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October 21, 2014

TV Squad Ten: Signs your show has made it

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 20th 2009 2:05PM
classic looking tvThe TV is a weird beast. Your show can have ridiculously high ratings, receive greater critical claim than the Mona Lisa and achieve a cult following not seen since the People's Temple, and the network can still pull the plug on you.

TV Land doesn't work like Reality Land, if the Reality Land is in fact reality and not some bizarre reality land where meat-hungry producers are the gods of fate. TV has a different equation for success.

Here are the ten telltale signs that your new show will spend eternity shining in the pantheon of the cosmos and the rest of its life on Best Buy's DVD shelves.

1. Your show gets its own movie
Movie producers are always hungry for a hot new idea to rake audiences into the theaters, as long as that idea doesn't threaten conventional values or intellectually challenge their audiences. That's why so many of them turn to TV land for shows to birth their latest projects. It's an easy sell to studios and especially to audiences, hungry to relive what's left of their youth. How else do you explain how a multimillion dollar remake of The Dukes of Hazzard didn't get one befuddled look from one studio head during the entire development process?

The Bob Newhart Show2. Your show has its own drinking game
How do you make your favorite show even better than it already is? Alcohol! It's nature's 3-D glasses. A show with a definitive drinking game means your audiences are constantly scrutinizing every minute of every episode for those weird quirks and commonalities that they can use to get hammered by the time the final credits roll. Remember those never-ending games of "Hi Bob" you used to play with your frat buddies during The Bob Newhart Show? Me neither, if your tolerance was anything like mine.

3. Your show can alienate people in offices who don't watch it
Hey, fellow office drone! Did you catch last night's episode of "That TV Show That Everyone in the Office is Watching and Talking About Except You"? Oh you didn't? Well, I think it's time for your performance review. Oh and that reminds me. We need you to move your office next to the hot water heater on the top floor in the room with no air conditioning. We're turning your office into a bigger break room, so we can discuss our favorite show while roasting a whole pig after each night's episode.

Mad Magazine's Lost parody4. Mad magazine does a parody of your show

Producers may dread criticism from the cranky newspaper columnist, but it craves it when its from the longest running humor magazine in the country. Being called Everybody Loathes Raymud, Groins' Monotony or Gall in the Family Fare might sound bad, but it's a sure sign that your show has reached a high enough spot on the mantle that it begs to be knocked down a couple of notches. Maybe it doesn't have the circulation it once had when public schools stopped requiring their students to know how to read in order to advance, but it's even more of an accomplishment now that the long-running humor rag has been cut back to four issues a year.

5. Easily influenced children constantly imitate your show
If TV is an addiction, than children are enablers. It's easy to get a kid hooked on TV. If you're a parent, they are a babysitter that doesn't charge diaper fees. If you're a kid, it's a giant teacher that doesn't send you to bed early for drawing on them. Just give them a colorful character with a wildly inventive ethos that they can imitate endlessly long after their kids have put them in a home. Just imagine. A few years from now, old folks' homes will be filled with Beavis and Butt-head laughter every time a nurse asks them if they want nuts on their Sunday sundae.

The Shield The Game6. Your show gets its own crappy video game
It's one thing to want to find out what happens to your favorite TV character, but wanting to be them is another thing entirely. Thankfully video games give us that ability to feel what it is like to be our favorite TV heroes and heroines without having to waste needless dollars on costumes and shoes. We also get to suffer the embarrassment of our parents walking into our rooms as we act those lives out. Some games like The Sopranos, The Shield and 24 have tried to fill the gaps in between their seasons. They actually linked their respective shows nicely if you get past their unbelievably bad playability and finish the whole thing before contracting carpal tunnel.

7. News of your show's final episode becomes actual news
Rogue nations have acquired nuclear technology. Dictators threaten to use force to increase the reign of their territory. The world is about to end and somewhere, a tittering Glenn Beck is laughing at all those times everyone made fun of him for crying. And under the banner "The world's over" headline in the lower corner is news of your show's final episode airing tonight, which are causing the dictators to delay that nuclear warhead launche by an hour so they can tune in to see how it ends.

Homer Simpson's stamp8. Your show gets on a stamp
It doesn't happen often. In fact, I could only find two examples and only one of them involving a single show. A group of TV classics like I Love Lucy, Dragnet, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Honeymooners and Howdy Doody had to share space on a stamp book like they were splitting some horrid postal timeshare. But if your show has lasted long enough to deserve space on a stamp, it's a long overdue honor. In fact, more TV shows should get space on stamps. All those cuddly teddy bears or cutesy hearts could make even Mister Rogers strangle a puppy.

9. Your star ends up in rehab
Success seems to have the opposite effect on actors. Your show has become such a success that the character completely absorbs its performer, preventing the actor from ever getting a part that isn't at least two-tenths similar than his or her claim to TV fame. It never happens in any other industry. You never see a successful geologist getting at the top of his game, only to spend more time in clinical rehabilitation than a methadone addict who deals with withdrawals by guzzling cherry cough syrup.

10. Your show gets pornosized
Charles Caleb Colton coined the phrase, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." He probably came up with it when a few local French courtesans performed their X-rated stage show version of "Lacon or Many Things in Few Words" subtlety titled "Layin' or Mini-Thongs on Four Wenches." Adult film studios have been cranking out all sorts of classic TV titles based on shows such as The Brady Bunch, Bewitched, Scrubs, The Office and Seinfeld. Some guy I know told me about them.

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