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September 3, 2015

Maybe Cavemen isn't as bad as the media says it is

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 12th 2007 1:42PM

CavemenA few critics have actually said good things about Cavemen. Surprised? Yeah, well apparently it's not as uncommon as we might think. As this New York Times article details, there have been positive reviews of the show, but they've been mostly overshadowed by the enormous negative press it has received since before its premiere.

From the beginning, the hastily-produced pilot lead to critics thinking Cavemen was just a show relying on thinly veiled racial humor, with the cavemen standing in for African-Americans. Then they started talking about what a terrible idea the concept was (if it's funny for a thirty second commercial, that doesn't mean it's funny for thirty minutes). But was the show doomed from the start? Did all the negative publicity lead to more negative reviews of those early episodes than they could have rightly earned?

The creators admit that the early pilot focused a bit too much on the so-called "racial" jokes, explaining "you want to give almost equal time ignoring the fact that they're cave men," but "you don't want to walk away from the jokes that can be told because they're cave men." Some critics have essentially admitted that the bad press negatively influenced their opinion of the show. So what's the deal? Is Cavemen bad or did it just get a raw deal? The creators aren't optimistic of a renewal with the ratings slide the show has seen, but say they do get boosts of encouragement from the rare positive trickle that comes through.

While I had seen the premiere, I hadn't been that impressed with it. I tried not to go in with a negative pre-opinion, but found it relying a bit heavily on the "race" card. I did feel it had some redeeming qualities. So in writing this article, I went to ABC.com and watched the two episodes available there.

I will say that I still enjoy the relationship and differing personalities of the three main characters, which I think is the show's strength. Just as Seinfeld was an ensemble about that foursome, this is a piece about these three very different cavemen. And they have found a better balance between using the caveman angle and ignoring it, just as they intended.

In "The Shaver," the main storyline focused on Nick's obsessed conviction that there is a shaver nearby (a caveman who shaves his body hair to pass as a homo sapien), the secondary storyline involved the normally polite and proper Andy's unexpected problem with road rage being an extreme turn on for a neighbor. That's a pretty standard plotline that could have been seen in any number of sitcoms, and probably has been. "Rock Vote!" is even better as it focuses on the boys responding to a burglary at their house and facing an upcoming election. There's a lot of good political humor here and the strength is in the characters and their interrelations.

Unfortunately, I fear what improvements have been made are too little too late for Cavemen. It's still not comedy gold, but neither is it a terrible show. It's a buddy show about three roommates who just happen to be cavemen. And it's actually better than some other shows on television. Yeah, I said it. But I said it after actually watching it. Nick is consistently obsessed with his caveman heritage, which is a huge part of his character, but that's just one aspect of the show.

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The first episode was bad. There was some improvement after that episode, but it was still a bad show. Sure it may be better than the rest of the ABC and CBS sitcoms, but what is that really saying? Also, the plugs for the show have made it even more annoying. I admit to being a Bullets fan. A caveman "crashed" a pre-game show, half-time, and post-game.

I have too many tabs open sometimes.

December 13 2007 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cavemen is way better than a lot of the crap on TV. It's a little ridiculous at first, but once you get past that it's pretty decent.

Also, Carpoolers is terrible! That is one of the least funny shows I've seen this season.

December 13 2007 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Anderson

Screw Bionic Woman. If Cavemen doesn't come back next year, I will shoot the head of ABC in the shin. And it will hurt.

December 13 2007 at 2:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Have to agree with many above. Sucked at first, hard. But every episode got a little better, until I found myself actually enjoying it and (gasp!) laughing out loud.

December 12 2007 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Mc

I was a little more than embarrassed in the beginning, but I will officially admit that I like the show. There. I said it.

December 12 2007 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Watched every episode. Stupid show. Stupid Me.

But, I was just trying to kill the 30 minutes before Carpoolers. Why they didn't flip those two time slots, I'll never know.

December 12 2007 at 8:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this is a good show. the pilot was terrible, but the other episodes have done what the premiere failed to do: put the cavemen in everday situations and let the comedy fall where it may. i do find it funny that people are finding racial undertones in the storyline because isnt the shows intention to play off of the prejudices that "cavemen" receive in modern man's world? calm down... its not that serious.

December 12 2007 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

20 years from now, the same people who are trashing this show now will be embracing it ironically.

CAVEMAN is no better and no worse than most TV sitcoms when you get right down to it. GenX loves to love stuff like ALF and MORK & MINDY, and those shows weren't exactly Peabody contenders either.

December 12 2007 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I dont think it is as bad as the critics say, i actuly kinda enjoy.. I would take this over another season of Acording to Jim any day!!

December 12 2007 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I tried watching Cavemen more then once. The first time I changed it reletively quickly, but the second time the shows crappiness sent me into seizures. Luckily my dog saw that I was in trouble and pulled up an old episode of the Office I had DVRed. Steve Carrel saved my life.

December 12 2007 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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