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Friday, December 23, 2005

I Hate the 80's, part Deux

All right, so some of you don't quite understand the evil behind my last blog (and yes, I've explained it to a few of you in person already, or on IM or whatever, but I felt I should print it, as I finally could put into words the pain I was feeling).

Here's the long and short of the clip: you've basically got two characters from Hill Street Blues (and I do mean characters, as the actors from the show are in their usual show outfits), doing a song and dance act with people dressed up as characters from the Saturday morning cartoon show Shirt Tales.

Now, here are the two questions that immediately spring to mind when I see this clip: Firstly, WHAT THE FUCK are two Hill Street Blues characters doing interacting with cute cuddly cartoon animals, and secondly, WHO IN THE HELL is the demographic that NBC was trying to reach with this?!

This clip has confused a few people because frankly, you had to be watching quite a bit of TV back in 1984 to even know the references, and whereas I was (and I'm a nerd when it comes to pop-culture from that time period), not everyone else was following suit. So here's a mathamatical equation based on what's in that clip.

Hill Street Blues + Shirt Tales = NYPD Blue + Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers = C.S.I. + Rolie Polie Olie = Beretta + Romper Room.

Okay, now we're on common ground. Sorta.

So, my first question really can't be answered, aside from the fact that in the early 80's, networks would regularly combine shows and stars for promotional purpose, usually during sweeps week (this practice continued into the early 90's, when you had the gang from Friends and the cast of Mad About You experiencing a blackout... thank god Seinfeld never took part in this shit). They would regularly throw their actors into such tripe as Circus Of the Stars, Battle Of the Network Stars, and random holiday specials. In this case, it's understandable why the network would use one show to try and make the other a hit.

But this is where my second question trumps everything else, which is again, WHO THE FUCK were their target demographic?! I mean, I have a job in the TV industry, I know the way the system works. Everyone's trying to reach a certain demographic, be it the 18-24 year olds (the most popular demographic by far), the baby boomers, or the elderly... where was the age group they were trying to sell to? I mean, figure you've got one demographic that's gonna watch a prime-time drama at 10:00 pm, and another that's watching a 9:00 am Saturday morning cartoon show. There's no correlation!

I guess it's possible that some drunk-assed mother fucker taped Hill Street Blues one night, and didn't watch it until 8:00 am two days later, and then watched Shirt Tales afterwards because they were too fucked up (and too lonely) to think of going to bed... but really, that's a very tiny demographic. Hell, that's about a million less people than watched the It's Garry Shandling Show on FOX way back when, and that was cancelled after a season and a half.

In short, I've learned from the experience of watching this clip that the 80's sucked. I mean, they didn't suck as much as the 70's... Christ, in that decade you not only had The Osmonds, but you also had The Captain and Tennile Hour. But still, as much as I hate modern television, at least I can be satisfied that The Simpsons are not going to cross paths with Jack Bauer from 24. At least, not until next Thanksgiving...

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