October 12th, 2011
02:15 PM ET
So, who had “The Playboy Club” in the cancellation pool for this fall’s new series? Don’t all raise your hands at once, and don’t think the NBC show is alone.
“The Playboy Club” was the first to get the ax, but not the only one. Broadcast networks have lowered the boom on “Free Agents,” “H8R” and “How To Be a Gentleman.”
And I’m willing to bet at least some of you out there had the same response I did: Total lack of surprise.
I'll also admit that I do, on occasion, derive a certain amount of joy from the failure of sub-par, over-hyped or offensive pop culture properties. And I’m here to tell you there’s nothing wrong with that.
In fact, I’d hazard a guess that we often enjoy watching things fail as much as we enjoy watching things succeed. Why do you think cancellation pools exist in the first place?
At its most basic level, the explanation is simple: We want to be right. We saw a preview or watched a first episode and thought, “Man, this is terrible. I can’t wait for it to get canceled.”
I didn’t think any of the so-far canceled shows were particularly good. So when the news broke that each was being put out of its misery, there was a certain sense of validation that came with it.
But I think there’s a secondary explanation for why we place bets and await failure: We don’t exclusively see the world through a positive lens. Why should pop culture be any different? So while I like talking about pop culture that I love, I LOVE trashing pop culture that I hate. (Where do you think the idea for the Everyone’s a Critic series came from?)
So bring on the next batch of new shows. If they’re good, great. If they’re terrible, all the better. In the meantime, we can wait for the next network with an itchy trigger finger to feed our sense of schadenfreude.
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