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(GEICO)'Cavemen' series gets a new criticism: It's racist
The Miami Herald ^ | July 26, 2007 | GLENN GARVIN

Posted on 07/26/2007 10:19:56 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

The producers of ABC's new sitcom Cavemen, based on a series of popular advertisements for the insurance company Geico, were ready to defend themselves against charges of rampant commercialism. But the charge that their show about put-upon Cro-Magnons in the modern world has racist undertones took them by surprise.

''I actually didn't know we would catch so much hell,'' Cavemen writer Joe Lawson ruefully told a room full of highly critical critics at a gathering of North American television writers here Wednesday. ``That's a pleasant surprise.''

Cavemen, which features shaggy Cro-Magnons trying to make their way through a hostile Homo Sapiens world, won't even air until October but is already drenched in its second wave of controversy.

The first came in May when ABC announced it was converting a handful of 30-second insurance commercials into a half-hour series. The Cavemen producers had to endure a seemingly endless round of cracks like the one on Saturday Night Live's satirical Weekend Update newscast, which announced NBC would counter with a new drama called 1-800-Mattress.

But as the show's pilot episode began circulating in Hollywood, so did a new round of criticism: that Cavemen trafficked in the very racial caricatures it was supposed to be lampooning. By depicting the Cro-Magnons as good dancers, great athletes and grand sexual partners, the show's detractors argued, Cavemen was using black stereotypes for cheap racist laughs. ''We finally get to laugh at all the stereotypes in the world directed at cavemen, without feeling guilty,'' wrote one Hollywood blogger. ABC's decision to reshoot the pilot didn't exactly help.

Wednesday's panel discussion here was the first time Cavemen producers have discussed the show in public, and they said people are reading too much into what they called a ''fish out of water'' story.

''Unfortunately, in our society, if you pick an offensive stereotype of any kind, it's going to bump into some ethnic group,'' said Mike Schiff, one of the executive producers. ``Is the show about race relations? No. Is that a background to the show? Yes, of course.''

Lawson, who wrote the original Geico commercials as well as the pilot, said that if the Cro-Magnons are an allegorical stand-in for anybody, it's not black people but outsiders.

''As human beings, we all have that need to fit in,'' he said. ``It's really a show about acclimation more than anything, and that's something that everybody deals with, doesn't matter if you're a minority or not.''

Not everybody -- in fact, almost nobody -- in the room was buying it, partly because some of the Cavemen story lines the producers offered as evidence the show isn't about race (for instance, one of the cavemen concealing the fact that he's dating a Homo Sapiens woman, for fear his Cro Magnon friends won't like it) sounded like race was exactly what they were about.

The cavemen are ''known for their athletic prowess, their sexual prowess, their dancing,'' complained one critic, to which director Josh Gordon deadpanned: ``They're Jewish.''

So many questions were about hot-button racial topics that the producers actually seemed relieved when anybody circled back to the subject of commercialism. When one critic sarcastically asked if the gecko lizard who stars in another group of Geico commercials would be making a guest appearance on Cavemen, Gordon replied that it ``depends on how ratings are.''

And he was sympathetic to the charge of another critic that Cavemen suffered ''a failure in anthropological verisimilitude'' by making its Cro-Magnons look more like Neanderthals and suggested that the show fire all its technical advisors.

''If we had technical advisors,'' Gordon conceded, ``we would probably fire them.''


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; US: California
KEYWORDS: abc; abccavemen; cavemen; geico; hollywood; race; racerelations; races; racial; racism; racist; racists; television; whine
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When do Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton get their payoffs?
1 posted on 07/26/2007 10:20:00 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
good dancers, great athletes and grand sexual partners

Pretty funny that anyone thinks these 3-things go together in one person no matter what race they are.

2 posted on 07/26/2007 10:23:49 PM PDT by donna (Typhoid Mary Matalin, the Republican Administration Destroyer and Thompson advisor.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

they’re funny as hell and some are neurotic

how can they be racist depicted....they’re cracker cavemen looks like to me...

people are so ridiculous today....it’s no fun anymore


3 posted on 07/26/2007 10:28:00 PM PDT by wardaddy (chicks rule me)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

By depicting the Cro-Magnons as good dancers, great athletes and grand sexual partners, the show’s detractors argued, Cavemen was using black stereotypes for cheap racist laughs.


I thought the cavemen seemed a little light in the loafers.


