Why is there no room on TV for the likes of Illeanarama? (Episode 2)

Illeanarama2 Starting out as a short film, then produced as a pilot for the Oxygen network that was never picked up, IlleanaramaSupermarket of the Stars almost made it to television – via E!, but hit more snags. Rather than throw up her hands and walk away, creator/star Illeana Douglas went the route of YouTube. Not to knock the bedroom webcam superstars or penniless young filmmakers on the come that have made the site what it is today, but the current incarnation of Illeanarama (a remixed concoction of the original short with slices from the pilot) has the makings of a show that needs a more traditional home.

When I first viewed episode 1, the first thing that came to mind was another comedy that hasn’t seen the audience (or media chatter) that it rightfully deserves: Laura Kightlinger’s The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman (thank you, IFC TV). Not for the parallel satirical views of Hollywood trappings, but for their whip-smart but loose, rough around the edges feel that harken back to the days when indies (films) were indies. Before every major studio had it’s own “specialty division” to lay claim on what was left of the old aesthetic, not before sanding down the splinters (charm or true bite). And save for premium cable, we’ve come to expect even less risk taking from the networks. The Office never would have seen American screens if not for some baseline expectations for success set by it’s across-the-pond predecessor. The case for Arrested Development is moot now, as it is for the oft-compared to, even less watched ABC’s Sons and Daughters (2006 – 2006). Are viewers not ready for alternatives to spoon-fed laughs, or are the networks not ready to hand them over?

The one benefit that Illeanarama does have in it’s current home is the time and breathing room to build on it’s humble beginnings (few start-ups are born without flaws, this is no exception) while putting famous friends of Illeana’s to work, on the cheap. From the looks of things, along with Justine Bateman and Ed Bagley Jr., future guest stars Jeff Goldblum, Andy Dick, Courtney Cox and Noah Wyle aren’t looking to get paid (much).

Watch Episode 2.

Posted by Ted Zee on December 14th 2006 | Home Page | 1 Comment Subscribe to this site's feed

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