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March 2, 2007 9:19 PM   Subscribe

ABC is developing another new comedy pilot. Based on? Geico caveman commercials, of course. Because that kind of thing has worked so well before.
posted by miss lynnster (62 comments total)

 
You know how you sometimes ask yourself what you'd do with an enormous sum of money, like if you were to win the lottery or inherit 40 million dollars... I think I finally have the answer. Make a list of all names mentioned in that article. Hire one professional assassin per name, and have them all executed.
posted by odinsdream at 9:26 PM on March 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


they should've made a show out of the "Tiny House" commercial instead.
posted by pruner at 9:26 PM on March 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


Just as long as they use "Remind Me" as the show's theme song...
posted by jca at 9:27 PM on March 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


The first commercial was funny, but almost entirely for that one caveman's reading of the line "I don't have much of an appitite." (or something like that). I thought they were beating it to death already. But nooooo. Now they're going to beat its bones into powder.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:32 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, I liked the use of cavemen in this comedy classic...
posted by wendell at 9:35 PM on March 2, 2007


Absurd.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:35 PM on March 2, 2007


I'd watch it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:49 PM on March 2, 2007


This would work better on HBO. It's a comedy but every once in a while one of the cavemen grabs a woman and rapes her. Then she's all like, "Oh Gronk, you're primitive ways are so different from ours." And then he turns to the camera and gives that I'm-not-a-primitive look, and it's really funny.
posted by hojoki at 9:53 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


That format sounds like it'd work better on Showtime than HBO.
posted by wendell at 9:59 PM on March 2, 2007


Dunno why, but this one cracks me up every time. I like the minimalist approach of this and other Geico ads. I doubt that could carry through to a show, but I'll be curious to see what might develop.
posted by zennie at 10:07 PM on March 2, 2007


Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm just a caveman. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW.. and run off into the hills, or wherever.. Sometimes when I get a message on my fax machine, I wonder: "Did little demons get inside and type it?" I don't know! My primitive mind can't grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know - when a man like my client slips and falls on a sidewalk in front of a public library, then he is entitled to no less than two million in compensatory damages, and two million in punitive damages. Thank you.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:07 PM on March 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


Ruben Bolling has turned Australopithecene Charley into a pretty funny recurring comic strip.

So it could work, but I don't expect the show to be that clever.
posted by O9scar at 10:16 PM on March 2, 2007


I just watched Encino Man, so if this tv show stars Pauly Shore; ABC might just have struck comedic gold
posted by matimer at 10:20 PM on March 2, 2007


This isn't actually as weird as it sounds. Networks always develop a number of pilots with the intent of scrapping most of them. Yeah, they'll make it, it'll be bad, but the chances of it getting on the air are almost nil.

I'm actually surprised more crazy pilots haven't been leaked to YouTube.
posted by ®@ at 10:21 PM on March 2, 2007


I loved the Geico ads before the cavemen and the lizard — before they used "mascots" and back when each new commercial was just some totally random joke. It was a perfect exception to the rule in advertising, which is that you never use humor or celebrities because that's all your viewers will remember (as opposed to your product).

And that was cool, because although the rules are solid you don't always follow them. For instance, Dell was stupid to fire "the Dell guy" because he was getting too popular. Yes, people were focusing on him instead of the product; but nobody knew his name and the meme was simply "the Dell guy," which is the sort of brand recognition you can't buy. They ought to have rode that out before pulling the plug.
posted by cribcage at 10:29 PM on March 2, 2007


They canceled Day Break for this?
posted by nmiell at 10:46 PM on March 2, 2007


The Geico caveman has a better apartment than I do.
posted by zennie at 10:48 PM on March 2, 2007


I didn't know that WAS meatloaf.
posted by stavrogin at 10:52 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm actually surprised more crazy pilots haven't been leaked to YouTube.

