Over at Dead Things on Sticks, they wanna know why everybody hates Cavemen. They rather liked the “new” version of the pilot, apparently, which changed a whole lot from the unaired pilot (it was a complete reshoot), and think it to be much better than most of the season’s other new sitcom offerings. (This is fair, because Back To You is bad and Carpoolers is one of the worst shows to be introduced in living memory. The Big Bang Theory, on the other hand, is pretty sharply written at times.)
Here’s the thing. I saw the unaired pilot and it was terrible. No, really. It was terrible. Completely horrible in every way imaginable. Completely unfunny, in that if you simply imagined the cavemen as black people – which was the show’s big conceit – it wasn’t daring or clever or insightful, and it didn’t even have good gags to make up for that.
I’ll give the revamped Cavemen one more try, because I hate to condemn anything sight unseen – but it has to really knock it out of the park, because here is the simple truth: the concept is stupid. Not impressively, enjoyably stupid either. It’s just kind of dumb in a sort of third-grade “and then a dinosaur shows up” sort of way.
Good writing has to be really, really good to overcome that innate sense of “why the hell am I watching this’ that Cavemen generates all by itself. It’s a hell of a hurdle. Buffy The Vampire Slayer managed it, for example, because the Buffy concept is kind of ludicrous (albeit more acceptable than Cavemen, because it’s just a new take on your classic superhero story), but Buffy had the writing chops to suspend your disbelief – and remember all the shows that tried to jump into the Buffy mold and failed miserably (Dark Angel, Tru Calling, probably soon we can add Bionic Woman…).
But regardless, I am nothing if not a fairminded individual, so here’s one more chance for Cavemen. Into the Bittorrent queue it goes.