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Ugh!! Derek Flint Calls ABC’s Geico CAVEMEN Pilot ‘Astoundingly Awful’!!

I am – Hercules!! The pissed-off cavemen in the Geico commercials make me laugh, but I could see how it might be tricky to expand their nonsensical concept into an ongoing sitcom. We’ll know if “Cavemen” goes to series on May 15, the day ABC announces its autumn schedule. It won’t if the ABC execs feel the way AICN vet “Derek Flint” does:
“Cavemen” has a lot of people talking since it was first announced. People will continue to talk… about just how astoundingly awful it is. “Cavemen” is literally a thirty second commercial expanded to twenty-two minutes. But… it’s actually much worse than that. Just like their source material, the origin of these domesticated Cro-Magnons is never explained. I guess “Encino Man” is part of the prequel trilogy. We meet these humanoids already fully integrated into society and living in a mid-west apartment with a bunch of Ikea furniture. Think about it, a show based on a commercial is bound to have a lot of product placement. Now comes the most mind numbing, stupendously stupid and astoundingly misguided part of this fiasco: The creators have tried to infuse social satire by making the show an allegory for prejudice. They draw astoundingly leaden parallels to every minority group in the world without a laugh in sight. It’s jaw dropping horrendous and actually makes “American Dad's” lunkheaded topicality seem sophisticated. The supposed “plot” of the pilot revolves around the Cavemen trying to crash an upscale country club, invoking the ad for the movie “Caddyshack”: “Some people just don’t belong.” This pilot is slow, talky and dull… with the only real visual flourishes revolving around the Cavemen donning different costumes throughout the show in their bid to fit in. Making matters worse: The pilot uses different actors in the Cavemen roles and none of them are nearly as effective as their advertising counterparts. One of them actually reminded me a little bit of Sanjaya. This video will get passed around like the infamous “Star Wars Christmas Special.” It’s nice to know that the spirit of Ed Wood lives on. Ironically, amidst the mad rush of script ABC developed this season was one of the funniest half hours I ever read… and they didn’t order THAT script in favor of this depth charge which could be the first pilot to actually hurt an auto insurance company. Which also begs the point: Would Geico advertise on this thing? My guess is they'd pass. Your Man, Derek Flint






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Readers Talkback
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  • May 3, 2007, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Ouch

    by chrth

    That's going to require more therapy!

  • May 3, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST

    I bet the caveman goes nuclear in the finale

    by Raymar

    so close...

  • May 3, 2007, 9:26 a.m. CST

    didn't see that one coming!

    by just pillow talk

    It was such an iron clad concept...

  • May 3, 2007, 9:26 a.m. CST

    THIS YEAR'S LITTLE MISS CAPTAIN...CAAAAAAVEMAAAANNN!!!

    by Err

    Only not as good.

  • May 3, 2007, 9:52 a.m. CST

    the only way this would ever work...

    by keyserSOZE

    would be to do it with the original actors, and in a format more like Arrested Development or The Office. you can't have the cheap "TGIF" feel that ABC shows always have, particularly with the lame jokes and laugh tracks.

  • May 3, 2007, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Only the original...

    by kbass

    cavemen will do. Don't settle for crappy impersonations. What makes the commercials funny are the actors. Nice decision switching them out. Jackasses!

  • May 3, 2007, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Too Bad, really,

    by Pound Sand

    It could have opened the door for other commerical to sitcom/half hour dramas. And it's a far better idea than the latest iteration of the tired old CSI: Trenton or Young Attractive Doctors/Lawyers in Love show. Maybe Herc should call this show the BEST SITCOM EVER and hasten the demise.

  • May 3, 2007, 10:05 a.m. CST

    in other news, taco diarrhea still burns

    by BadMrWonka

    worst idea ever...

  • May 3, 2007, 10:05 a.m. CST

    “Cavemen” raped my thirtysomethinghood!

    by mrmgp

    There. I said it. Now I'm going to cry. The Geico commercials will never be the same again. Sigh...

  • May 3, 2007, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Best new ABC series since "Lost"

    by DynamixRo

    Mark my words!

  • May 3, 2007, 10:10 a.m. CST

    I love a good "fish out of water" story

    by slone13

    Well, I do.

  • May 3, 2007, 10:21 a.m. CST

    That was an astoundingly good review

    by telepathos

    I'm surprised they would make the astoundingly bad decision to change actors when the originals are so astoundingly effective in the role.

  • May 3, 2007, 10:25 a.m. CST

    especially fish tacos

    by just pillow talk

    he's putting his mom on speaker...

