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Thursday, February 10, 2011

x22;Cupid" (1998) - IMDb user reviews

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Cancellation a bad move?, 20 July 2006
9/10
Author: Ernie Cordell (ernie.cordell@cdumail.com) from Washington, DC, USA

While I feel that my impressions of this work is generally aligned with the other proponents of its continuation, I would largely omit many of the superlatives praising its art, performance and collection of virtues.

I don't mean to attack the show in my criticism, I'd just like to try the understated defense of that collection of virtues. In doing so, I'd like to try to guess why it was cancelled. Sponsorship strikes me first and foremost: I would guess that whatever it was supposed to be selling, it didn't hit the market demographic or some other equally enlightening pseudoscientific ratings language. This strikes me of the sort of industry error that one might compare to pitching to one person and charging another. If you make a show that a lot of people seem to like, it doesn't make sense to complain that it doesn't sell enough lawn-mowers to the 50+ crowd; or maybe it's just me.

A more legitimate reason might seem to be that the show relied too heavily on the bubbly babbling of the Jeremy Piven character(s). It might seem, from a production viewpoint, that it would be too difficult to sustain that Dolly-Madison-a-la-Streisand tenor over a series of a number of shows. While part of me says, "While the people are still watching, who cares?" but my realistic side says that we do have to predict the future when we write, produce, direct and play in performance art. Further complicating the idea of sustaining the expected tension is the notion of suspending disbelief or finally deciding whether our "Cupid" is a Greek God or someone with a personality disorder.

Maybe one of the things that the show failed to accomplish is its intent that was reflected in an episode of the series "Bewitched" about a witch, in this case, who conjures up Benjamin Franklin. Evidently the disbelieving public of that imaginary world were ready to commit poor Benny until witch Samantha Stevens steps in to defend Franklin's antics as "reminders of Benjamin Franklin's great deeds" whether he were a counterfeit Benjamin or not. While difficult to sustain throughout a series, a previous incarnation of "Relationship Rescue" might be to pay attention to a present-day interpretation of another, possibly slower-moving civilization's attitudes toward love and romance.

Whether a real "Cupid" or "Eros" would espouse the sanitized semi-serious sitcom alternative to pop psychology relationship advice is rather immaterial. After all, it is not a serious contrast of 20th century head-shrinking against Golden-Age Grecian attitudes on romance, it is an appeal to look at issues we consider agonizingly complex and idealize them into a simplicity we can digest. An irony that may have been lost on a big part of the audience is that this is both a goal of "science" and the more "holistic" approaches reflected in the modernized presentation of a Greek God's practical common sense.

Was it a bad move to cancel the show? I believe it was -- not so much because it was such stunningly good art -- but maybe because it could have been if effort were given to sustaining the mood and supporting the premise. If I might make a bad and clichéd comparison, it is as though the advice on romance were wholly missed by those who originally promoted it: They loved it enough to commit in the beginning, but they lacked the perspicacity to dedicate time and effort to solving the problems that may have plagued it in some projected future.

The pathology reminds me of current publishing policies: A good story told well isn't enough; we want the name recognition up front so that we don't have to cultivate a good thing.

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