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"That's the kind of wooly headed liberal thinking that leads to being eaten."
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May 25 2006

"Him and Us" may have been too much for U.S audiences. Small article over at The Stage where Kim Catrall offers her opinion on why Anthony Stewart Head's latest pilot (based on the life of and written by Elton John) wasn't picked up this fall.

I have to admit, I would've been surprised if a major US network had picked up a series with an openly gay character (which isn't Will and Gracey).
I think it's more the US Networks afraid of FCC fines rather then the US audiences that have problems with it. Seeing the the L word and Queer as Folk are some of the biggest hits on premium cable. Heck there is now an all gay based network on the cable airwaves - Logo. The networks assume a few bible puffers speak for the masses when in actuallity they only speak for a brainwashed few. Sometimes it's frustrating to live in a country that keeps spouting about freedom all the while denying the freedom of choice to it's people. Last time I checked, TV's still had an off switch or are we expierencing the Max Headroom 15 mins now.
I've pointed the URL to the original site as they got as an exclusive.
I'm not a big fan of most of Elton's post-seventies output, but this sounds like it would have been a lot of great fun. They should try HBO or Showtime (still ouching from getting rejected by the Arrested Development guy), but only if the quality is really there.

And RavenU -- this is one gosh dang schizoid country, so I'm not sure if you're right or overly optimistic about our capacity for tolerance.
It seems like it might have just been bad timing. Sitcoms are having a rough period now. The market is all one-hour drama or “reality” programming. I think ABC only has four sitcoms on next year’s schedule with only two more due at midseason. Most of the other networks only seem to have around four sitcoms each, as well. Hopefully HIMYM will survive the drought and do well with little sitcom competition.
It takes a hell of a lot to get me to sit through a sitcom of any variety. I can probably count the ones I have regularly watched during my thirty years of life on the fingers of one hand (note I didn't include the thumb in that count).

Truthfully, this was very unlikely to be anything I would have watched so I can't say that I'm particularly unhappy that it didn't happen. I want ASH to have all the success in the world but this simply didn't feel like something that I could have watched him in. I'd much prefer to see him get some really meaty dramatic roles that will show what a quality actor the guy is.

Unless of course they get around to making that fifth series of Blackadder and he wants a role in that. Then I'll be more than happy to see him do comedy, hehe.
Like Grunge, I am not a big sitcom fan, but I would have watched this one for ASH. I hope he finds other, more positive opportunities soon.
bobster makes a great point--this kind of semi-risque concept could probably be executed to much greater effect on a cable network. In any case, I hope we get much more of ASH on the screen soon, he has great presence and style.
The mind of a network exec is a mystery to many people. I really agree with what Pliny said.
I watch no TV these days other than news, sports, and maybe the Food Network.

That said, I'd have checked this out.
I watched ASH camp it up at a Charity Auction once and he was very funny and very entertaining. I think he would have been a hoot to watch so I am sorry that this is not being picked up.
Its a shame this wasn't picked up. I would have watched it because ASH was in it, but have been jonesing (no pun intended) for a SATC alum to do something as I still miss that show.
Oh, boo. That sucks. /agrees with bobster & MrArg. Wish they would go for the wicked laughs instead of the laugh track, tart it up bit, tackle the occasional serious iss-ue, and come on right after HBO's Entourage. That could be a fun line-up that might keep me subscribing during those dark in-between-Bill-Maher-runs periods.
Pliny (the Elder or Younger? ;-)) made a good point. I also think something applies that I read in an interview with one of the creators of That 70s Show. He said they probably couldn't get That 70s Show on the air now because of the pot-smoking "Circle" scenes, but when they started several years ago, network TV was less afraid. Same for Will & Grace -- probably would never get approved now. So I think that's part of what happened to ASH's show -- the networks are really afraid of what might offend the loud protesters on the right, as RavenU said.