  • May 3, 2007, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Or as Dubys might say, 'nuc-uluar'.

    by Pennsy

    ;)

  • May 3, 2007, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Wow. what a shock

    by I Dunno

    I thought we were looking at the next Cheers or Seinfeld. Oh and if you allow yourself to admit that you like a commercial, you're part of the problem. Commercials are to be skipped over and avoided.

  • May 3, 2007, 10:35 a.m. CST

    They've forever ruined the...

    by jimmy rabbitte

    ...roast duck, with the mango salsa. I'll never be able to order it again.

  • May 3, 2007, 10:52 a.m. CST

    What Dystopika said. . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . .Prejudice was the whole point. We have wealthy, arrogant, prick white guys, the LAST people that are ever going to be dumped on by society, only they have grotesque cavemen faces and are completely ripped on. Smart premise for a commercial, but I still thought it would be a miracle they could get a whole show based on it.

  • May 3, 2007, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Don't knock American Dad

    by Dexters Army

    It's truly not that bad...people just expected it to be "Family Guy," in the body of an uptight Republican. Don't hate.

  • May 3, 2007, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Derek Flint is just prejudiced against Cavemen.

    by bobbyjoe

    How about a series based on those "Head On, Apply Directly to the Forehead" commercials?

  • May 3, 2007, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Um, shocking

    by vich1

    When I first heard about this I said it would suck beyond belief and was an idiotic idea.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:19 a.m. CST

    SHOOSH!!

    by FrixFrixFrix

    no? wrong caveman.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:29 a.m. CST

    We're surprised??

    by Purgatori

    Wow, it sucked? Really? And it's on ABC? Nuh unh...I don't believe you.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:30 a.m. CST

    I wonder if the creationists are going to be pissed

    by I Dunno

    Because the earth is only 6,000 years old and caveman bones were placed here by Satan to test us.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:32 a.m. CST

    The "Guest Star" possibilities are endless...

    by GenericGeek

    Think cross-promotion. They could have a blind date with the RGX girl, or visit the chimp-run company from that other ad, for some uncomfortable silences. There's money there... Ah, skip it.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Screw this show

    by _Maltheus_

    I want to see the cavemen as news broadcasters. You can replace Larry King and Bill O'Reilly and no one will ever notice. The best would be when you send them to presidential news conferences. Hey it would get me watching mainstream newscasts again and it sounds far more entertaining than this show.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Gecko anyone

    by Dexters Army

    I mean he was the first one...by he must be really "green." Eh? Get it...cause he's a gecko and gecko are by nature gree...oh, screw it.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Gecko anyone?

    by Dexters Army

    I mean he was the first one...by he must be really "green." Eh? Get it...cause he's a gecko and gecko are by nature gree...oh, screw it.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Gecko anyone?

    by Dexters Army

    I mean he was the first one...by he must be really "green." Eh? Get it...cause he's a gecko and gecko are by nature gree...oh, screw it.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:40 a.m. CST

    I have the perfect guest star...

    by Mr Bonefish

    Durst...she will make it happen cause anything with her in it will make loads of cash...oh and her teeth means they save on makeup.

  • May 3, 2007, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Move Baldwin onto the Caveman show?

    by jimmy rabbitte

    ...you ungrateful little pig...

  • May 3, 2007, 1:15 p.m. CST

    they should've kept the actors.

    by JacksonsPole

    the whole reason those commercials worked was the actors. they were dead on. the decision to switch actors was awful...

  • May 3, 2007, 1:42 p.m. CST

    His'n'His & Hers'n'His: Sonic Drive-in Stories

    by Wyatt Wingfoot

    The comic travails of two couples: a (possibly ghey?) pair of lunkheads and a man & wife (he's weak, she's got his balls...) They eat and talk and eat and talk about eating. Sells burgers & shakes & sausages & gravy(!) AND COMEDY to the masses. Who could hate on THAT? <BR><BR>The series of SONIC commercials (regional?) are funny enough and the vignette always ends with an obligatory )))BITCHSLAP!!!((( sound effect. More material than those damned cavemen.

  • May 3, 2007, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Just what we need...

    by Kid Z

    ... 30 minute commercials disguised as entertai... oh ... waitaminute... American network TV.... Nevermind....

  • May 3, 2007, 2 p.m. CST

    Weird how Geico has this vast...

    by Kid Z

    ... rotating cast of pitchcreatures. They've got the lizard; who strangely enough, once sounded like Frasier, but who lately has apparently become British... do they even have geckos in the UK? They have the cavemen, who, for some reason creep me out... must be some sort of Altered States ancestral memory thing there. Then, they have all the fake "average folk" who always seem so smug that they switched to Geico.