Anybody who happens to get their hands on the new edition of Revenge of the Nerds (I got a review copy, I swear) can check out a truly awful pilot based on the show. I mean awful. If you can make it past the opening credits.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:25 AM on March 3, 2007


The first caveman ads that featured the cavemen getting offensive? Those were totally amazing for the way they juxtaposed different classes' experiences of racism (though, to be fair, the boom-operator ["working class"] caveman's reaction reflected more a privileged persons' fantasy of what they might do in that situation, but still). I mean, some kind of relatively perceptive representation of class in an ad? Awesome.
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:54 AM on March 3, 2007


This caveman, on the other hand? FUNNY!
Lordy I miss Phil Hartman.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:31 AM on March 3, 2007


I can't believe it took 11 comments to get to Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. This show would rule, but only for about half a season.
posted by DU at 3:41 AM on March 3, 2007


I'm more concerned that there's an American version of The Thick of It in the works. That can only suck, especially since it's going to be on network instead of cable.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:14 AM on March 3, 2007


Ok, so I guess I am the only one in the world who can stand that caveman. He just comes off as being really cocky. I just hate that "oh I am so offended, and I deserve something for it" feel he gives off.
Makes me want to punch him in the face.
posted by ShawnString at 4:17 AM on March 3, 2007


I just hate that "oh I am so offended, and I deserve something for it" feel he gives off. Makes me want to punch him in the face.

You have just distilled the ethos of modern day republicanism in one sentence.
posted by psmealey at 5:34 AM on March 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, two.
posted by psmealey at 5:35 AM on March 3, 2007


Dave Barry had something to say about a sitcom plot generating machine that cranks out tripe like this, and how it must be destroyed. I couldn't google it however, so I leave you with this.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:39 AM on March 3, 2007


I love the caveman ads. They could do this show very easily... just put Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde-Pierce in caveman makeup and reshoot all of the original episodes of Frasier.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:25 AM on March 3, 2007


There was a classic SomethingAwful thread back when where a few people were wondering when 'Tiny House' would be airing. The fact that they completely missed the GEICO tie-in boggles the mind.

Anyways, I'd totally watch 'Tiny House'.
posted by unixrat at 6:25 AM on March 3, 2007


Those commercials *were* offensive from the beginning, because they use actors with clearly modern Austronesian features to represent "primitive" humans. They are racist, plain and simple, and no manner of meta-ironic-we're-so-fucking-clever obfuscation disguises that for me. It's 19th century humor, and it isn't funny.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:29 AM on March 3, 2007


fourcheesemac writes "Those commercials *were* offensive from the beginning, because they use actors with clearly modern Austronesian features to represent 'primitive' humans."

Actually, they use actors with clearly Neanderthalian features to represent Neanderthals. And the whole commercial is based on the fact that these Neanderthals are, in fact, not primitive.

So, in the sense that the commercials represent a long extinct branch of humanity which is normally considered to be primitive to actually be normal, advanced folks, then, yes, it's horribly racist, and Shrek is a horribly racist movie for depicting non-existant ogres as actually being very caring folks.

Now I'm off to read some of the undeniably xenophobic comic book "Superman", which depicts aliens derogatorily by having a protagonist from another planet who has superior powers and intellect and a strong sense of morality.
posted by Bugbread at 7:39 AM on March 3, 2007


(Also, if you have to say something is "X, plain and simple", then it probably is neither plain nor simple, or you wouldn't have to say it in the first place. That's why you never hear people say things like "the sun is extremely hot, plain and simple")
posted by Bugbread at 7:41 AM on March 3, 2007


Okay these caveman bozos get their own show - what about the lizard? He's been working his ass off for Geico for years and they don't even throw him a damn bone? The lizard should get a new agent, and he should kick the caveman's ass in public and tell him he wuz served. It's the faux bois british accent isn't it? Pigs.

...Hey. This American Life has gone to TV. Anything's possible in this modern age. I won't be watching the cavemen tho. I don't pay attention to the commercials now that I know that's what they are. I watch Heroes, Lost, and occasionally Deal Or No Deal but only cuz it's on before Heroes.

Whatever happened to Fear Factor? Now THAT was comedy!

And the Americanized Coupling woulda found its footing if someone gave it half a *gag* *choke* I can't get that lie outta me!
posted by ZachsMind at 7:49 AM on March 3, 2007


Has anybody else noticed that some comedy works better on TV than it does on the internet, or vice versa? The geico commercials on youtube... boy, total yawners. But on tv they're great.
posted by phaedon at 8:08 AM on March 3, 2007


A bad, unimaginative, unfunny (ie: typically American) TV commerical becomes bad TV show.

Is anyone shocked?

Welcome to American television in the 21st century.
posted by wfc123 at 8:18 AM on March 3, 2007


wfc123 writes "Welcome to American television in the 21st century."

Yeah. That would have never happened in 20th century American television.
posted by Bugbread at 8:27 AM on March 3, 2007



Not saying it wouldn't. TV was much more fun in the 20th century. It was risk-taking and imaginative.

Eveyone's afraid to do anything imaginative today. That's why you get shows like "Ugly Betty", "My Name is Earl", "24" and "CSI".

