Entire network (CBS) jumps the shark


To move on… OK, so I’m the last guy to hear this, but I was startled to read this morning that CBS has a show coming up that is based on the inimitable Twitter feed, “Shit My Dad Says.”

My first thought was that the Smothers Brothers have got to be rolling over in their … well, whatever they’re in, since theoretically they’re still alive. This is the network that found them too controversial while NBC was doing “Laugh-In.”

And “Shit My Dad Says”… well, here are some samples (another OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE ALERT!):

“Don’t focus on the one guy who hates you. You don’t go to the park and set your picnic down next to the only pile of dog shit.”
12:41 PM Jun 28th
“Look, we’re basically on earth to shit and fuck. So unless your job’s to help people shit or fuck, it’s not that important, so relax.”
9:08 PM Jun 4th
“They’re offended? Fuck, shit, asshole, shitfuck; they’re just words…Fine. Shitfuck isn’t a word, but you get my point.”
7:58 PM May 21st
“Waking up when you got a baby, you feel like you drank a bottle of whiskey the night before, except the shit’s in someone else’s pants.”
2:30 PM Apr 12th
“I found some shit in your room…No, I found actual shit. Feces…Well I should hope it’s from your shoes, otherwise what the fuck?”
3:34 PM Apr 8th

Get the idea? Yes, the title is highly and literally descriptive of the content, because this Dad does indeed say it — and one other word — a lot. I mean, these posts occasionally make me laugh, but the vocabulary is really limited. Occasionally there’s one that doesn’t depend on those two operative words, such as:

“Engagement rings are pointless. Indians gave cows…Oh sorry, congrats on proposing. We good now? Can I finish my indian story?”

11:35 AM Jun 17th

“No. Humans will die out. We’re weak. Dinosaurs survived on rotten flesh. You got diarrhea last week from a Wendy’s.”

3:10 PM May 26th

“War hero? No. I was a doc in Vietnam. My job was to say “This is what happens when you screw a hooker, kid. Put this cream on your pecker.”

2:00 PM Mar 16th via web

But on the whole, there’s a theme here. And it’s not ready for prime time.

But fear not. Turns out that this CBS offering is sufficiently tame that it would not even bother the Smothers Brothers censors. Start with the fact that they wimped out on the name, then view the unbelievably insipid preview above. Generic, unremarkable TV sitcom. No originality. No crackle. No pop.

Not that I’m saying they should use the real name or content on a TV show. They shouldn’t. But I’m not the programming genius who pitched this idea. And the fact that someone did, and sold it to this point, says something about the utter desperation of Old Media when it tries to engage New Media.

Basically nothing about the original Twitter version that gives me an occasional laugh survives to the small screen. William Shatner’s supposed zingers sound as though they were written by one of those writers who pen dialogue for smart-alecky kids on generic sitcoms that I would only watch if they tied me down and pinned my eyelids open like they did Alex in “A Clockwork Orange.”

The essence is totally lost. As lost as… well, it reminds me of that early SNL skit in which a singing group called “The Young Caucasians” emasculates Ray Charles’ “Wha’d I Say.”

This, folks, is an old medium dying, and reaching out to something new for salvation in a way that is pathetic.

Of course, one may argue that it happened long ago, but at this point we can definitely say that CBS has jumped the shark.

17 thoughts on “Entire network (CBS) jumps the shark

  1. Brad

    Ow. THAT hurt.

    Naw. I just wanted to make an observation about the sad cluelessnes of network TV trying to be “with it” by borrowing from new media, and felt like you needed a sample to get just how far off the original was.

    And I did it with a divided mind. Should I have avoided the direct quotes? Y’all be the judges…

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    There are many offensive things in the world, my dear. One needn’t write about them….

    but some of that was snicker-worthy….

  3. Brad

    I wasn’t so much writing ABOUT the offensive thing, as about the fecklessness of television.

