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Darryl M. Bell,
So why does this show suck? Unfortunately, that really is the only question, because there is no doubt that it does.
For those unfamiliar with the premise of the show, the doomed-to-be-shortlived series Cavemen focuses on a number of Neanderthals and their struggle to exist in modern day America and is based on the characters featured in a series of television ads for Geico Insurance. The concept is solid and there is every reason to think it could be executed successfully.
I had to think about it for awhile, but then the tagline from the commercials -- something to the effect of "We're not that much different from you" provided me with the key to the show's suckiness. Even though cavemen/Neanderthals are actually a different species than humanity, the title characters of this show, it turns out, are exactly the same as those of us who are boring jerks.
Maybe its my background as a game writer -- rather than a soulless, hack, committee-based writer from California -- but this show had so much potential, and none of it has been realized. To start with, the producers should have focused on the fun things that would make cavemen different from us.
What could conceivably be funny, for example, about giving them occupations like perpetual grad student and furniture store clerk, when they would have more compellingly been drawn to things like subterranean utility workers and guides at cave parks? Why would they play prosaic games like squash, when a whole episode could be devoted to them trying get hunting licenses to go after game with spears? A show like this could write itself, and it takes some willfully bad writing to make it quite so crappy and boring.
Another tiresome aspect of this show is an attempt to portray the cavemen as being subjected to a number of stereotypes associated with various human minorities. Yawn! This has been done so many times before, and never more drearily than this. And, as noted previously, Neanderthals really are a different species, so using them as a metaphor for racial stereotyping is both uncompelling and off the mark.
Responses are welcome, including those from anyone who wants to tell me why I'm wrong. I'd like to enjoy this show and am just sorry that I have thus far been unable to.
Michael J. Varhola, Skirmisher Online Gaming Magazine
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