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VIACOM GIRL Eviscerates Fox's GREG THE BUNNY

I am – Hercules!!

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."

VIACOM GIRL

Readers Talkback
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  • June 27, 2001, 9:46 p.m. CST

    so when

    by sinople

    Is The Tick finally gonna air? I figure it will last maybe as long as The Oblongs.

  • June 27, 2001, 10:16 p.m. CST

    What is worse?

    by otis von zipper

    I can't decide what bothers me most about this write up. The choices are: 1. Viacom Girl's disparaging remarks towards the very funny Malcolm in the Middle. 2. VG's failure to mention Get a Life as one of Fox's hallmark of comedy (as opposed to Married With Children...yeesh). 3. The writer's decision to use a mega conglomerate name for her moniker. I'm gonna pick number 3.

  • June 27, 2001, 10:50 p.m. CST

    If I want foul mouthed puppets. . .

    by RenoNevada2000

    . . .Then I'll watch Peter Jackson's brillant "Meet The Feebles!" Oh Rodger!

  • June 28, 2001, 4:14 a.m. CST

    yeah otis, but you forgot

    by TomCovenant

    to mention the smarm. VG drips with it. I picture David Spade in one of those sketches where he's a Valley Girl. Personally, I give her reviews as much weight as any of the 12 year old fanboys who talk back here just because they think they're cool to hate something. Maybe she shouldn't quit her day job as Eminem's backup singer.

  • June 28, 2001, 5:47 a.m. CST

    Viacom Girl is the Adam Buchman of Ain't It Cool

    by SplitPleaSoup

    Whatever she likes is bad, whatever she hates is good. When its firing on all cylinders, Titus has the most laughs per show. Granted, the whole Malcolm's mom's psychotic routine is a little too exaggerated, but it doesn't ruin the show. Fox has funnier sitcoms than all of the other networks combined. And anyway, is it possible to have Eugene Levy in a show and it NOT be a little funny?

  • June 28, 2001, 6:30 a.m. CST

    Maybe a better name for this talkback would be

    by TomCovenant

    Rational minds eviscerate Viacom Girl. Just a suggestion...

  • June 28, 2001, 6:39 a.m. CST

    "Damn you Tommy Tutone!"

    by MCVamp

    Family Guy may be considered a "failure," but you couldn't count funnier cartoons on more than one hand. I wonder if this chick liked it. Didn't sound like it. If that's the case, I shall ignore this review. "Wonderful. And while we're at it we can light up a doobie and watch porn!"

  • June 28, 2001, 8:05 a.m. CST

    I just wonder

    by Darth Brooks

    if we'll hear from Viacom Girl when she gives her take on the start of Titus's 6th season. That woman wouldn't know FUNNY if it hit her in the face with a custard pie.

  • June 28, 2001, 8:12 a.m. CST

    i'm gonna stick up for VG

    by Speaker Wiggin

    one, i hate malcolm in the middle, the only saving face for this show is that TMBG does the theme music. I havne't seen Titus but she is right that simpsons and married w/ children (and i know she didn't mention it but i'm including get a life) are foxes best shows. (oh and family guy) but the Tick is already great material AND Patrick Warburton is AWESOME! he was perfect as the best disney character in years (Kronk) and kronk was basically an even dumber TICK i can so picture him, i cannot wait for this. And as for the anything VG likes is bad and vice versa, it's all opinions, many of you like Malcolm, or it wouldn't be on, i happen to hate it but i love Family Guy as do many of you... and this greg the bunny thing sounds awful, i'm sorry but it does...i'd rather watch muppets tonight any day (but i will give it a chance first) Speaker

  • June 28, 2001, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Care and feeding of a monitor

    by xazqrten

    I thoroughly enjoyed the above review. My only problem will be getting the acid etch marks of my monitor screen. Quite vitrolic...refreshingly honest. She really knows how to call excrement what it really is...shit!

