Sit-Com Flashback Filler Eps - Why?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by TheoGB, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Can anyone tell me why U.S. sit-coms feel the need after a while to not bother writing a new episode and simply have all the characters 'reminisce' to funny moments from early series.
    It really irritates me and it's so lame. Do they actually bother to get an audience in to watch the 2 minutes of original material they film? It might make sense if the episodes they take these bits from weren't repeated all the time and weren't available to buy on video.[​IMG]
    Rant out, I guess.[​IMG]
    Theo
     
  2. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    The networks here in the US order something like 23-25 episodes a "season." On a show like "The Simpsons," they started doing flashback episodes because the network demanded two more episodes than they were comfortable doing. They compromised on one original show and one "clip show." They save a lot of time and money not having to produce a full program.
    This whole concept was spoofed wonderfully in "Clerks: The Animated Series," where the second episode was a flashback show. Most of the flashbacks were still new material, but some of them were clips from the first episode.
    On a "filmed before a studio audience" sitcom, I can only assume it's a time or budget issue, giving them an easier way to fulfill a network order. That or the writers really are lazy. [​IMG]
     
  3. Bill Balcziak

    Bill Balcziak Supporting Actor

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    You get flashback episodes for the same reason you get Emeril as a sitcom "star."

    [Emeril is a good guy, but he's no actor. I remember eating at "Emerils" in New Orleans several years ago before the chef became a Food Network personality. Everyone at our table enjoyed the prix fixe chef's special presentation, and it was dazzlingly good. Emeril was actually working in the kitchen that night, and he kept sending out samples of various things for us to try (in addition to the eight courses on the prix fixe menu!). He was also gracious enough to come out after the evening rush to chat and sign our menus. It was one of the great restaurant experiences of my life, and Emeril deserves every bit of his food-related fame.]
     
  4. Ron Biles

    Ron Biles Extra

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    Another fabulous spoof occurs in a clip episode of South Park (they were trapped in a bus.) The kids' memories of previous events differs in bizarre and humorous ways from the original episodes. Good Stuff.
     
  5. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

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    Budget and time both factor in. An acquaintance of mine produces a series in Montreal, and the network/money guys tried pushing him to do two clip shows in a 21 episode season. Yikes. It very well may be different for higher budgeted shows, but on a series filmed on a shoestring, saving an extra couple of days of filming or tens of thousands of dollars can be a godsend.
     
  6. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Don't forget some of the classic "Hercules" and "Xena" clip episodes, which I actually looked forward to for a while.

    Basically, it's an easy/cheap way to pad out a network's order, especially if the order is larger than usual.
     

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