Saturday, March 31, 2012

TV TOPIC: Chevy Chase Leaving NBC's "Community"?

There have been rumblings of unrest on the set of NBC's "Community." To sum it up, veteran comedic actor Chevy Chase is no longer interested in making an ass out of himself on national television as the rich old geezer, desperate to be friends with a rag-tag group of oddballs, because he just doesn't think the material is funny. I struggled with ending that last sentence, because I'm not sure if he doesn't think it's funny anymore or if he ever thought it was funny. After all, it's been three years. It's not like they sprung the crazy on him. Hell, his character was apart of the crazy since Day 1. He practically initiated the crazy.

Here are my theories on why Chase suddenly wants out:
1) When Alec Baldwin threatened to leave, they bribed him to stay on. If I were a TV actor, with decades of notoriety, I think I'd demand a renegotiation too, especially if I worked at NBC, since they're apparently just handing money out. After all, in the pantheon of acting, Chase trumps Baldwin.

2) The chances of "Community" surviving this season are still pretty low even after months of campaigning and fan-corralling. The fact is NBC makes comedies for cult fans, not the masses, and they need to either accept that or stop. The series "Freaks and Geeks" is a perfect example of just how unrealistic NBC's ratings goals are. More than ten years later, that series is still heralded as an amazing teen drama. It churned out not only a legendary dramedy writer and director, but a slew of actors that have blown audiences away ever since. Yet back in 2000, it was considered a failure and a bad investment. While it's true that no NBC comedy gets even a third of the viewers that a CBS comedy does, it does have a far more rabid fanbase that cherish its characters for years to come. It's the network that created Ron Swanson, Liz Lemon, and Michael Scott. But instead of reveling in that accomplishment and making realistic profit goals, they just keep tanking shows and coming up with poorly developed replacements that get cancelled half-way through the season. So of course Chase would want to jump ship, so at the very least he can say he quit, rather than he failed.

3) The stars of ABC "Cougar Town" were allowed to do guest spots on other shows and even take on other acting gigs full-time. Josh Hopkins was actually cast as a husband in the new NBC series "Lady Friends." How did he get that gig? Why it's the greatest time of the year for unestablished actors. It's pilot season. There's a chance Chase could've been courted by another series or that he has an eye on one. I wouldn't be surprised if this conveniently timed rampage--admittedly not the first--was an attempt to be released from his contract, so he can sign another.

Ultimately, I won't be sad to see him go. If American viewers weren't as clingy as British viewers, then there could've been more of a "changing of the guards" format to "Community" where every season new students would join the fold and replace stale ones. Kind of like "Glee." After all, they can't go to college forever. And how long did they think such a concept would last anyway?

1 comment:

  1. I agree. What kind of community college is this? You attend for 2-3 years and move on. Although, Valencia Community College (aka Valencia College) in Orlando does offer some 4-year degrees. It would've been nice if they let a few characters trickle in and then others trickle out. Ah well...there's always syndication on TBS or TNT.