"Critically-acclaimed" tripe.
posted by wfc123 at 8:52 AM on March 3, 2007


I hate to admit this, but in 1984 or so, a friend of mine had a tape of a bunch of Ernest skits that were actually really funny & edgy. (My understanding was that this was a tape of stuff Jim Varney actually wrote himself. 99% of what the character did was written by ad execs or Hollywood.) Anyhow, I don't know what it was called, but most of my friends ended up renting it at one point or another so we were in on the same jokes. I never thought his character was funny after that though, and I was disappointed because my first impression of Jim Varney was that he was actually really talented.

Either that or I was in college & we were drunk.

posted by miss lynnster at 8:57 AM on March 3, 2007


We'll have to agree to disagree on that. I've been out of the US for a while, and it was a big surprise when I went back and found that there was some really good TV there. It's always been mostly crap, and it continues to be mostly crap, but I thought that, like the radio, the ratio of crap to good had increased, but it actually seems to me to have stayed mostly the same, if not slightly decreased.

(And, whether or not you find 24 to be a good show, you have to admit that its basic concept is pretty imaginative: I know of some movies featuring real-time, but I've never heard of a TV show that is supposed to happen in ostensibly real-time, not just per episode, but with each episode continuing in real-time from when the last one left off. Now, what they did with this conceit is up for endless internet argumentation, but the idea itself was imaginative, or, at least, did something that was new for TV).
posted by Bugbread at 8:59 AM on March 3, 2007


Gee, bugbread. Where'd they find living, real Neanderthals?
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:02 AM on March 3, 2007


As a palate-cleanser, please enjoy this video of Royksopp's "Remind Me".
posted by gimonca at 9:08 AM on March 3, 2007


I was digging the caveman's tunes and googling around to track them down when I came across this gem: NIN's Closer mashed up with a Spock/Kirk slash fiction video.
Not worth a FPP, but worth a look.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:27 AM on March 3, 2007


fourcheesemac writes "Gee, bugbread. Where'd they find living, real Neanderthals?"

I don't even know what that snark is intended to mean. Scientists have used Neanderthal bones to determine the shape of the Neanderthal head, and then made mockups of how that Neanderthal head would look like with muscle and skin on top. Makeup and SFX guys used prosthetics to make a non-Neanderthal look like scientists' hypotheses of what a Neanderthal looked like. How the hell does that translate into a comeback about how this is all actual stealth (sorry, "plain and simple") racism against Austronesians?
posted by Bugbread at 9:27 AM on March 3, 2007


Now, if they'd used an Austronesian to play a Neanderthal because "hey, they look the same", then I'd agree that it would definitely be racism. Or, if you actually think that scientist's reconstructions of Neanderthals are based on "well, Neanderthals are primitive, and so are Austronesians, so Neanderthals probably looked like Austronesians", then I'd agree it was racism (but by the scientists, not the advertising folks). But what you seem to be saying is "I think Austronesians look like Neanderthals. Thus, describing Neanderthals as primitive is racist, because by extension it means Austronesians are primitive." Which is just loopy.
posted by Bugbread at 9:42 AM on March 3, 2007


Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm just a caveman. I fell on some ice and was later thawed by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes when I fly to Europe on the Concorde, I wonder, am I inside some sort of giant bird? Am I gonna be digested? I don't know, because I'm a caveman, and that's the way I think! When I'm courtside at a Knicks game, I wonder if the ball is some sort of food they're fighting over. When I see my image on the security camera at the country club, I wonder, are they stealing my soul? I get so upset, I hop out of my Range Rover, and run across the fairway to to the clubhouse, where I get Carlos to make me one of those martinis he's so famous for, to soothe my primitive caveman brain. But whatever world you're from, I do know one thing - in the 20 years from March 22nd, 1972, when he first ordered that extra nicotine be put into his product, until February 25th, 1992, when he issued an inter-office memorandum stopping the addition of that nicotine, my client was legally insane. And, for that reason, I ask that you find him.. not guilty. Thank you.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:53 AM on March 3, 2007


Sorry, but the caveman commercials do make me laugh. Especially "It's my mother... I'll put it on speakerphone." The jokes are pretty obvious, but the actor makes it work. The show will flop, though, even though I would at least give it a shot.
posted by The Deej at 9:55 AM on March 3, 2007


Hey, I never noticed it before, but Austronesians do look like Neanderthals. Thanks, fourcheesemac! [NOT RACIST]
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:57 AM on March 3, 2007


That Royksopp vid was nice...and depressing!
posted by everichon at 10:07 AM on March 3, 2007


One of the cavemen in the commmercials is played by the guy who played Skip in Sex and the City, and another one is played by the store manager in 10 Items or Less. The other one's Jeff Daniel Phillips - someone I never heard of. I don't know if any of them are going to be in the pilot.