  • May 3, 2007, 2:01 p.m. CST

    To quote the Chili Peppers

    by a rolling stone

    I am losing my taste for the human race.

  • May 3, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST

    Of COURSE it fucking sucks...

    by Harry Weinstein

    What the hell else could anyone with half a brain possibly expect from a TV show based on a commercial? That doesn't even have the common sense to stick with what made the commercials work? If you even really thought they worked in the first place? Unless it's Phil Hartman and said caveman is actually an unfrozen lawyer, get this shit the fuck outta here. You expect anything less than total contempt for viewers from the network that brought you THE PATH TO 9/11? Fuck that. Turn the damn idiot box off already... it's not your friend.

  • May 3, 2007, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Bring Back Ringo, Dennis, and Shelly

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Nuff said

  • May 3, 2007, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Wow, so the show about the Geico cavemen sucks?

    by Richard Cranium

    Alert the media! Seriously, is there anybody out there who thought there was even the slightest chance that this show WOULDN'T be a piece of shit?

  • May 3, 2007, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Such a rotten

    by Stuntcock Mike

    fucking idea. It's like making a "Where's the Beef" sitcom, for shit's sake.

  • May 3, 2007, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Funniest half-hour ever read?

    by TVSurfer

    Hey Derek, More importantly what was the funniest half hour you ever read? What was it about? Why didn't it get picked up?

  • May 3, 2007, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Look.. I'm just a cave man...

    by Kid Z

    ... your scientists thawed me out and revived me and I went to college, got a film school degree and got a job as an executive at a major broadcast network. Your modern world confuses and frightens me...

  • May 3, 2007, 3:17 p.m. CST

    Thank you for the spoiler warning..

    by Ironmuskrat

    I want to be able to watch the plot unfold without knowing any of the surprises in advance.

  • May 3, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST

    How long before one of them says......

    by Stuntcock Mike

    DYNOMIIIITE!

  • May 3, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Save this show!!!

    by zer0cool2k2

    Add an arch-nemesis for the Cavemen. Sleestaks, all smooth and Ferrari driving, never ridiculed by humanity, getting the upper management jobs and always getting the girls!

  • May 3, 2007, 3:22 p.m. CST

    just pillow talk

    by Stuntcock Mike

    FTB man, FTB.

  • May 3, 2007, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Holy Marc Storace !

    by Blood T Cat

    They should've set it in Ireland, no wait...Prague. Yeah, definitely Prague.

  • May 3, 2007, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Ernest was a commercial first.

    by Poisonouskid

    He went on to become a DVD phenomenon.

  • May 3, 2007, 5:47 p.m. CST

    Don't the Cavemen represent white males?

    by Drath

    I thought the joke was that their complaints were based on ego and not an actual discrimination. It kind of ruins the humor if they become a mockery of people who actually are discriminated against as opposed to people who just FEEL discriminated against. Also, I knew this would suck when I heard they weren't getting the same actors. I don't think they needed an origin story--I kind of like that they *aren't* explained. Also, this reveiw is kind of vague, and the plug for another script sounds like bitter grapes or even an agenda, so I don't know about this one. There are times like this I think they should put pilots on i-tunes and let the word of mouth be the judge.

  • May 3, 2007, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Huge shame. And why didnt they use the original guys?

    by Freakemovie

    They totally made the commercials. Every conversation I had about this went like this: Me: They're making a sitcom out of the cavemen. Friend: Sweet! Me: But they're using different actors. Friend: Oh, so it's gonna suck.

  • May 3, 2007, 7:06 p.m. CST

    Darnnit ! ! !

    by Napoleon Park

    So, if this bombed, does this mean that series about the psychic detective who solves crimes by dreaming about Abraham Lincoln, a Talking Beaver and a Man In A Diving Suit won;t get made? Because I was totally hoping for a Kirstie Alley cameo as the ass painted blue. I think she's asstastic!

  • May 3, 2007, 8 p.m. CST

    She's a Chimp, He's the Pope, they solve mysteries

    by Drath

    See how even rediculous characters can be put into a workable premise?

  • May 3, 2007, 8:19 p.m. CST

    Shoulda made a "White Chicks" show

    by Ikaruga

    You know, that movie where those two black guys pretend they're white women?