  • June 28, 2001, 10 a.m. CST

    No, Family Guy is not funny nor in The Simpsons' league!!!!

    by 1013nomore

    I just have to say it every time someone else says how "great" they think it is. Family Guy is my prime example for the old saying that THERE'S NO ACCOUNTING FOR TASTE. I look forward to the show being cancelled once and for all.

  • June 28, 2001, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Looks like a great vehicle for Paula Poundstone.

    by Rufus_T_Firefly

    Sex. Debauchery. Muppets. It sounds like "Meet The Feebles - The Series." Do you think Peter Jackson

  • June 28, 2001, 1:21 p.m. CST

    What about "That 70's Show" and "Futurama"?

    by Godai-kun

    Those two shows are funnier than anything on the big 3. King of the Hill is great too. I don't really care for Malcom or Titus, but I'm not going to insult those who do enjoy them. Geez, they're just TV shows, people. There's an awful lot of smugness going on around here.

  • June 28, 2001, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Wow, a pot-shot at Jenny McCarthy....

    by Brother Putney

    ... I'm making the cat-fight sound as I type this. Anybody who saw Jenny's show on MTV (I think it was called Jenny) would know that she actually is really funny when given the right material. Unfortunately, few people saw it and, like most good stuff on MTV (early Amp, Liquid TV and... sigh... THE STATE) it was foisted aside and thrown away. And, on a completely unrelated subject, is anyone other than me disturbed by that commercial lately where the guy says his wife's faded panties remind him of his mom's old panties? The ones he used to see in the hamper when he was a kid. And he says it like it's a good thing. It made me wake up screaming last night.

  • June 28, 2001, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Viacom Girl Needs A New Job

    by GrooveDaddyJ

    Having seen both THE TICK and GREG THE BUNNY, I have to disgree with Viacom Girl. Let's keep in mind that THE TICK was supposed to make last year's Fall schedule, but do to how bad the show was (and I mean bad) the show got shelved and only made it on the schedule this year becuase of who produced and directed it. Talk about owing someone big!!! They should've never taken it past cartoon format. GREG THE BUNNY is the funniest show for this season aside from INSIDE SCHWARTZ (NBC), which is hilarious! How can you even compare THE TICK to GREG THE BUNNY? THE TICK's humor is so flat that you could almost think the Earth was still believed to be flat. Let's all learn from Viacom Girl and realize that someone who is stuck on a show based on an insect that sucks your blood, is obviously sucking ours to make us think that she doesn't already work on THE TICK.

  • June 28, 2001, 4:18 p.m. CST

    So she saying "Married with Children" WAS something to crow abou

    by SethShandor

    Man, that show was awful. I kinda feel too that The Tick getting lined up to be gunned down. Like she said, even with good ratings I think it'll be buried. Why is it some networks just seem to WANT to bury good shows? Of course I haven't seen the tick yet but I'm thinking of shows like Newsradio and Quantum Leap that despite crappy scheduling and lackluster advertising still found an audience, but it was almost clear the netwrok would rather hype the shit out of crap like Veronica's Closet or yet another lame cop drama. Then of course there's the Clerks animated series....

  • June 28, 2001, 4:34 p.m. CST

    The Tick? *ahem*

    by ILK

    Anyone who has actually SEEN the tick pilot (check gnutella) and said that they did not like it is either lying or a card-carrying member of the Mr Belvadere fan club. THAT pilot is the funniest thing I've seen in years. Trust me, after seeing this you will never hear the words "knock it off" again without laughing out loud. Yes, the "effects" could use some polishing and the writing could be maybe just slightly tightened up, but it's still much better than 99% of what we'll be subjected to this year on network and cable television. It is truly sad that this series seems to have fallen into the abyss before it's even aired. Does anyone know how many episodes were shot? sad.... almost as sad as losing Lemmon... but not quite. What a bummer week. At least I get to see A.I. tonight.

