Days before Fox announced its fall schedule last month, word was ”Greg the Bunny” was a shoo-in to replace “Malcolm and the Middle” in the Sunday-night post-“Simpsons” timeslot. We subsequently learned “Malcolm” isn’t going anywhere this fall, and “Greg” is now earmarked for midseason.
Here’s the word on “Bunny” from “Viacom Girl,” who’s smart enough to know the new live-action “The Tick” is really funny and why “Titus” continues to utilize canned laughter:
I have to admit, I'm not the biggest fan of Fox comedies. With the exception of "Married With Children" and "The Simpsons," there isn't much to crow about over there.
I know I'm in the minority since I don't care for "Malcolm In The Middle" which plays like a live action cartoon with a decibel level somewhere near "Sensarround." The woman playing the mother shouts louder than a firefighter in the midst of a four alarm blaze.
As far as "Titus," I thought the movie with Anthony Hopkins with the same title was funnier.
Fox had their usual share of awful comedy pilots this past season. Amongst the pile of unsold rubble was a live action spin-off from the cartoon "King Of The Hill" called "Monsignor Martinez" which was a painful bomb. Then again, I don't laugh at "King Of The Hill."
There's also an unsold concept called "More Patience" about a female shrink that looked like something made for Lifetime. It was softer than my hair after conditioning.
The "buzz" around was that their hottest comedy prospect was something called "Greg The Bunny," but that praise dissipated once the show didn't make the Fox fall schedule and people started seeing the tape around town.
Now it's slated for midseason -- which at Fox usually starts three weeks after their new shows tank.
"Greg The Bunny" is an attempt to combine "Sesame Street" with the "Larry Sanders" comic sensibility. It's a show within a show taking us behind the scenes of a children's program entitled "Sweetknuckle Junction" with the conceit being that the puppets who populate the cast exist alongside their human counterparts as real entities with actual lives after the director yells cut.
The puppets, which are of the crude sock variety, are egotistical stars that possess human foibiles and tempraments.
Apparently, the title character of "Greg The Bunny" made his first apperance on the Independent Movie Channel introducing indie flicks over there. I must have missed him since I quit watching after I saw "Niagara, Niagara" being broadcast for the trillionth time.
Still, all I kept thinking as I watched "Greg The Bunny" was why would any network president get behind this thing with any measure of enthusiasm?
"Greg The Bunny" can't sustain itself as a series, as evidenced by the fact that the concept of pushy and narcissitic puppets can barely hold up for its maiden half hour.
Human characters are portrayed by gifted actors like Eugene Levy as the show's producer as well as Seth Green, in his now stereotypical role of the feckless smartass son. As I was watching all the humans and puppets interact in what is supposed to be "edgy" comedy, I was struck by the fact how much funnier the old "Muppet Show" was. This, despite the fact that it was partly targeted for children.
"Greg The Bunny" will flop whenever it debuts, and not even be honored with the reputation of a "cult" show. Part of the problem is there are far too many characters for a half hour. Listing them in the credits almost took up the whole first act.
Once again, network executives show how lost they are. This is a series that belongs on Comedy Central airing late at night somewhere between "Strip Mall" and an info-mercial for that George Foreman grill which drains all the grease out of hamburgers and lamb chops, speaking of another puppet.
What's doubly maddening is that Fox has had the wonderful live action version of "The Tick" sitting on the shelf for a near eternity. Now, it's being summarily thrown away in a deadly timeslot following the failed cartoon "Family Guy."
I was horrified reading in the trades a few weeks back how much antipathy a few advertisers had towards the pilot of "The Tick," one of them saying it was the worst pilot they'd seen in years. That simply isn't the case.
(Unfortunately, Jenny McCarthy didn't make a pilot this year so that distinction would have been clearly taken. I read the script for her purposed newest project entitled "Honey Vicarro" in which she'd play a female "Austin Powers" detective in mini-skirt and go go boots. Just awful. Hopefully, the studio won't make it and give all the money allocated to some other more worthy McCarthy project -- like training her to fulfill her more appropriate destiny of becoming a supermarket checker.)
Everyone better set their VCRs because "The Tick" isn't given much of a chance for survival, since even if it does pull a miracle and get good ratings they wouldn't be able to gear up for new episodes for quite some time. The series has been sitting on the shelf for something like a year now and already had a wrap party.
So consider "Greg The Bunny" to be network television's latest attempt to help send even more subscribers to HBO. After all, for all you dudes I'm sure it's an easy choice between watching a mediocre show on Fox about egotistical smart mouthed puppets or sitting down for a lapdance from "G-String Divas."