  • May 3, 2007, 10:11 p.m. CST

    You Lie.

    by Gozu

    They didn't really make a show based on a series of unfunny, mildly disturbing commercials that no one likes. It's all a lie, like a Photoshopped Heath Ledger or positive review of Transformers.

  • May 3, 2007, 10:26 p.m. CST

    I can't even be bothered to slag this series.

    by kabong

    Hollyweird (appellation for the US TV and movies industry) can't do shit right. Crap concepts crappily executed.

  • May 3, 2007, 10:53 p.m. CST

    I didn't know they were changing the actors.

    by CherryValance

    That's terrible. I love the original guys.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:05 p.m. CST

    Well...

    by Raphman

    This kills any chance of Erin Esurance of getting a TV show.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:06 p.m. CST

    The Cavemen show is for...

    by mrtwig48

    ...really old little kids and really old gays.

  • May 4, 2007, 3:16 a.m. CST

    Now that we're on the subject of Geico.........

    by Doc_Strange

    Just who in the hell is Esteban?

  • May 4, 2007, 3:55 a.m. CST

    Spoiler?

    by a rolling stone

    How could you spoil this? It spoils itself. There are no golden nuggest to hide or horde. This is a bad idea.

  • May 4, 2007, 5:51 a.m. CST

    I don't know whether to be disappointed or relieved...

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    The above poster who said that the pilot should have used the actors from the commercials and formatted in the style of Arrested Development has it right. This concept can't work as a straightforward sitcom.

  • May 4, 2007, 6:36 a.m. CST

    WTF!?!?!?!

    by Freefinger

    The commercials aren't even funny, it gets a little smile on your face sometimes, but funny.. hell no. Now they're doing this as a SHOW?... WTF!!!!<P>And did Derek Flint call American Dad a lunkhead? Now that show is funny.

  • May 4, 2007, 7:50 a.m. CST

    ragging on American Dad...

    by omarthesnake

    is just going to make a lot of us question your validity as a critic. It's not great, but it's a solidly entertaining show. And complaining about the cavemen-as-minority-metaphor just shows you never paid attention to what the commercials themselves were actually about (well, other than being about selling car insurance). In the ol' nutshell, you've done nothing to show us we should give a flying flip what you have to say about a show we're likely never going to see.

  • May 4, 2007, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Am I the ONLY one to think this was a BAD idea?

    by Red43jes

    I just DON'T get it...whats so funny about these commercials? They are just plain dumb. I have NEVER laughed at them. What next? Ronald McDonald replaced Bozo? The "Where's the beef?" lady gets her own sitcom?

  • May 4, 2007, 9:41 a.m. CST

    And Geico's insurance rates ARE NOT the cheapest!

    by Red43jes

    I ended up going with USAA (I'm military)...hell, before I went to USAA, I had Erie Insurance, after moving to Pa.

  • May 4, 2007, 9:48 a.m. CST

    This just in

    by Jor-El23

    the sky is blue...stay tuned for more obvious news as it develops.

  • May 4, 2007, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

    by Pardon_My_Zinger

    The recurring SNL sketch featuring the late, great Phil Hartman - this seems to be what this idea is ripping off. Maybe not the commericals, but the idea for a series. Thankfully, Hartman in his infinite wisdom knew not to expand the sketch beyond the seven minutes or however long they were per show.

  • May 6, 2007, 1:15 a.m. CST

    Go to www.cavemanscrib.com for the original...

    by chrisd

    cavemen. Great!

  • May 6, 2007, 10 a.m. CST

    "Real Men of Genius" - UGGGGGH!!!

    by Pardon_My_Zinger

    I HATE that series of radio spots with the burning intensity of a thousand suns. HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT. Every times one comes on the radio at work, I turn the volume all the way down. And the singing - oh my God, that horrible forth-rate faux bar band quasi-Springsteen crap which we had to deal with during the mid- and late 80's (and this is from someone who generally loves 80's music and culture). Regardless of how bad this Caveman pilot supposedly is, before I heard another one of those radio spots I'd rather watch the pilot. A THOUSAND TIMES.

  • Oct. 3, 2007, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Cool concept, wrong actors

    by notmade4tv

    It's nothing against the current actors, but the original characters in the commercial did it for me. The commercial would not have been a hit without the actors who portrayed the cavemen characters. Why the hell didn't ABC stay with the same actors. FYI to ABC; if the show fails, then it is your fault. Don't mess with a good thing. KISS, keep it simple stupid. Stay with what works.

  • Oct. 10, 2007, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Tiny House would have been a better choice

    by Rskid

    New reality tv, Geico commercial "Tiny House" has more potential than Cavemen.