  • June 28, 2001, 7:38 p.m. CST

    Jenny Macarthy in Go-go boots?

    by Kieran

    I'm there!

  • June 29, 2001, 5:27 a.m. CST

    funny

    by Thunderbolt

    I found MWC to be very funny. I was the only one at the time and my girlfriend (then) thought I was watching for the daughter. A few years later, I ran into her, and she told me how she couldn't get enough of the show and how funny it was. I also laugh at the Simpsons, Family Guy, and Futurama. Bender and Zap Branagan Rule!!!!!!! I will watch the new shows, and decide for myself. As for The Tick, I have many, many of his comics, and Paul the Samurai. I would LOVE to see the live action, but unless it gets ratings like Seinfeld............ Fox does need someone with vision at the helm. Someone who can see past a giant set of bazooms as talent.

  • June 29, 2001, 6:57 a.m. CST

    Even though I consider it (or use too) one of the greatest shows

    by Cooler-than-Thou

    The past two years have been absolutely terrible. Horrific even. Especially considering the genius it once was showcased every weekday during the evening's syndicated run. If this past season is any indication of what we should expect during the rest of it's duration, then it needs to be hacked. That Simpson in Africa episode was utter shit. It's turning in The Flintstones when Kazoo showed up to boast ratings. And for those who don't believe me, take this into consideration- Springfield has become a world not unlike the one that populate Bob Clampett cartoons. initially what made the Simpsons such a treat on the Tracy Ultman Show and it's first couple of years was that it was grounded in reality. it was a cartoon that could have easily been live-action. sure they had fantasy sequences but they were dreams, hallucinations, Halloween specials or stories told by other characters. animals may have reacted oddly (and at times human-like) but they pretty much remained animals. the most you would get is Santa's Lil Helper whimpering after Homer did something stupid or running away after someone mentioned something particularly unnerving. not koalas eating other animals or a fucking horse doing the moonwalk (although that was funny). Smithers use to be black. Snake was threatening. Bart was clever and a total bastard. Homer wasn't some stupidass clod and Mr Burns had a diabolic intelligence that rivaled Lex Luthor. the stories had a message that didn't bust you over the head. straight-forward and hilarious. and that's what made it so good. and what is it now? an ill-concieved, brainless array of animated images. it's a shame. but at least the old episodes are in syndication and we have 'Futurama'.

  • June 29, 2001, 11:44 a.m. CST

    funny shows

    by honkyD

    the past few years the number of sitcoms i will sit through has gradually decreased until finally the ONLY funny shows are on fox. and even knowing this, i've still never watched an episode of TITUS, despite the fact that it follows the FUNNIEST, most GENIOUS show on tv, THAT 70's SHOW, which consistently flaunts it's recognition of what made sitcoms great, while continuing to re-invent the genre. My sole criteria for a GREAT sitcom is that it provide me with one, just one, great huge flatulant belly laugh per show, which THAT 70's SHOW always provides. now, having never seen an episode of TITUS, i cannot critique it, i've just refused to watch it since the day it debuted. but i'm willing to bet it provides its loyal followers with that required belly laugh. you also may find that belly laugh on shows like FUTURAMA, even on MALCOLM, and i need not write, but don't want to sound absolutely retarded by not mentioning the sitcom holy grail that is THE SIMPSONS. oh, and however bad, and in poor taste every episode of THE FAMILY GUY is, it's just too damn funny not to be on tv. belly laugh belly laugh belly laugh. all other network sitcoms suck. thank you.

