The Fall of Television

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When we refer to the “new TV season,” we must note that the word “new” is being used facetiously. There is nothing new about the shows premiering this month. The situations, the jokes and the plots are the same. Using a template, you can create shows that the networks will probably come up with, too, if you give them enough time.

The “Guy Starts over with a New Life” family drama
“Head Trip.” A wealthy, selfish Wall Street tycoon only cares about money and beautiful women, both of which he has access to in vast supply. Then, he learns what’s really important in life after his head is severed in a boating accident. No longer able to see, hear, speak or think, he stumbles around New York City, teaching valuable lessons to strangers about the meaning of life and the importance of sitting down when the boat is going fast. Craig T. Nelson stars.

The “Celebrity Gets a Show in Which He Basically Plays Himself” sitcom
“Life with Adolf.” Adolf Hitler stars as Adolf McGee, a short, silly-looking man who’s a tyrant at the small carpet-store he owns … but he plays second fiddle to his free-spirited wife (Lisa Kudrow) and his precocious kids at home! Sample dialogue:

ADOLF: I can’t believe you got your ear pierced!
SON: Don’t get mad, Dad. All the kids are doing it!
ADOLF: Mad? I’m not mad. I’m Fuhrer-ous!

Each episode ends with a hug and the audience saying, “Awwwww,” and then “Heil!”

The “‘Family’ Show That Airs During the ‘Family’ Hour That Is Full of Dirty Jokes” sitcom
“Up Yores.” The Yore family — Dad, Mom, trashy teen-age daughter, sullen teen-age daughter and smart-aleck pre-teen son — move up the New England coastline to live in Nantucket. There they meet a variety of odd local characters with whom they engage in smutty repartee. In a Very Special Episode, the trashy teen-age daughter starts her own adults-only Web site; hilarity ensues.

The “Legal Drama Where Everything Gets Solved in an Hour” show
“Lawyer Cop.” Dennis Franz IS Lawyer Cop, the man who is a lawyer and a cop. As a loose-cannon cop who plays by his own rules but always get the job done, he’d tough as nails and won’t let the scum take over this city (because he lost his son to drugs years ago and now it’s personal). So each week he catches a bad guy single-handedly, even though he often gets so personally involved that the chief (Brian Dennehy) takes him off the case. Then, in the second half of the show, because he is a lawyer who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, Lawyer Cop prosecutes the bad guy in court and eventually wins. Except every now and then, Lawyer Cop loses a case, and it teaches us all some very profound lessons. Like the importance of sitting down when the boat is going fast, for example.

I like the idea of this column -- absurd ideas for TV shows -- more than I like the execution of it. The last line makes me laugh, though.

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