I'd watch it. I think they're kind of hot. As cavemen, not as Skip and the manager guy...ew.
posted by iconomy at 10:13 AM on March 3, 2007


John Lehr's site has pictures of the makeup process.
posted by zennie at 10:32 AM on March 3, 2007


TV was much more fun in the 20th century. It was risk-taking and imaginative.

Huh? Do you even own a teevee? Or are you engaging in selective memory? I'd say the last few years have held up pretty well, especially as compared to any seven-year run of the 20th century. I mean, between The Wire, The Office, Deadwood, Veronica Mars, Firefly, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, The Shield, the last few seasons of Buffy, Dexter, the first chunk of Lost, Scrubs, Battlestar Galactica, Rescue Me, Cartoon Swim, House and, yes, 24 and My Name is Earl, the last seven years have been as good a time as ever to watch the boob tube. Fuck, we have access to television from all over the world and on doizens of channels now ... of course there's going to be more worth watching.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:57 AM on March 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bugbread, I'm not trying to snark here. I know a good deal about the work reconstructing Neanderthal physiognomy (and actually, an expert on the subject is a sometime poster here, I think). It's an imperfect science, of course.

But the facial features of the Geico "cavemen" don't look like SFX work to me. Do we actually know who the actors are?

In any case, it's just not very funny to me. So maybe that's my problem. The Flintstones were ahead of this 35 years ago.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:23 AM on March 3, 2007


fourcheesemac writes "But the facial features of the Geico 'cavemen' don't look like SFX work to me. Do we actually know who the actors are?"

Iconomy got the actor's names, and zennie's got pics of the makeup going on.

fourcheesemac writes "In any case, it's just not very funny to me."

Me neither, really, but as phaedon points out, reactions differ based on context (watching on YouTube versus on the TV), so maybe I'd find it funny on TV, and maybe I'd find it terrible. I dunno.
posted by Bugbread at 11:31 AM on March 3, 2007


Sorry, that "iconomy got the actor's names, and zennie's got pics" sounded like a sharp slap style response; it wasn't meant to be so, I just didn't know if you'd missed them on preview or not.
posted by Bugbread at 11:32 AM on March 3, 2007


I'm more concerned that there's an American version of The Thick of It in the works. That can only suck, especially since it's going to be on network instead of cable.

Not if they put Alan Thicke in a starring role. Just think of the possibilities. They could rename it "The Thicke of It".
posted by stavrogin at 11:46 AM on March 3, 2007


This explains why the Geico Caveman was at a major post-Oscar party, wearing (IIRC) a pink suit.
posted by watsondog at 11:49 AM on March 3, 2007


ZachsMind : And the Americanized Coupling woulda found its footing if someone gave it half a *gag* *choke* I can't get that lie outta me!

Thanks for that. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who hated that failed attempt at crossing the pond. And I still can't fathom why they wouldn't have just aired the original here. It's not like the jokes are so subtle that they would be lost on an American audience. Is it?

And well said Bookhouse, there is a lot of crap out there, but there have been some surprising gems as well. Indiscriminately saying 'all current TV is crap' is to be willfully missing some quality programs.
posted by quin at 12:31 PM on March 3, 2007


Not if they put Alan Thicke in a starring role. Just think of the possibilities. They could rename it "The Thicke of It".

Oh great, now my pores are bleeding.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:54 PM on March 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think NBC beat them to it.
posted by concrete at 3:16 PM on March 3, 2007


I think NBC beat them to it.

Thank you. Every time I watch Heroes I've tried to figure out who that guy looks like. Now I know. He's a mutant caveman.
posted by mkhall at 4:10 PM on March 3, 2007


I like how there's a "trivia" section on a web page devoted to a character in a TV show.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:14 PM on March 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


For instance, Dell was stupid to fire "the Dell guy" because he was getting too popular. Yes, people were focusing on him instead of the product; but nobody knew his name and the meme was simply "the Dell guy," which is the sort of brand recognition you can't buy. They ought to have rode that out before pulling the plug.

They fired the Dell guy because he was arrested for marijuana possession.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:42 AM on March 4, 2007


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