I’ve lost a lot of shows over the years: “Angel,” “Buffy,” “Undeclared,” “Popular,” “Futurama,” “The Family Guy,” “Andy Richter Controls The Universe,” “Freaks and Geeks.” And every time one gets cancelled, a little piece of me dies inside. Well, that’s not exactly true, but I get pretty upset. I don’t like to lose friends, even if they’re only my TV ones. And you better believe I was pissed after I found out that “Arrested Development” is near the chopping block.
Sure, right now they’re just Internet rumors, but that’s how the “Angel” pre-cancellation hoopla started last year—and right after their 100th episode. Tasteful. And then the WB replaced it with crap like “Blue Collar Comedy.” And I’m still really angry, especially because Joss promised some kind of movie and there is no movie and there is no Angel and now I don’t know what to do on Thursday nights after “The O.C.” (But Angel’s fifth season just came out on DVD and if I mention it here, it’s a tax write-off. Ha ha ha.)
And as generous as Fox has been to some shows that should have been cancelled years ago (ahem, “That 70s Show”), they’ve killed others like “Undeclared” after only one glorious, genius season. In fact, “Arrested” came mighty close to the axe last year, but was saved thanks to the many connections of one Mr. Ron Howard. And though I thought it would be safe after it won the Emmy, I remembered that “The Ben Stiller Show” won its Emmy after it was cancelled (also available on DVD). And quality Fox programming will never be safe as long as “American Idol” pulls in obscene ratings each week.
Plus “Arrested Development” is smart. Much smarter than anything else on regular TV and I’m sure that scares a lot of people. And it’s also probably why the ratings are so low, despite the fact that it’s one of the funniest, darkest shows ever made. And it has David Cross. And I watch everything David Cross does. In fact, if I was near his house, I might be watching him through binoculars right now—eating, drinking, sleeping, taking his dog out for a walk …
But the good news is that it’s not too late. Start watching the show. (It’s on Sunday nights after “The Simpsons” at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 6.) As Midwesterners, you guys have a lot more ratings pull than you’d think. Buy the DVD of the first season. Seriously. “The Family Guy” was resurrected after its insane DVD sales and enormous late-night ratings on the Cartoon Network.
Call and e-mail the network, or better yet, call and e-mail the president of the network, Gail Berman. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and her address is:
Fox Broadcasting Entertainment President
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Gail Berman, President
Fox Broadcasting Company
P.O. Box 900
Beverly Hills, CA 90213
Oh, and the Fox viewer comment hotline is 1-800-369-6848. There are a ton of petitions going on online too, but I don’t necessarily trust them to get the job done. This has to be saved by thousands of little voices—especially because for each letter they get, they count it as so many more concerned viewers than one. I’m not really sure how many, but I know only a handful of Christians are responsible for getting Fox fined by the FCC for their Vegas stunts on “Married By America” last year. Plus when you write, Fox writes you back and then you can say that you got your very own form letter. Or you can frame the form letter and hang it on your desk at work and stare at it each time you think you don’t matter to the rest of the world because you’re just some jackass working in a cubicle.
Plus I think it’s high time this city rallied around a decent cause like saving a TV show instead of boring stuff like “stopping the violence” (yeah, good luck with that) or “improving the schools” (ha!) or various other things that don’t affect me because I live in the suburbs and don’t want kids.
And if I just made you really mad and if you’re about to send an angry letter to the Shepherd about me or possibly egg my house, channel that anger into a letter to Fox. Because I’m being facetious. I do want the schools to get better and I do want the violence to end, but that’s going to take a lot more energy than a simple campaign to save a TV show. And after we save “Arrested,” maybe we’ll learn that we can do anything! And the schools WILL get better and the violence WILL end. Everyone will cast aside their differences for a half-hour each Sunday. And then brother can hold hands with brother and sing … even if the first brother slept with the second brother’s girl. Because both dudes can now focus their rage upon something way more constructive … like, say, the network that brings us “World’s Deadliest Police Chases 4.”