Tag Archives: television sitcoms

The Late Late Bang

It’s a great day in America!  Why?  Because Craig Ferguson is bringing crossover television back for your viewing pleasure.

At the top of his show last week, Craig appeared in a mini-episode of “The Big Bang Theory” — in true crossover style — and then had the cast take over his show for the rest of the night in a collection of sketches and interviews.

Hilarity ensued.

Thanks, Craig.  We used to depend on television sitcoms and their associated spin-offs for crossover nights.  You know, when Doug from “King of Queens” would appear on “Everybody Loves Raymond” — the show that birthed his series — and vicey versey.

Or remember the night that Paul Reiser’s character on “Mad About You” caused a blackout that affected everyone on “Friends”?  Even though those two series weren’t spin-offs, they did share a common setting — New York City — and the character of Phoebe’s sister, Ursula Buffay, who waited tables at their favorite restaurant.

I guess it makes sense that it would take a show outside of the TV sitcom realm to remind us that crossover television works.  Sitcoms have only recently regained their stronghold on the prime time schedule — thank you, “Modern Family” — and the only spin-offs of late have been the ever redundant “CSI’ and “Law and Order.”

Take a lesson from the Craigy Ferg, programmers everywhere.  Crossover TV is fun.

And it’s great for America!

MacMarketing

The MacGruber movie opens today, and I think it’s going to be hilarious.

Perhaps I’ll be disappointed…but I don’t think so.  And here’s why.

Even as a sketch, “Saturday Night Live” found a way to heighten the funny in each MacGruber episode.  The last one this season, which featured the incomparable Betty White as MacGruber’s freaky grandmother, was off-the-charts.

For the movie, the writers and directors dropped MacGruber into an 80’s-style action film.  The plot sounds like one big ol’ cliche that our hero repeatedly blows up.  “His methods may be unorthodox. His crime scenes may get messy. But if you want the world saved right, you call in MacGruber.”

What’s not to love?

Reportedly the movie is so dirty, it almost got an NC-17 rating, so very little could be shown in the trailers.  (Another way to get butts in the seats.)   But my favorite bit of move marketing that MacGruber employed that is a first — at least that I’ve seen — is the use of television show-specific trailers.

For example, the MacGruber trailer that ran this Thursday in the NBC sitcom “Community” was a mock PSA that MacGruber and his sidekick, Vicki St. Elmo, did about community colleges.  They did similar PSAs in “Parks & Recreation,” “The Office,” and “30 Rock.”

These might have been necessary due to the lack of footage appropriate to the television audience.  But I think film marketers everywhere should take note.  Talk about movie marketing that grabs your audience’s attention.

Plus, each ad ends with a MacGruber explosion.

Genius!

“Today” bites

The phrase “jump the shark” was born in 1977.  On the sitcom “Happy Days”, the Fonz donned water skis during a trip to Los Angeles and jumped a shark tank to prove his bravery.  At that moment, our favorite 50’s family took a fateful step toward — or was it into — something very wrong.

At that point, “Happy Days” had been on the air for five years, and hung around for another seven before its demise.  But even the stars of the show saw the writing on the wall and started exiting en mass.

This morning, the long-running “Today Show” not only jumped the shark, but I’m pretty sure the shark caught it in its mouth, chewed it up and spit it out.

The usually dignified Matt Lauer and the rest of the “Today Show” crew gathered at Medieval Times to shoot a piece about what they do in their ‘down time.’  Dressed in medieval gear, they chowed down at a feast in the Hall of Arms and then were challenged by the King to defend his honor in a battle of arms.

Shockingly, the “Today Show” gang won the highly choreographed fight and were individually knighted by the King and his daughter.

When they returned to the studio, Matt’s comment “If anyone is still watching…” was a little too close to the money.  The piece wasn’t funny at all; it played like bad children’s theatre.

Then they went to commercial promoting the fact that Meredith was producing the fourth hour of the show.

Oh yes, the “Today Show” has jumped the shark.

The question is:  will it take a cast change to right the ship?