In the above equation, I’m always Charlie Brown, television executives always play the Lucy role, and the football is a good television show. I fall in love with a show, the tv execs yank it, and every time I come back for more, figuring that this time will be the time where I finally gain the object of my desire. My So-Called Life. Firefly. SportsNight. Studio 60. John Doe. Wonderfalls. Freaks & Geeks. Go ahead and add your own brilliant but canceled tv show to the list: no matter how good it is or was, the bottom line is that the folks in charge will always, always, screw up a good thing.
The show that’s always been number one on that particular list for me was Cupid, starring a pre-Entourage Jeremy Piven, which aired back in 1998. Piven played a character who claimed to be the god of love, tasked by Zeus to bring 100 couples together in order to get back to Olympus, and who hung around a couples therapist played by noted showkiller Paula Marshall. Thanks to the glory of the internet, you can watch the entire run on YouTube.) It was funny, farcical, offbeat, dramatic, and wonderfully written. It was also misunderstood, and quickly canceled, and I resigned myself to my cursed fate.
Sweet Jesus, I thought. At last. They’ve answered my prayers. I finally get a do-over.
But then reality kicked in – a major part of what made the show so wonderful was the chemistry between the leads. Also, ABC will never be able to pry Piven away from HBO. They’ll have to get a new cast, people who are probably wrong for the parts. They’ll force Rob Thomas to change the show, or maybe tweak things here and there to appeal to a larger audience, and make it nothing like the show I fell in love with. In short, the tv executives will ruin it. Because that’s what they do. They yank the football away from me.
But even with all that in mind, I’m pulling for it. I’m praying that lightning strikes twice. Because I’m Charlie Brown; I have to have faith. This time, they’ll do it right. Maybe. I hope.