If nothing else, hopefully I’ll encourage more people to watch “Emma Approved.” And if I’ve embarrassed myself, I’ll be thinking of some good pen names tonight. How’s …Penelope Olympia Charleston? Yup, nailed it.
Dear ABC Family,
You know that I love you guys. I’ve loved you guys since…forever. Since before Spencer Hastings (the talented Troian Bellisario) became a style icon on Pretty Little Liars. (Thank you, Mandi Line.) Since before Sutton Foster danced as Michelle Simms on Bunheads. Even since way before Cappie and Casey (I miss Spencer Grammar, is anyone really watching Ironside?) first hooked up on Greek.
But let’s talk about Bunheads. It was canceled. And it was a great show. Seriously a great, gotta-watch-it-no-matter-what show. That was a tough loss for this TV fan. The Lying Game was terrific. (When Charisma Carpenter broke the cancellation news to me during an interview, I was shocked!) And then we have Jane By Design and The
Nine Lives of Chloe King. While I wasn’t as big a fan of these shows, they were both pretty good. They were …almost-there. Almost perfect. So close.
You have your network branded very well. It’s happy and bright, and like crack…er, candy, for us! It’s not afraid to be campy and fun when it needs to be. And we need more of that!
You’ve done a lot of hour-long dramas. …But not as many half-hour sitcoms. And I think you should reconsider. Think of it as having The Disney Channel shows, but for a slightly older audience. (Although, who are we kidding, plenty of cool tweens/teens/adults are watching Liv and Maddie, right? Dove Cameron is adorkable.)
Melissa & Joey and Babydaddy seem to be your only half-hour shows. But you need more. Why?
Not everyone has the time to devote to invest in more hour-long shows.
These shorter shows can be less emotionally-draining (Spencer and Toby, aaaah!), fun, and relaxing to fit into schedule’s.
These shows don’t make it seem like if you watch episodes out of order, you’ll be lost forever. You can pick-up wherever you want, and even watch them out of order. Meaning, if it’s on, you’re watching!
People really respond to humor. People want humor. Some shows would even work better as humorous. Comedies work. And people really identify and follow celebrities that stand-out as funny. They become their own brand. (Think, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Selena Gomez. Demi Lovato. Amanda Bynes pre-2013. Bridgit Mendler. Mindy Kaling. Zooey Deschanel. Lena Dunham. Tina Fey. Amy Poehler.)
Who is ABC Family’s Lena Dunham?! That’s not the important questions. It’s, who is going to be ABC Family’s answer to Lena Dunham? Who are the funny, original, (age-appropriate), empowered female voices that will emerge from the network?
TLDR? Hire some burgeoning comedian’s to be spotlit in sitcoms! You could turn just about anyone into a star if you give them a platform that teens want to respond to.
If Jane by Design had featured Erica Dasher as Jane talking about her life in a Vlog style, it might have had a lighter, fresher tone and been a solid player for your schedule. Sitcoms don’t have to lose all of their emotional levity. They just seem to be more easily digested and enjoyed. Plus, they make people smile. And smiling people are happy people. And happy people want that happy feeling again, meaning they’ll go back to what made them smile. This is probably science, but I’m also using the same sort of logic that Elle Woods used in Legally Blonde. (Thank you for always airing that movie. It’s taught me a lot.)
Hey, how about a sitcom based on Elle Woods? I’d totally watch that. With good writing and good fashion, most of us will watch just about anything. Even if the plots seem fishy, or the hairstyles start going down the hill. (We’ve stayed with Hanna Marin and her trip down I-chopped-my-hair-with-scissors-in-the-dark lane.)
If I may, I have one solid suggestion. Look at what the people behind the Emmy-winning “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” are doing. They also did “Pemberly Digital” and “Emma Approved.” Hank Green and Bernie Su have delivered a powerful, addictive format in these web-series. Plus, they get us all interested (and informed) in famous literature. Wouldn’t you love to be able to educate AND entertain your viewers? Talk about a bonus score.
So. That’s …what I wanted to say. I needed to say it. Sorry for the word-vomit.
Jane AusTeen (No, don’t use that. That’s awful. But “Jane, a Teen” might work for a series about a young Jane Austen!)
An ABC Family Insider since inception of the group