2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the BilgeBucket Gazette. Our first issue was on May 19, 2003 and we’ve been shoveling it to the public, just like the corporate media, ever since. We changed our format to a WordPress blog in 2011 so all of our earlier material was archived. We’ve been reposting many of those archived articles, headlines, photo-toons, BilgeBucket Lists and other content over the past twelve years. In honor of our 20th, and because we’re sick of the current state of affairs in the world, we’ll be reposting more items from 2003 through 2009 throughout this year.
The writers are on strike which means some of our favorite comedy shows have shut down production. This stoppage brings up an old article from our June 26, 2007 issue when we pondered a fall TV season where all the shows featured popular characters from commercials, like the cavemen from the Geico commercials (yes, the cavemen actually had a deservedly short-lived TV show on ABC). Look at the progression: sitcoms, game shows, informercials, reality shows, more reality shows, a reality show President. Everything TV in the 21st century sucks! How many Real Housewife shows do we need? Not even one, if you ask us. Let’s face it, folks; the golden years of Hollywood are very far away in the rear view mirror.
Fall TV Season: All Commercials
Recently, ABC announced that is was going to create a sitcom this fall about the cavemen from the popular Geico commercials. It didn’t take long for the other networks to follow along like lemmings and announce that they too will broadcast shows featuring characters from popular television commercials. As a matter of fact, the whole fall schedule is now devoted to shows based on commercial characters.
“This is an amazing development,” said Brantly A. Burke, assistant programming exec for Fox. “Eight years ago, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ushered in the era of prime time game shows. Then Survivor started the reality show trend which spawned dozens of copycat shows. Well, the new wave is here and its TV shows about commercial characters! What better way to produce revenue for the network than a half hour or hour long commercial. This will be revolutionary! We already have infomercials, which are quasi-entertainment. Why not take the next step and create entire sitcoms which are not only crowd pleasing but also sell a product. It’s rampant commercialism on steroids.”
Geico struck it rich by not only getting a sitcom about the cavemen but also a sitcom featuring celebrity spokesmen Verne Troyer, Peter Graves and Little Richard as door-to-door insurance salesmen and another sitcom featuring the Geico Gecko and his adventures in modern day London.
“It’s really not all that surprising,” said the Geico Gecko in his trademark British accent. “People like to be entertained and they find me adorable. Why not have me on more frequently? It’s like if someone offers you free pie and chips. You’re not going to turn down free pie and chips. It’s pie…and chips…for free. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.”
Burke expounded more about the shows. “Now the whole show won’t be one big sales pitch. There will be some semblance of a plot. But there will be subtle product placement and discussion of the product sprinkled liberally throughout the show. For instance, here’s a sample of dialog from the show featuring Little Richard and Peter Graves.”
Graves: Wow! I’m wiped out. I’m too old to be a door-to-door insurance salesman.
Little Richard: Wooooooooo! I sure hope you have Geico Life Insurance in case you drop dead. Woooooooooo!
Graves: You bet I do! And boy is it affordable!
“See,” said Burke. “Very subtle.”
Examples of some new shows this fall include:
- Those five knuckleheads from the Alltel commercials battling each other every week in Sell Phone
- Those wise-acre stand-up comedians from the Sierra Mist ads working, living and laughing together in Play Sierra Misty for Me
- The Burger King buys an RV and travels the backroads of America creeping out people from all walks of life in Burger King of the Road
- The return of the Taco Bell Chihuahua in Yo Quiero Mindless Entertainment
- The Mentos kids starring as MacGyver-like adventurists, who get in and out of trouble each week in a different location around the world thanks to their unlimited supply of Mentos in Have Mentos, Will Travel
The American viewing public seemed very receptive to the new wave of programming. Robin Weller of Boston, Massachusetts said, “Wow! This promises to be very entertaining! It should keep my interest for at least thirty seconds. Oh look. A fly. Bzzzzzzzz. What were we talking about?”
Peter Johnson of Lake Pleasant, New York said, “What a perfect marriage of entertainment and commerce. Being a typical American consumer, I look forward to buying any product that is pushed in front of my face and placing myself in even more debilitating debt.”
Barry Bealle of Jackson, Kentucky said with a glazed look in his eye, “Can’t talk. Must find TV.”