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Pilot Error: When Comedy Isn’t Funny: Behold, The Shitcom

Comedy is subjective… but damn it sometimes shit just isn’t funny.

We shall look at some of the most unfunny sitcom pilots ever… shitcoms if you will.

Patton Oswalt has always been an open geek and with him now on the illustrious Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return he is back in the public eye.

In 2000 he was less visible than he is now yet still that open geek so he wanted to show his geek pride by putting it out there for all to see… until it got leaked to the internet no one got to see Super Nerds though. It might have been better left unseen.

Two nerds (Super Nerds if you will) run a local comic book store and they rattle off geek cliches all the while being elitist jackasses. Nothing funny happens. Eventually a girl enters the picture and… then nothing funny continues to happen. The girl and a Captain Kirk bookend come between them. Nothing funny is still happening. Finally they make up. Still not a GODDAMN FUNNY THING HAPPENS!!!!

Seriously… this thing is so devoid of laughs I swear it was a “Springtime for Hitler” scam. Like Oswalt was trying to get out of a contact or something. Someone of his talent level simply can not be this unfunny.

The “jokes” consist of playing up every stereotype of guys that work in a comic store to such a ludicrous degree that it becomes cartoonish… all while adding nothing to them as “characters”. People call The Big Bang Theory “blackface for nerds” (and it is)… well this is a full minstrel show. Naming nerd things (comic book characters, scifi characters) are the joke. Nothing else… AQUAMAN! Pause for “laugh”. That kind of thing.

Oswalt was joined by comedian Brian Posehn and pseudo-comedian Sarah Silverman for the most painful 22 minutes of my life. I know I said something similar about the Gregg Araki This Is How The World Ends but that has now been surpassed. Super Nerds is almost the dark matter version of what you think funny should be. Even if you were attempting to somehow intentionally create a visual representation of anti-humor you could not have been this vacuous and lacking in humor. Even if you were attempting to skewer the stereotype of the nerd by embracing those very stereotypes you could not have miscalculated more.

I felt shame watching this… genuine shame for those involved. I wager this pilot is like those awkward photos of you naked as a kid that your mom pulls out to show your girlfriend. I wager that this being made for Comedy Central it was not picked up for having absolutely no comedy in it.

Life on Mars. What an overused title. There have been what (?) 3 or 4 TV shows now called Life on Mars? Can’t we come up with something more original?

Anyway, this Life on Mars is a 1994 unaired pilot by Better Call Saul‘s Bob Odenkirk. Made for HBO and running a brisk 15 minutes and change… it’s still a chore to get through.

Pretentious (although I think that was part of the “joke”) and not the least bit funny Life on Mars is just a quick one and done that earned it’s place in obscurity.

Odenkirk plays a comedy writer named Bob, Janeane Garofalo plays an actress named Janeane… wait a minute… are they playing themselves or cyphers of themselves? Well anyway Bob and Janeane hang out at a stuffy coffee shop called Mars where they bitch and whine and act all eccentric.

That’s it.

At one point Xander Berkley appears as a burned out drug poet who tries to rape Bob but other than that NOTHING HAPPENS. I think they were under the impression that if there was witty wordplay (there was not) that alone could carry this series but they were wrong. HBO passed and the next year Odenkirk made Mr. Show for them so maybe it was best to not have lived on Mars.

We all loved the 1984 sleeper hit Revenge of the Nerds (lets ignore the fact that our heroes commit numerous acts of sexual assault). In 1991 Fox thought it could make a sitcom based on the movie. Oh god… this is really damn awful.

Big Bang Theory is more subtle than this… Super Nerds is more subtle that this…

The pilot here is mainly a VERY fast remake of the first movie with no humor, no style and most of all no point. Why remake the movie if you only are going to make it worse?

The cast is filled with pale imitations of the movie cast who all essentially just play inferior versions of the better actors… with the exception of Robbie Rist (Dr. Zee from Galactica 1980) as Booger. For some reason he is now an anarchist hippy with long hair.

The Alpha/Betas are damn near caricatures of Stan and Ogre in 1984. Also this being made for Fox Television it loses ALL of the risque and hard R humor the movie had. Hell they even dance around Booger being a pothead.

If you are a fan of the movie then this is a complete waste. If you are not a fan of the movie this is meaningless. So why does this even exist then?

After not picking this up in 1991 Fox decided instead to bring (most) of the original movie’s cast back for 2 TV movies starting in 1992. As bad as they were they could be watched… this had to be endured.


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