Are You on Chuck Lorre’s Christmas Card List?

If so, you’ve probably already gotten this:

lorre

And now, for those who not only aren’t on Chuck’s list but don’t even know who he is:

FileChuckLorreHWOFSept2011
Click here for Chuck’s Wikipedia bio!

Mired in the Past: The Cluelessness of NBC

…And, just possibly, the other broadcast networks as well. But Dan Treadway definitely is kinda cool. (In the dweebie way the networks like NBC can never understand. But we know, don’t we? We know…)

Zeus plays with his children – wotta funny dad!

NBC Is Stuck in a Century in Which Guys Taking Care of Kids Is a Hilarious Concept – by Dan Treadway (HuffingtonPost.Com)

I like to imagine the conversation in the NBC boardroom went something like this:

Johnson: Sir, we’ve been kicking around a few ideas to put our network’s comedy lineup back on the map since we’re completely abandoning the notion of providing fresh, original content in favor of copying the crap on CBS.

Boss: Brilliant, what do you have?

Johnson: Well, picture this: We get a bunch of guys living in New York and they…

Boss: *Moves to edge of seat*

Johnson: Take care of their children! It’ll be like Two and a Half Men meets 2 Broke Girls meets every Adam Sandler movie released the past 10 years!

Boss: Johnson… that’s brilliant! You’re promoted! I want the script for the pilot on my desk by Monday!

Johnson: Perfect! I jotted down every joke for the first three seasons on the back of napkin during the cab ride over!

Okay, so I might be not giving NBC enough credit for the amount of preparation that went into the creation of their new show Guys with Kids. But I don’t think I’m that far off.

The show, which premiered about a month ago, focuses on three “dudes” taking on the responsibilities of fatherhood. Indeed, “whether it’s hosing down their babies in the kitchen sink or hitting the bar strapped with ‘babybjorns,’ these guys are taking on fatherhood in ways no one has ever seen before.”

Yes, as hilarious as the idea of hanging out with your newborn in a bar is, I’m afraid NBC is facing a tiny issue with this premise: It’s the year 2012.

Dads raising and even *gasp!* staying home with their children isn’t whimsical or noteworthy, it’s a growing, long-coming reality. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2011, only 18 percent of families have the husband serving as the lone wage-earner. In addition, roughly 29 percent of wives earn more than their husbands, a number that has steadily increased almost every year since 1987. As the New York Times recently reported, in the last decade, “the number of men who have left the work force entirely to raise children has more than doubled.”

But perhaps it’s unfair to blame NBC for dipping into a familiar well in the hopes of finding a hit. It seems like America has long found entertainment in the zany idea that a man could possibly be capable of raising a child. Most of us remember the ’80s classic Three Men and a Baby starring the hilarious Ted Danson, the charming Steve Guttenberg and the incomparable Tom Selleck’s mustache. The movie focused on three bachelors attempting to, you guessed it, raise a baby — with wacky results (SPOILER: The baby lives despite being raised by men)! The movie grossed $167 million domestically. Although Three Men and a Baby played off of what was even by then a tired concept — in 1957, I Love Lucy had an episode titled “Ricky Minds the Baby” — I’d still argue its existence was passable given the prevailing social norms at the time. But almost 30 years later, it’s safe to say that if a ghost were to mysteriously appear in the background of a shot of Guys with Kids — as weird Internet rumors and video indicate occurred in Three Men and a Baby — it’s likely the spirit would merely be shrugging its shoulders while lamenting, “This shit again?”

Granted, Guys with Kids isn’t the only show currently guilty of relying on the passé “men aren’t meant to deal with children” plot line. NBC’s Up All Night stars Will Arnett as a stay-at-home dad but mostly uses clever writing to generate laughs as opposed to poking fun at the idea of his situation. CBS’s Two and a Half Men also relies on inept guys taking care of a kid, but that’s probably the 15th or 16th biggest problem I have with that show.

Ultimately, the underlying message dictating that there’s something bizarre about a man capably and willingly taking care of his child is at best a dumb commentary and at worst a harmful one. There are now more women receiving a college education than men, and this trend is likely only going to increase in coming years. Given the demographics, it’s senseless and ignorant to suggest that despite achieving higher than their male counterparts education-wise, it should be a natural given that women should be the ones forced to put their careers on hold to in order to raise children. From a sheer economics standpoint, we should want to encourage the more educated segment of our society to contribute as much time to their jobs as possible. And thus, it’s long past time we fully retired this notion in the entertainment industry that dictates that male characters are meant to be providers and female characters are meant to be nurturers — and anything deviating from this is somehow a “hilarious” happenstance.

But then again, more than 10 million people watched Survivor last week, so maybe we aren’t quite ready for our entertainment to be representative of this decade.