    Of course, I suppose I should be applauding. At least it’s not another (insert word that guy’s Dad would say) “reality show”…

  4. Doug Ross

    William Shatner? Sounds like the past tense for the name of the show. It’s just Archie Bunker all over again with a more lenient censor.

    I think it’s interesting in the fact that there are so many television channels today that the networks are left to mine the internet for some tiny nuggets of an idea to try and squeeze a buck out of advertisers. They steal shows from Japan (Wipeout), BBC (The Office)… it’s a copycat world with very few new ideas.

    The networks will eventually go the way of traditonal daily newspapers.

    Niche’s are where the riches are now.

  5. Kathryn Fenner


    When one writes LIVE NUDE GIRLS, one does so not to drive traffic to one’s blog, but to decry those who would do so.

  6. Brad

    Absolutely. In fact, I’m going to run write a post with “LIVE NUDE WOMEN” in the headline, as a public service. (Note that I said “women” instead of “girls” so as not to be exploitative.)

    But seriously… Note I just said “jumps the shark” in the headline. I thought that was sedate and tasteful. It’s not like those posts on which I put “Ron Paul” in the headline just to draw traffic…

    How about “Ron Paul decries LIVE NUDE WOMEN”?

  7. Kathryn Fenner

    I think you might want to use “girls” cuz that’s what they’re trawling for.

    or “Free Porn”

  8. Kathryn Fenner

    @Doug–In defense of The Office–the American one is a whole nother thing from the Brit one after the first season. The first season was lousy–just translated the Brit series into an American cast, but then it morphed into something deeper and more nuanced.

    I think the Brits and cable have it right–short series that may or may not have additional seasons. Then move on.

    There are plenty of great short stories that could be dramatized….

  9. Doug Ross

    ““Ron Paul decries LIVE NUDE WOMEN”?”

    That would not be keeping with the spirit of Libertarianism. Please retract that lie.

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    Ron Paul supports LIVE NUDE WOMEN!

    Nikki Haley Nude Pics

    Obama Birth Certificate [or is that finally over?]

  11. Doug Ross


    I agree re: The Office. The American version is better (although Ricky Gervais at his best is slightly better than Steve Carrell, the rest of the American cast is far better). In fact, I think the Jim-Pam wedding episode may have been one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen. I went to see Carrell’s movie “Date Night” this summer and came away thinking that I laugh far more often in 22 minutes of The Office than I did in the 2 hour movie.

  12. Brad

    I, too, support live nude women. Given the chance.

    Doug, I’ll admit that from what little I’ve seen of it, the American ripoff — I mean, homage — is pretty funny. But I’m really, really loyal to the original. And it’s not just David Brent, even though he makes it. What about Tim, and Gareth? And that hot chick from the other branch that Tim briefly has a thing with (Rachel)?

    I haven’t seen that wedding version, but how can anything beat the wonderful “retreat” episode in which David hijacks the session from the consultant, and runs home to get his guitar to show off his talents as singer/songwriter?

  13. Kathryn Fenner

    @Doug–it’s very hard to sustain comedy for two hours. This Is Spinal Tap, and the Christopher Guest movies–are they even two hours–are the only lasting chuckles for me–The Monty Python movies, with the exception of Life of Brian, are a collage of skits on a topic, and quite good, too.

    Brad–you can like them both, you know? David Brent is, like all Ricky Gervais characters, a bit hard to watch under some circumstances–there’s a really painful piece there that Steve Carell doesn’t bring–have you read the recent New Yorker profile of Steve Carell? Apparently he is not all messed up like other comedians.I like the truth in his Michael Scott–makes it funnier for me–but then he IS a Second City alum, the place that brought you Truth in Comedy!

  14. Doug T

    Having never seen an episode of Seinfeld or Friends or a bunch of other popular shows, I got hooked on The Office. I laugh so hard the show leaves me wrung out but satisfied.

    That’s what SHE said. : )


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