ABC’s “Live In Front Of A Studio Audience” Wins The Party; 5 reasons why the Kimmel / Lear experience attracts large numbers

For the third time in as many years, Jimmy Kimmel and Norman Lear have teamed up to produce live recreations of Lear’s most famous and memorable sitcoms from the 1970s and 1980s, to achieve great entertainment and enviable odds.

Using scripts from the original productions but reimagined with an inspired cast of unexpected A-List stars, Kimmel and Lear tapped into something truly special, vibrant and entertaining, all while celebrating beloved shows from a bygone era.

In the original experiment, Kimmel / Lear chose episodes from Lear’s two best-known comedies from the early 1970s, All in the family and The Jeffersons.

Both series were groundbreaking works of Lear, because of their candid and authentic slices of American life, and their steadfast attitudes to issues that were hard-hitting and meaningful, then and now, including but not limited to. limit: racism, sexism, feminism, a woman’s right to choose, anti-war feelings, etc.

The next show that Kimmel / Lear chose to reinvent was Good time. Like All in the family and The Jeffersons, at its peak, Good time sought to shed light on social issues and injustices, through the lucid prism of a working class African-American family.

All in the family, The Jeffersons and Good time all came from the more socially militant and politically stimulating side of Lear and were known as much for the ideas they broached as for their bona fide comedy.

When Kimmel / Lear decided to do a third installment of live episodes of Lear’s canon of comedies, many assumed the couple would continue to probe Lear’s more controversial and daring library of work … perhaps Maude?

It came as a surprise when the 99-year-old impresario and his crafty late-night partner focused on some of Lear’s much lighter fare instead: The facts of life and Different shots.

As before, Lear / Kimmel has the golden touch, sensing an audience eager to have fun and just get away from it all, rather than getting bogged down in serious, problem-oriented half-hours.

Here are 5 reasons why last night’s experiment worked so well:

1. Guilty pleasures

Both The facts of life and Different shots were designed to act like heartwarming “parables” of comedy, which helped families entertain themselves with “three jokes per page” humor while tackling emotionally satisfying storylines. Shamelessly simplistic and cheesy, the two series spanned over 8 seasons each, proving that a sunny, shamelessly optimistic but honest approach to half-hour comedy isn’t the worst way to spend a half-hour. time. Ted lasso seems to have obtained this memo with great success and effect.

2. Phenomenal casting

There has been a cavalcade of castings that are not only inspired but truly unpredictable, which make these “live reboots” so much more than a trip down memory lane. To Kimmel and Lear’s credit, their “Live …” the specials are more of a “meta-experience” where we watch actors in their forties and fifties play characters in their teens, in comedies from forty or more years ago. Jennifer Aniston, Jon Stewart, Snoop Dogg, Damon Wayans, Kevin Hart, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Kathryn Hahn and John lithgow hired it all, with lesser names but equally talented actors, just as determined to have fun and truly commit to their roles.

3. It’s live

Saturday Night Live proves that one of the best ways to keep an audience throughout the end of an episode is to promise that almost all content is streamed live (with the exception of pre-produced shorts and satirical ads or video clips.) The promise that something that hasn’t been rehearsed could happen – a failure, a “smashing” actor (meaning he laughs uncontrollably, thus “shattering the reality” of the scene) or a number of other potential “netless” disasters – creates an energy and excitement sorely lacking in broadcast television. Here and elsewhere, experts point out that with the advent of premium cable and streaming, the only things that work on broadcast are sports, reality TV, and special events. “Live …” argues that “live television”, if properly packaged, can help increase ratings. (Ironically, the only “buzz” that occurred on last night’s show was when Lear himself dropped the “F” bomb in the introductory segment.)

4. It is not a fluke.

It would be one thing if Kimmel / Lear just tried this experience for the first time, but they’ve proven three times in a row how smart they are at matching classic shows with a new cast. They have managed to prove to the public that they can be trusted with these experiences, and the public rewards them with good marks.

5. Regular programming is not enough.

Name the last comedy or drama series that you or your family gathered to watch that aired on television. You are much more likely to select a premium cable or a streaming series like Succession, Bridgerton, The crown, Maid, Squid game, or any other addicting and revolutionary content not restricted by broadcast standards that stifle the freedom of expression by which broadcast television financed by advertising is restricted.

It takes the genius of Jimmy Kimmel and Norman Lear to reinvent and recreate what was once trite – a hit TV comedy that airs. Hope they continue. After all, Norman Lear will be 100 next year. May he reign for a long time.

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