So, let’s step into the Way Back machine. A couple years ago, a national car insurance agency launched a pretty funny ad campaign. It featured the saying “So easy a caveman could do it” which offended a caveman who happened to be working the boom mike on the set of the commercial. IMHO, it was funny not because of the joke, but because of the creative, unexpected subject matter. The ad campaign continued, and was pretty humorous: caveman + squash racket; caveman visiting his shrink; caveman at a dance club (“Hey, Tina called. We’re getting back together!”). Thirty seconds seemed like a perfect length of time for this sort of absurd humor.
Fast forward to last season’s NBA finals on ABC, and a very teasing spot about a new show “this fall” — very brief, and very identifiable. Modern day Cavemen on the west coast. My very first reaction was a laugh-out-loud, “Hah! That might be funny.” And then I saw another spot or two and began to wonder how quickly the “stupid caveman” joke would get played out. And since pretty much every clip was of the “caveman being insulted” or “caveman doing dumb thing” variety, I figured it was gonna happen pretty damn fast.
Welcome to the present. On Sunday, I saw another spot for the show that said the premier was Wednesday at 7, along with Carpoolers at 7:30. I went ahead and plugged them both into the DVR, because I’m a TV fiend and I would feel bad if the shows were actually good and I missed them. So, late last night, after I got the kids in bed I sat down to watch them. Carpoolers was stupid and not worth anything, but Caveman.
It is despicable. Turns out that since all the blacks and chinese and crippled and fatsos are actually offended by racism and bigotry, that the television execs have cooked up a perfect storm where they can make every single filthy, hateful, racist joke but play them all off on a made-up race that’s just trying to “fit in” with the “Sapes” (homo-sapien).
Top it off with a racist landlord (Stanley Roper, anyone?) and a interracial relationship that the cavemen don’t approve of (“Keep your penis in your genus”).
Oh, and the make-up is pathetic and the writing is just awful. I don’t expect it to go far on its production merits, but that’ll usually carry a show for a season or two to give the characters their ‘sea legs’. But hopefully a few more people will realize that these jokes are terrible and just redirected from people who’ve dealt with enough of this shit for long enough that it manages to not only miss being funny, but is also patently offensive.
Now, I’m the last person in the world to preach about funny. I love irony and sarcasm and gallows humor. I’m not proud — it’s just the way I’m wired. But if you watch this show and laugh at any of the jokes, you should probably take a step back and think about why you’re laughing. Is it because the joke is funny or because the joke is hateful? Oh, and “both” isn’t an acceptable answer — haters are never funny. Don’t laugh at a hater. Don’t be a hater.