I also think it's even more than just what Ms. Cattrall said -- that it might be "too racy." I think the networks are also afraid of showing a gay man as the hero of the series, and show that his life is just fine. Never mind if he is a playa, or if he is faithful to his husband -- just showing someone who is gay and is happy might be too much of a risk in the current U.S. atmosphere. It's like Bill Maher says (I'm with you, barest_smidgen!): it's the people yelling, "What about the children?" that the networks are kowtowing to, not the wider public who enjoy Will & Grace, The L Word, Queer as Folk, Logo, Capote, Brokeback Mountain, That 70s Show, or any other show with a character who might offend people with a strong opinion.

But it's certainly OK to put on a show where the hero tortures people every week! That's just patriotic (and it's done by a heterosexual white man who works for the government, more or less), so it's just fine! ;-) /rant about hypocrisy
My friend who read the script for the pilot said it was *terrible*, so the truth of the matter is that it may well have been a blessing in disguise that it didn't get picked up. Maybe Tony can do a recurring guest role on "How I Met Your Mother" as Sandy's older brother. ;-)
Younger, by the way, billz. Nothing wrong with the Elder, though, except that science does my head in.
Given the talent involved with this thing it may stand a chance of getting picked up by a cable or premium network. Then again maybe the nets just thought it wasn't good enough.

You guys quit talking about HBO now. You're makin' me miss Bill Maher.
But it's certainly OK to put on a show where the hero tortures people every week! That's just patriotic (and it's done by a heterosexual white man who works for the government, more or less), so it's just fine!


Well now. He didn't torture people every single week, and he only worked for the government that one time in Why We Fight, and it was Spike who was Fine (Milton, that is). And about the heterosexual thing, what was all that hand holding with Spike?
But it's certainly OK to put on a show where the hero tortures people every week!


I'm assuming you're talking about 24. Or the Jay Leno show.
I think jaynelovesvera is having us on.... in a cute and amusing way

re 'people yelling, "What about the children?"' I darned well made sure my daughter was exposed to my out gay friends as "just folks". IE. this is my friend Betty and her girl friend Veronica. If she picked up nasty ideas at school - whether it was re blacks, gays, etc. we talked about bigotry and the hurt it causes.

It grumps we out that networks do shows about totally outrageous over the top straight people but even one hint of a campy gay guy....
"Him and Us" may have been too much of a misconceived vanity project.

I may be wrong. It might have been that this would have been fantastic. However the omens weren't good from the moment that it was conceived, not by a brilliant writer with an amazing idea, but by a rock star who thought it might be fun to create a sitcom about himself.

The verdict of OzLady's friend seems unsurprising because brilliant programmes are very rarely created that way round.
Don't get me wrong as I think Elton John is extremely talented and I really like alot of his songs but who on earth would be interested in a whole series about him (even as a fictional role model)? Maybe a movie of the week or something but a series? Also is it just me or has Elton been saying/doing alot of crazy things lately? I just vaguely remember strange things in the news about him and temper tantrums or something.
Could ABC execs have been put off the show by how bad his new vampire musical "Lestat" was? And Elton is always saying crazy things, that's what endears him to me.
Simon, well done seeing that Jay Leno is the root of all heterosexual patriotic governmentally-employed torture in the world! (Or that other thing.) ;-)

Thank you, redfern, for confirming what I always thought about Betty and Veronica. It's just so much more comfortable being out of the closet than in. (And good on you for letting your kids meet your friends as "just folks;" wish there were like a million more like you being good parents showing their kids not to hate or fear just because someone is somehow "different!")

While maybe Elton is not a great comedy script writer (if OzLady's friend is correct, which they probably are), and maybe watching a fact-based biography of him would get boring, but I think it would be really hi-larious to watch a character based on him -- outrageous, opinionated, oblivious to others, and bound to say something really, really crazy at any moment. It would be like watching ANTM, only in a sitcom! ;-)
Can we please do with a little less hate for the Religious Right here? Especially since no one _from_ the religious right, to the best of my knowledge, had anything to say about this pilot, good, bad, or indifferent. Had they done so, I'd not be objecting, but in the absence of such, it just seems like overly and inappropriately political blame-placing.

There are plenty of us who like Joss' work who aren't social liberals.

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