‘You’ve finally made the show about nothing’
If you know me personally and have visited me within the past six months, you already know that one staple in my grab-bag aimed at entertaining you is turning on a machine, typing in “Crackle” and exposing you to the wonder that is “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” If you don’t know me personally and haven’t visited me in the past six months … well, what’s your problem?! Come on over, man! The door is always open!
Wait. I have no friends.
Anyway, I’ve watched these things approximately 4,281,025 times. It’s almost to the point where I can quote the episodes word for word. Each time I sit back to take them in, I find a new thing to laugh at. The majority (say, 95 percent) of the time I show them off, they draw a great deal of laughter from the audience. This has spawned long conversation. This has spawned parodies that I now faithfully attempt when calling people who I know have seen the show (“Hey, it’s Colin — want to get some coffee?” I ask to people who know I hate coffee). And, personally speaking, at least, this has spawned an enormous amount of interest in a comedian to which I once never really paid all that much attention (I know it’s sacrilegious, but if you give me five sitcoms ever, “Seinfeld” isn’t one of them).
Truth is, I haven’t been this consistent in my love for a television show since I last subscribed to a cable TV package and would rush home from work to watch early seasons of “30 Rock” during my dinner break. That’s why when the news came last week that “Comedians In Cars” will return for a second run, I swooned louder than the Twitter-verse did once they got their eyes on Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s job hosting the Golden Globes last night. From Bill Carter at The New York Times …
“The whole idea behind the Internet show, Mr. Seinfeld said, was to try to break into a medium other than TV,” Carter wrote last week. “The decision to produce 24 new episodes … puts Mr. Seinfeld and Sony on the same track as sites like Netflix — which has forthcoming series like ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘House of Cards’ — in testing the waters to see if original, network-quality entertainment can emerge on the Internet.”
Answer: It can.
And now that it has emerged, the next step for the show is going to be … you guessed it … figuring out how to make it profitable. As Carter first reported, Seinfeld seems adamant on coming up with a plan regarding how he can make some money for both himself and Sony after seeing how successful the first run was. Oh, and exactly how successful was that first run, the disembodied voice asks? 10 million unique visitors wandered across the thing and had a look. 9,999,999 of which, I assume, were clicked by me under various Internet pseudonyms.
So, now it’s time to turn the stakes up a bit and try to see how sustainable this tiny show can be. As the comedian told Carer when discussing how he was able to get his pet project off the ground, “It was just too hard to explain, and they (company executives) started asking the usual questions, and I started getting that not-good feeling: Oh, I’m back in the old game. And I don’t want to play the old game. I played that game. I want to play a new game.”
He found a way to play this new game. Now, let’s see how far he can extend his team’s winning streak. Here’s a tip: Look for some women this time around. I mean, for Pete’s sake, if you can’t be funny with Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Tina Fey in the passenger’s seat, you have no business calling yourself a comedian in the first place.
May’s most potent flower
T-minus four months until the new crop of “Arrested Development” episodes hit Netflix. T-minus four months until I swoon louder than … OK, you get it.
Last week, the brilliant minds behind the show made news when they A) made themselves available to the press and B) used that time to outline how the project is going to work: Everyone can watch all the episodes at once. Everyone can do it in May. And then everyone can almost immediately begin dismissing them as a bunch of “bad ideas” because, well, that’s how the world works these days and this whole ordeal is tailor-made for the populous to instantly begin whining once these things get posted.
Oh, and about those things …
According to Scott D. Pierce of The Salt Lake Tribune, who spoke with Jason Bateman, the level-headed pseudo ringleader of the Bluth family, those “things” should not be considered “things that make up a season.”
They are “simply just the first act of what we hope to continue and complete in a movie, which would be Act 2 and Act 3,” Bateman told Pierce.
Oh, and about that criticism the show and its writers (a group which will now include Michael Cera, mind you) will almost certainly endure …
“If one was to be fair to these episodes, you cannot and should not compare them to what the series was where you had 22 minutes and you had all the characters in every single episode,”Bateman said. “This is something that is completely different, on purpose creatively, per the format that Netflix affords us per the long term and larger long form of the whole story.”
Your move, hate-mongering, AV Club-reading meanies. Spring can’t get here soon enough.