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Pilot Error: More Shitcoms – Laugh Tracks Mixed With Tears

Time for more Shitcoms.

Lets start with the 1989 (this is important damn it) “supernatural comedy” Shivers. Why is the 1989 important? Because the internet is full of morons. See in 1998 there was a DRAMA series pilot also called Shivers that was not picked up… and people can’t seem to comprehend that that pilot and this one are NOT THE SAME DAMN THING. THIS one is from 1989 despite the internet labeling it as 1998. Geeze.

Anyway, this Shivers (1989) was made for CBS and stars Lesley-Anne Down (perennial soap opera actress) and Mark Lindsay Chapman (Dr. Anton Arcane from the Swamp Thing TV series) leading a family of misfit ghosts as they attempt to adjust to “life” with the new owners of their home, a bland father and his two equally boring children.

Benign ghosts that try to scare off and then befriend the humans in their old home you say? Why yes, this did come out less than a year after Beetlejuice. Not a cash in I am sure… Shenanigans take place and how the hell anyone thought this could be an ongoing series just shows that cocaine was indeed a hell of a drug.

Courtney Gains (werido Klopek from The Burbs’) is one of the ghosts and plays his part as if this were a cartoon whereas the other ghosts act as if they are in a period drama. The living characters are all dull as you expect and have no personalities at all. Besides being painfully unfunny the fact that various members of the cast seem to think they are in a different kind of show this is an excruciating 22 minutes.

Life On Parole is the 2003 pilot for FOX starring David Herman, Jon Polito and Ana Ortiz as parole officers and the odd people that they have to deal with day in and day out. This is all complicated when main character Dave finds his heart is too big and he lets one of his parolees sleep on his couch (2 months and counting), he also has to train the new girl and deals with idiots as “clients”.

Here is the thing… while I don’t think this pilot works (I can see why it was not picked up) some of the wordplay and character interactions DO work. There was some potential here with maybe one more re-write on the plot (the weakest parts are the parts that move the plot along) it may have gelled.

I wonder if FOX regrets passing on this as it was produced by some nobody named Judd Apatow. Filmed as a single camera comedy with no laugh track it was actually kind of funny and with a little work could have been something.

Sick In The Head was another Judd Apatow production that was not picked up and man this one is BAD. Trio aired this years ago as a “Brilliant But Canceled” special (and now Trio does not even exist any longer).  Apparently Trio and I have different ideas of what “Brilliant” means as I found this pilot to be tedious and not the least bit funny. Critics and I have a differing meaning as well since many TV critics hail this terrible piece of crap as some unsung classic. What are they seeing that I am not?

The plot is about a fresh out of college shrink that gets too close to his patients and finds himself always on the edge. Nothing funny whatsoever happens in this. NOTHING! Did I miss some kind of Tim and Eric kind of so unfunny that it becomes funny thing?

A very young David Krumholtz is our main character and he delivers his lines like he is rehearsing, rather then filming. Amy Poehler is simply GRATING and she is trying so hard to be “wacky” that even Jim Carrey might ask her to tone it down a little.

I can’t find the pilot online and my copy is buried somewhere so here is a small clip to show you just how NOT FUCKING FUNNY THIS IS.

Some Guys comes to us from that awkward period in the late 90’s when every network was chasing Friends (god only knows why as Friends was the most insipid sitcom out there until Big Bang Theory reared up).

Samantha Mathis, Julie Bowen and John DiMaggio (yeah, Bender in a live action role) head up the cast of this sitcom pilot so obscure it does not even have an IMDB listing. Until I uploaded this pilot (see below) NO ONE had heard of this. For good reason, it’s awful.

I mean it when I saw this is a COMPLETE Friends knock off (cash in?). The set is similar, the character dynamics are similar, the delivery is similar… this almost a clone of friends with a cast change. Also, it’s just as brutally unfunny as Friends is so it has that going for it.

Mathis is giving this tripe her all… Bowen is quite good as the dyke now swimming up current since she now dates guys (she uses the term dyke to describe herself in the show, I am not being homophobic) and DiMaggio is weird here. He uses this thick Brooklyn accent that is honestly distracting. I had seen him in some of his early live action work (he did a full season of Chicago Hope) but it always takes me a while to reconcile that this huge surfer looking dude is Bender.

Why has no one heard of this? I have no idea. Honestly I have seen WAY worse (Super Nerds was a much harder sit). It always strikes me as odd when one of these emerges with no IMDB listing even. There are some solid names here and yet… no one want to takes credit (blame?) for this.

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