  • June 30, 2001, 9:36 a.m. CST

    viacom bailey

    by jeff bailey

    Holy Cow!! Look at the absolute venom being tossed around here! You would think somebody threw in a "Bruce Campbell Sucks" comment (he rules, he rules!!! he just signed my book this week!). I guess I hadn't read one of VG's reviews before. I thought you know, at least it was informative, regardless of whether I agreed with her on certain things. I also thought it was pretty well written. But wow, you guys are PISSED off! Hmmm, I can certainly see where she comes off like another of those well educated, 20something, industry types who are too "cool" for you. But I don't know for sure right? I mean she obviously reads this site. I have to say I can't wait to see the Tick. I mean I remember when I was 14 and I visited my family in Boston, you couls only buy Tick comics in New England and I bought a Tick button set. The cartoon was great and Warburton is a great choice. Doesn't Sonnenfeld have something to do with this?? I liked Maximum Bob and at least Fantasy Islnad had some cool ideas (and Madchin Amick...mmmmm)so I think that should be cool. Anyway, the real question is how the hell do you guys get your hands on all these pilots. And I will say this (and I know sound like a raging idiot Talkbacker so enjoy it this once) when will Jenny McCarthy realize she is untalented and just go into porn where she belongs?

  • July 1, 2001, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Viacom Girl and mr Sleep's final words

    by Electric_Monk

    Yes, Viacom Girl's 15 minutes of fame are ticking close to its end. Who ever she is, and to be honest I don't care, I think she should quickly go away. Her news, as I stated on my Enterprise rant, has no credibility what so ever. As for the debate about Malcom in the Middle, well, once again we see the split between great satrical humor and what I like to call The Full House Factor. TV comedy does have its ups and downs. I've made it known how much Family Guy is not funny -chucking great satrical humor out the door for bottom of the barrell bathroom jokes. It could've been a better show, alas, is all I'm saying. As for Titus, well, the show is just too mean. Maybe its my fault. Like The Family Guy, too much meanness (like bathroom humor)turns me off. But MITM is a funny, well written satrical comedy that balances the needs of the sick joke with just the right amount of meanness. Its not everyone's taste. There is a whole group of people who think comedy should always be belly laughs and obvious jokes. The 8 year success of Full House bears out such an ideology. As for Malcolms Mom, well I like her. She reminds me of my Mother, in the sense that she was loud and wanted to bring up her kids right, while dealing with lifes problems. Malcolms Mom loves her kids, but she covers it up to point out that life is not as simple as watching Full House. As for Mr Sleep, who appears to love long goodbyes, has a point. But, also, as humans we need to be able to express our desires, whether other people like them or not. There are, I sure many people who has passed through the cyberworld of AICN and have left it behind. Some remain like a relative who has out stayed their welcome. Others come here to get little bits of info and maybe a little spoiler here and there. If Mr Sleep returns to see what TB have been posted about him, it will mean that his ego got the best of him. If he never returns, well, someone else will take his place. So, in the end, do our opinions matter? Yes, to a point. TV shows success and failures, like movies and music, can be traced to fans. But, them again, look at all the people who made Tom Raider the number 1 film of the week, even after a good majority trashed the film. And then in its second week, it dropped 60%. So maybe we do have an effect, maybe we don't. Goodby Mr Sleep, we hardly knew you.

  • July 31, 2001, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Greg the Bunny is Amazing!!!

    by TheDodge

    I'm confused with this Viacom Girl. If she knows anything, she should know how EXCITED Fox is to have this potential CASH COW in their lineup. As quoted in TV guide AND Entertainment Weekly, "GREG THE BUNNY is THE sitcom in Hollywood!" I'm not sure she even watched the pilot (which is hilarious) I can't wait for the numbers to come in. I'm sure she will be proven wrong. (I just had to defend this show. I was a fan from the IFC days and I can't wait for the sitcom!)

  • Aug. 12, 2001, 10:33 p.m. CST

    greg is a let down

    by frdehhh

    Have to agree with her. I saw the pilot and it is a major let-down. And I enjoyed the stuff from the Independent Film Channel. (If you can find it, check out their parody of Night of the Living Dead. ) The present form of the show is so flat. And I heard that it isn't even the original crew making this show except for the guy who does the voice.