If you haven’t figured this out about me already, I love television. I think television is an art form or a new type of literature that we can study and learn from. I have always had a secret dream to work in television, whether its creating it or working at an actual network. The older I get and the more I look at television and television trends, the more I realize that I may not be cut out to work at a network. As much as I love television, I apparently do not understand it. Recently two of television’s newest comedies have been taken off the air and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. NBC pulled its new show set in the White House, 1600 Penn, and FOX cancelled my favorite new show of the year, Ben and Kate.
1600 Penn has only had time to air five episodes and so far, I have found it to be hilarious. With an all star cast, includinig Bill Pullman, Jenna Elfman and Josh Gad, this show was a nice addition to NBC’s Thursday lineup. The show follows the first family as the president tries to run the country and deal with a daughter pregnant from a one night stand, a new wife who is trying to be accepted by his kids and the PR nightmare that is his son Skip Gilchrist (Josh Gad). Balancing out NBC comedy Thrusday, 1600 Penn has a humor and tone that would appeal to a wider audience. The show has a family aspect but is less crude than Up All Night. This show could have been developed to fill one of the many holes that will exist in NBC’s comedy line-up next year with the Office and 30 Rock both ending. While the whole cast is great, Josh Gad shines, turning Skip into a hilariously charming character that can easily lead a comedy show. After being on air for only a couple of weeks, NBC didn’t give 1600 Penn a chance to pull a fan base before it was cancelled. I think NBC has made a huge mistake not trying to develop what could be a great show.
I have always had a problem with the way FOX has manged their shows. With an inability to properly air its dramas, FOX has mismanaged many show, the most notable being Fringe. While it has issues with its dramas, Fox has generally done a good job with its comedies but it messed up cancelling the funniest new show the year. What makes Ben and Kate so great is its brilliantly created core characters. You have Kate (Dakota Johnson), a single mother who is attempt to raise her daughter to be a strong, young woman. Charmingly awkward, it is easy to root for Kate in life, love and as a parent. Next we have Ben (Nat Faxon), the burn out brother who has moved back in with his sister. Absolutely ridiculous and always there to help Kate as well as coming up with new, wild inventions, Ben and Kate have great chemistry as a brother sister duo. The other two characters are the title characters’ best friends. First is BJ (Lucy Punch), a selfish, ditsy, Australian woman who is easily the show’s crude sense of humor. Second is my favorite character on the show, Ben’s best friend Tommy (Echo Kellum). Awkwardly and hopelessly in love with Kate, Tommy is Ben’s partner in crime. Best friends from childhood, Tommy and Ben still act like children. All four character mix together to create a charmingly hilarious show where they all work together to help Kate’s daughter Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones).
Both cancelled shows are charming and clever and I don’t understand why either of them was cancelled. Both had the ability to appeal to a wide audience; both my mother and I watch Ben and Kate and that doesn’t happen with many shows. I believe both networks made mistakes cancelling their shows and wonder what next year’s comedy line-up is going to look like.