly Hillbillies, tweeted as recently as June 15th, 2014. Can’t keep a good Twitter account down! Especially not with all of the super-relatable insights the show had to offer about what it is like to be a country music superstar living in wacky, shallow Los Angeles. Everyone IS good.
Like a handful of these short-lived shows, Reba has at least one famous fan,
Mr. Taye Diggs. Keep up, Taye, they’re still tweeting!
Malibu Country’s Tumblr has gone hard on the image macros, to great effect. For example, I might not know what the quote “We’re not flower-arranging alley cats who teach screenwriting!!!” means, but that doesn’t mean that having it stamped on a picture of Reba and her TV children isn’t incredibly useful to me. This is a one-stop shop for pictures of Lily Tomlin dressed as Reba’s mom and sassy Jai Rodriquez GIFs (you know, the little one from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy).
Most Logical Image Macro:
This Valentine’s Day card featuring Reba leaning against a chair (just sit down girl, take a load off) next to the words “Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all” surrounded by a heart made of seashells. Finally, the perfect romantic gesture.
Matthew Perry’s second TV offering in many years (Mr. Sunshine appeared on screens in 2011 and was canceled in 2011), Go On was a show about a grief support group full of lovable misfits who learn and grow by talking about death a lot and having Chandler Bing behave caustically towards them. For some reason people weren’t into it.
"This is PICTURES of food!" #GoOn
— Go On (@NBCGo_On) May 1, 2013
The Go On Twitter is a repository of context-free quotes from the show and giveaways where you could win a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of the radio show that Matthew Perry’s character hosts. Occasionally, Go On’s social media manager would mix things up, like they did with this “pop quiz,” which asks what kind of lawyer Julie White’s Anne is. Judging from the responses, the Go On fanbase is torn so hopefully this wasn’t a particularly important piece of the show.
Pop Quiz! What kind of lawyer is Anne? #GoOn
— Go On (@NBCGo_On) May 6, 2013
Facebook’s fan page for this show is fairly active, and impressively international. There are pleas to bring back Go On in Spanish and Portuguese. Hard to say if these fans will be happy to hear that Matthew Perry will be back in the fall for the new Odd Couple reboot, or if they are really missing that uptight Asian lady character. One thing they definitely want, however, is access to the Secrets Police Don’t Want You to Know, as an Alex Jones video by the same name that was posted to the page on July 27th, 2014. It’s important to know your audience.
Best Possible Summation:
Go On’s last tweet features this GIF of Brett Gelman saying, “Oh, I can’t go back. It’s too boring.” Shhh, shhh, sweet Brett Gelman GIF. You don’t have to go back. It’s over now.
Partners was apparently a show on CBS. I have to admit I had no idea (someone who did have an idea? Taye Diggs’ social media account manager! He follows them too!), but it apparently concerned architect design firm partners and their life partners and one of them is gay and Brandon Routh is around so that the studio audience can go, “Wooooo!”
The Partners Twitter account’s last few notes seem to shout into the abyss for recognition: they are imploring fans to vote for the show for the People’s Choice award for Favorite New Show. The people chose.
The true power of this show’s Twitter feed lay in the program’s oft-retweeted stars. Here’s David Krumholtz on celebrity endorsements:
— David Krumholtz (@DaveKrumholtz) November 5, 2012
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) October 18, 2012
— Michael Urie (@michaelurie) October 1, 2012
Damning with Faint Praise:
— Partners (@Partners_CBS) October 8, 2012
Even as someone who was raised Irish Catholic, guilt-inducing “why aren’t you watching??” tweets don’t work on me. Come on guys. You know the answer to that.
The Outsourced Twitter account is locked. What kind of scandalous tweets could @OutsourcedNBC be trying to hide from potential employers? Sadly, my follow request is still pending and I have failed to scale this journalistic wall. But with a poorly cropped photo of lead Ben Rappoport as an avatar and absolutely no other information, we can conclude that this feed is probably all poorly cropped dick pics. Lock it up.
It feels impossible to tell if this is an official Outsourced Tumblr, but it does have an official message at the very top of its page: “NBC has canceled Outsourced for a 2nd season.” While this may make it sound as though just one season after canceling Outsourced NBC elected to revive it and cancel it again just to make sure that it was, like Michael Myers at the end of Halloween 6, absolutely and certainly dead, I believe this just refers to its one and only cancellation. Below that important PSA we are treated to memorable memes like the back of this guy’s head and this fine example of the show’s trademark brand of edgy racial humor.
Final Straw: There is no NBC-affiliated Facebook page for the show, but there is a beleaguered fan-led page. They don’t have any control over whether or not there’s a season two so STOP ASKING. They are only doing their best.
$h*! My Dad Says
One of the saddest Twitter accounts on the whole internet has to be the defunct account for a show based on a now-mostly-defunct Twitter account, $h*! My Dad Says. Obviously, @ShitMyDadSays wasn’t an option for the series, so the Shatner vehicle can be found at @MyDadSays_CBS. This is actually something my dad says all the time (“What station is this?” “CBS.”), so: okay.
This account showed a lot of restraint, only tweeting once after the show’s May 2011 cancellation, but it did put a lot of effort into promoting its finale, guest starring the one and only Camille Grammer. Oh, I’m sorry, are you not familiar with Camille Grammer? She’s just Kelsey Grammer’s ex-wife, a former Art of War-reading Real Housewife (of Beverly Hills) and a one-time dancer on MTV’s The Grind. She used to do so many things! Just like $h*! My Dad Says used to be a show.
@TheRealCamilleG talks about her budding acting career. Catch Camille as she Guest Stars on the season finale 2nite! http://bit.ly/fenO5L
— $#*! My Dad Says (@MyDadSays_CBS) February 18, 2011
While $h*! My Dad Says’s own Twitter efforts may have been overshadowed by those of its creator, their Facebook page is still up and, if not running, occasionally being commented on. As recently as June 21st, 2014, a man named Joseph McDevitt commented, “We need this show back on the air!” Sounds like the beginnings of a great grassroots campaign.
Damning with Faint Praise:
Ed + gun?! This should be an interesting episode! Tune in tonight at 8:30/7:30c. Preview: http://bit.ly/gk5IdI
— $#*! My Dad Says (@MyDadSays_CBS) February 10, 2011
Meredith Haggerty is a writer and editor in Brooklyn.