When a person is successful at anything (be it sports, music, writing, or simply making money), they sometimes get lauded as 'genius' if they are either exceptional at it, or if the manner in which they made their mark was uncommon.
Joel Hodgson IS a genius - let's get that straight from the outset - an unassuming, Middle-American Everyman who has a grasp for the uncommon idea and the uncanny ability to assemble a spirited team to put those ideas in motion.
Conversely, when a genius hits upon an idea that does NOT 'sell' - i.e. an idea that is not embraced by the executives who buy it and promulgate it to make money for themselves - then the genius is unfortunately held in contempt and scoffed at for no reason other than that his idea was not properly handled by the team of promulgators once it was surrendered to them.
This does not make the IDEA any less ingenious.
The TV Wheel may not be wholly original, but the energy and creativity Joel brought to this simple concept outweighed any kind of composite plagiarism. As with his legendary Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Joel once again combined a wealth of simple ideas into one strong, SELLABLE concept. Unfortunately, the cul-de-sac-minded programmers who run the airwaves thought differently. Isn't it astounding how this man who was responsible for creating and raising MST3K to worldwide cult status was not given the simple courtesy by the morons with the money to expand on another of his incredible ideas?
Had Joel's idea been allowed the opportunity to find its niche, it would have evolved into a well-loved quirky sketch comedy show, probably spawning a few well-known characters, not unlike other more 'accessible' sketch-comedy shows such as Not The Nine-O'Clock News, Sketch Comedy TV, Kids In The Hall, or even that deplorable excuse for a comedic institution - Saturday Night Live. I put quotation marks around 'accessible' because in their turn, each of the above-mentioned shows was once ranked as raw-edged and non-commercial, investors pondering whether 'the market' would hold up these 'dangerous' shows. (Oh my! The insurrect thoughts running rampant through our society!)
Yes, there *was* an aura of desperation pervading the TV Wheel's cast and sketches, but that was the nature of the beast; this was MEANT to be a frenetic serving up of old-school theatrics - no pre-taped segments or special effects were going to intrude upon Joel's vision - the cast performed everything 'live' and in 'real time', two words which have lost their meaning for most of the showbiz set. Watch Master Hodgson show you how it's done.
I was shocked and very disappointed that Joel did not get the opportunity to run at least one season with the TV Wheel. One can only imagine the frustration he and his cohorts and funders experienced as network after network must have passed on this idea, with Comedy Central opting to air the pilot (obviously to test the ratings waters) and then definitively axing it.
We are left watching the skies in anticipation of Joel's Next Big Thing.
(Movie Maniacs, visit: www.poffysmoviemania.com)
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