In a hilarious Guardian piece, Mitch Hurwitz, creator of the lamentably canceled “Arrested Development,” and the less lamentably canceled “Running Wilde,” and “Sit Down Shut Up,” offers a bulletpointed guide on how to get your sitcom axed. The man would know, right? Below, our favorites:
First impressions are everything: So if you can screw that up, you’re made. With Arrested Development, we tried showing the deep disdain that connects a family. We wanted to hold up a mirror to American society. And, just as predicted, America looked away.
Don’t be afraid to give characters the same names: Audiences tend to run from confusion. So a show, for instance, where one character is named George Michael, one character is named Michael, one character is named George and one character is named George Oscar (and perhaps another character is named Oscar), will be the kind of show you can almost guarantee people won’t develop a fondness for.
Squander iconic guest stars: As an example, Liza Minnelli has famously appealed to the homosexual audience. Note: it’s very important to alienate the homosexual audience first, or they might “come to the party”.
Don’t bother with a laughter track: Audiences don’t always know “when to laugh”. By omitting a laugh track you can almost guarantee they’ll never find out.
Audiences like nicely dressed characters. They also enjoy nudity: Split the difference by putting your character in a pair of cut-offs and call him a Never-Nude. Advanced: feel free to dip him in a vat of blue paint. That’s a real turn-off.
Read the full piece here.