Posts tagged as brilliantly cancelled

Is 'Christmas Comes to Pac-Land' the Worst Christmas Special Ever?

Christmas Comes to Pac-Land generally finds itself atop lists of weirdest and worst holiday specials. Ignoring most of the tropes associated with seasonal programming, Pac-Land is pretty upfront with its intentions. Essentially a 22-minute commercial for the Pac-Man video game series, Hannah-Barbara must have felt beholden to the game’s central plot, offering Pac-Man little or nothing to do outside of collecting power-pellets, fending off ghosts, and locating Christmas presents. Without any interest in contributing to the tradition of holiday television, Christmas Comes to Pac-Land teaches children to consume as quickly and gluttonously as possible.

In the 1980s, anything from cat-eating Aliens to Adolf Hitler could be turned into a [...]

'That’s My Bush': Inside Matt Stone and Trey Parker's Short-Lived Presidential Parody

By the year 2000, Matt Stone and Trey Parker could do no wrong. South Park was entering its fourth season with no signs of slowing down, and one year earlier, their hit movie version of the cartoon earned them an Oscar nomination. But the greatest sign of their hold over Comedy Central and pop culture came about when they went after the leader of the free world week-to-week.

That’s My Bush, a sitcom about the political and personal shortcomings of George W. Bush, took Stone and Parker’s trust in the viewer further than anything they had done on before. They staged a sitcom that seemed to promise scathing political [...]

The Late Night War Nobody Asked For: Howard Stern Destroys Magic Johnson's Late Night Show from Within

Things weren’t looking too good for Magic Johnson in the summer of 1998. The Magic Hour, Johnson’s late night talk show and 20th Century Fox’s answer to the Late Show with David Letterman and, of course, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, was tanking. Four weeks after its premiere, the show, weighed down by strong competition and Magic’s inexperience, couldn’t withstand the critical beating and steadily declining ratings that terrified affiliates. The Magic Hour had to shake things up and it had to do it fast.

The cards were stacked against Magic from the beginning. The former basketball superstar was admittedly robotic on camera and had neither the standup [...]

Watching the Hitler-Based Sitcom Pilot (Yes, Really) 'Heil Honey I'm Home'

Sometimes TV shows drag their unfunny, uninteresting, yet highly rated feet across our living rooms for years. “Who let this happen?” we ponder as our foreheads turn red from frequent smacks. Other times, the powers that be get things right. That’s where “Brilliantly Canceled” comes in, looking at the shows that didn’t pass their pilot and saved us all a ton of grief. 

Upon viewing the pilot for the British comedy Heil Honey I'm Home, several questions come to mind. "What am I doing in Hitler's house? Why are his neighbors Jewish? Why is he calling me ‘honey’?" All fair concerns when discussing one of history's most vile and [...]

How 'Shasta McNasty' Brought Rap Rock to Primetime and Killed the 90s

Shasta McNasty was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Lewd, crude, and politically incorrect, Shasta McNasty took American Pie-vulgarity and brought it to primetime. Feeding off the oozing machismo of its lead in, UPN’s WWF Smackdown, the show was an accumulation of all the things 1999 was and would mean for the future. The characters were unlikable, stupid, and criminal, playing for an era still riding high on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s gigantic foam middle finger, Fred Durst’s backwards red Yankee caps, and the nihilistic misogyny that brought Eminem to the top of the charts. Shasta McNasty looks and feels like 1999, because it was a scrapbook of [...]

'The 1/2 Hour News Hour': How Fox News's 'Daily Show' Did to Comedy what Fox News Does to News

The 2000 Presidential election was a mess. Far after the last ballots had been cast, miscounted chads hung throughout Florida, and America was left without a leader for months. Aside from establishing itself as the premiere American fuck up, Florida kicked off a decade defined by political partisanship without a mediator and general stupidity.

The election was ripe for satire, though, and Comedy Central wouldn't miss its chance. A re-tooled Daily Show had begun to pick up steam throughout this yearlong botched display of American party politics. Jon Stewart took aim at the unreasonable and sensationalist rants of the 24-hour news cycle with one target frequently in his crosshairs: [...]

Serious Comedy at Aaron Sorkin's 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'

In the war of the low-rated backstage-at-Saturday-Night-Live TV shows, there can be only one. And in 2006’s race to viewership mediocrity, Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, which spoofed her time as SNL’s head writer, was Christopher Lambert. And we’re all better for it.

Well, everyone was better for it, except for this guy: Aaron Sorkin.

Looking at the Elvira Sitcom That Didn't Quite Work

Few characters have had more chances to tap into the popular psyche than Elvira. Armed with no more than two massive weapons, camp value and a wicked sense of humor, Cassandra Peterson, the actress whom the world calls Elvira, rose to prominence on a wave of innuendo and boob jokes. But her impact shouldn't be understated. Elvira's move from the queen of midnight movies to national icon was no small feat.

The 1980s saw Elvira on everything. She had her own syndicated television series, a feature length movie and accompanying video game, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, as well as a host of new products: perfumes, cassette tapes, [...]

Comedy for Dummies: Jeff Dunham's Fall at the Top

My first experience with comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, unbeknownst to me, came from a t-shirt in the mall. I didn’t know what I was looking at, this turbaned skull with bloodshot eyes above the phrase “Silence! I Kill You.” What does this mean? What was it for? Had the tidal wave of Middle Eastern stereotypes extended to cheap-o t-shirts available between the Starbucks and Auntie Anne’s? What the hell was going on here?

It wasn’t until an October, 2009 episode of 30 Rock, “Stone Mountain,” that my questions were answered. In this episode, Liz goes in search of a new TGS cast member, and Jack sends her to find a [...]

Andy Dick in a 'Get Smart' Remake? What Could Go Wrong?

When Get Smart premiered in 1965, its blend of Inspector Clouseau and James Bond redefined TV comedy. And rightfully so. Show creator Mel Brooks designed Get Smart to be different. "I was sick of looking at all those nice sensible situation comedies. They were such distortions of life…I wanted to do a crazy, unreal comic-strip kind of thing about something besides a family,” said Brooks. “No one had ever done a show about an idiot before. I decided to be the first." He succeeded.

Get Smart ran for five years and, later, spawned two movies, the Raspberry-nominated The Nude Bomb and 1989’s made-for-TV Get Smart, Again! While neither rekindled any interest [...]