Lee Aronsohn and Bill Prady on Showrunning

Alex Epstein reports on a panel we wish we’d been at:

I had a chance to attend a panel discussion on “Showrunners” at July’s Just for Laughs Conference with TWO AND A HALF MEN co-creator Lee Aronsohn and BIG BANG THEORY showrunner Bill Prady, moderated by Variety‘s Steven Gaydos. A few takeaways:

Lee likes to cast “people I can’t stop looking at.” Talent and charisma are two different things. You can’t teach charisma. But it’s not enough. You need talent and professionalism. Charlie Sheen might have been the star, but “the engine that is Jon Cryer” powered the show.

Some standups are terrible sitcom actors. On BIG BANG, there’s only a single standu, Melissa Rauch. Everyone else are professional actors, many with theater degrees, or who were child actors – all serious veterans. A day player can get by on charisma, but a recurring role needs chops.

(I cast a standup once. He could not memorize his lines for the life of him. And he wouldn’t rehearse, either. We had to make cue cards.)

Bill Prady says he lets his casting director filter actors, but he hires writers without a filter. “Sitcoms are made by writers,” he said, and agents are terrible filters. He told a story about an agent who insisted he put a script on the top of the heap. It was terrible. He called back and asked what the agent liked about the script. The agent couldn’t answer. Because, you see, he hadn’t read it.

Bill read 400 scripts to make the BIG BANG THEORY room. He didn’t read them all the way through, of course. But he read each one enough to know whether he wanted to work with the writer or not. “Only I know what I’m looking for, and I generally find it in the first five pages.”

Lee Aronsohn said he’s also hired people into the room based on their standup act, or their plays. He hired a woman based on her blog once. 2 ½ MEN does “gang writing” – 9 people in a room at once – so not everyone has to be a structure person.

Read it all

CBS Fall 2012 Premiere Dates

Honking press release:

CBS ANNOUNCES 2012-2013 PREMIERE DATES

Wednesday, Sept. 19

  • 8:00-9:30 PM SURVIVOR: PHILIPPINES (25th edition premiere)

Monday, Sept. 24

  • 8:00-8:30 PM How I Met Your Mother (8th season premiere)
  • 8:30-9:00 PM Partners (Series Debut)
  • 9:00-9:30 PM 2 Broke Girls (2nd season premiere)
  • 9:30-10:00 PM MIKE & Molly (3rd season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM Hawaii Five-0 (3rd season premiere)

Tuesday, Sept. 25

  • 8:00-9:00 PM NCIS (10th season premiere)
  • 9:00-10:00 PM NCIS: LOS ANGELES (4th season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM Vegas (Series Debut)

Wednesday, Sept. 26

  • 9:00-10:00 PM Criminal Minds (8th season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (13th season premiere)

Thursday, Sept. 27

  • 8:00-8:30 PM The Big Bang Theory (6th season premiere)
  • 8:30-9:00 PM Two and a Half Men (10th season premiere)
  • 9:00-10:00 PM Person Of Interest (2nd season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM Elementary (Series Debut)

Friday, Sept. 28

  • 8:00-9:00 PM CSI: NY (9thseason premiere)
  • 9:00-10:00 PM Made In Jersey (Series Debut)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM Blue Bloods (3rdseason premiere

Saturday, Sept. 29

  • 10:00-11:00 PM 48 Hours Mystery (26th season premiere)

Sunday, Sept. 30

  • 7:00-8:00 PM 60 Minutes (45th season premiere)
  • 8:00-9:00 PM THE Amazing Race (21st edition premiere)
  • 9:00-10:00 PM THE Good Wife (4th season premiere)
  • 10:00-11:00 PM THE Mentalist (5thseason premiere)

Want to Get a Pilot Order From CBS? Run One of Their Current Hit Shows

And there you have it. The Secret of the TV Universe. Use this info wisely, young Jedi.

The Tannenbaums – be nice if you meet them

CBS Orders Comedy Pilot From ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Producer
by Lacey Rose, Lesley Goldberg

CBS is getting a jump on the 2013-14 development season.

The single-camera “Ex-Men” will be written and directed by How I Met Your Mother producer-director Rob Greenberg and hails from “Two and a Half Men” executive producers Eric and Kim Tannenbaum.

[It] centers on a young guy who finds camaraderie living among the more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex.

Read it all

Two points to note here:

  1. The premise – young man buddying up with other guys in a “short-term rental complex” – is as high concept as you can get, especially to showbiz types in L.A., who are constantly moving in and out of places like that (hi, Oakwood Garden Apartments!), usually during divorces.
  2. Ain’t no newbies involved.

As the old saying goes, “Success breeds success.” So start breeding.