4 posted on 07/26/2007 10:30:14 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
http://www.cavemanscrib.com/
From what I&have seen of them, they act more like yuppies than anything else
5 posted on 07/26/2007 10:32:11 PM PDT by jmcenanly
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; aculeus; dighton; martin_fierro; Lijahsbubbe; Yehuda; dennisw; Jeremiah Jr; ...
The cavemen are ''known for their athletic prowess, their sexual prowess, their dancing,'' complained one critic, to which director Josh Gordon deadpanned: ``They're Jewish.''

Looks like this show not only has a bad hora encircling it, but bad juju too!

6 posted on 07/26/2007 10:32:58 PM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: donna
GEICO has worn out their cavemen shtick.

They definitely need a new gimmick.

7 posted on 07/26/2007 10:33:46 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The real Cro-Magnons were Homo Sapiens, almost indistinguishable physically from modern humans.
8 posted on 07/26/2007 10:34:05 PM PDT by atomic conspiracy (Rousing the blog-rabble since 9-11-01)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The archetypal Aryan hero, played by Charlton Heston, is bound and gagged, caged and (nearly) castrated, and finally made to stand trial for humanity's crimes against the earth. "He is the perfect American Adam to work off some American guilt feelings of self-hatred on," Pauline Kael wrote in her review of the film, catching an early whiff of what, as the series progressed, became an orgy of self-loathing.

"Planet of the Apes was anything but subtle. Its metaphors—for race relations, imperialism, and the Cold War—were broad enough to reach a wide audience, and the audience responded wildly; the film grossed $100 million (in today's dollars), spawned four sequels, a TV series, a Saturday-morning cartoon, a traveling theater troupe, and a slew of comic books (which, if childhood recollections serve me right, each came with their own 45 rpm record). "

The Apes of Wrath
The radical political history of Planet of the Apes.

9 posted on 07/26/2007 10:35:21 PM PDT by endthematrix (He was shouting 'Allah!' but I didn't hear that. It just sounded like a lot of crap to me.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

(Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
(Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Theres a man in the funny papers we all know (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
He lived ‘way back a long time ago (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
He dont eat nothin’ but a bear cat stew (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Well this cat’s name is-a Alley Oop (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)

He got a chauffeur that’s a genuwine dinosawruh (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
And he can knuckle your head before you count to fawruh (Alley Oop, oop, oop-
oop)

He got a big ugly club and a head fulla hairuh (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Like great big lions and grizzly bearuhs (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
(Alley Oop) He’s the toughest man there is alive
(Alley Oop) Wearin’ clothes from a wildcat’s hide
(Alley Oop) He’s the king of the jungle jive
(Look at that cave man go!!) (SCREAM)

He rides thru the jungle tearin’ limbs offa trees (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Knockin’ great big monstahs dead on their knees (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
The cats don’t bug him cuz they know bettah (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Cuz he’s a mean motah scootah and a bad go-gettah (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
(Alley Oop) He’s the toughest man there is alive
(Alley Oop) Wearin’ clothes from a wildcat’s hide
(Alley Oop) He’s the king of the jungle jive
(Look at that cave man go!!) (SCREAM)

Thair he goes, look at that cave man go
He sure is hip ain’t he?
Like what’s happening?
He’s too much
Ride, Daddy, ride
Hi-yo dinosawruh
Ride, Daddy, ride


10 posted on 07/26/2007 10:38:14 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: 2ndDivisionVet

I saw the first episode...they do use racial stereotypes heavily....


12 posted on 07/26/2007 10:41:23 PM PDT by BurbankKarl
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Well, if the producers and writers were Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, then there would be no problem. Those racists have been making their living off of being racists for decades.

As it is now, the PC police seems to be out in force dictating what can and can not be out there.

I think they should go for it for no other reason than that. PC has way too much control of our lives already.


13 posted on 07/26/2007 10:50:19 PM PDT by Tut
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To: donna
good dancers, great athletes and grand sexual partners

Pretty funny that anyone thinks these 3-things go together in one person no matter what race they are.

It's also funny that they are receiving accusations of racism based on portraying all of the positive stereotypes of blacks with none of the negative stereotypes. People don't even know what real racism is anymore. All people know is that they are supposed to take offense whenever a white person makes any reference to race in any context.

14 posted on 07/26/2007 10:50:31 PM PDT by Junior_G
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I think people who get offended too much should have their television cancelled to their home. When they’ve grown up and can handle all types of comedy like satire, can handle race, religion and so on even when its made fun of.. then they will be allowed to have their television switched on again.

Only advanced nations have comedians. Third world primitive peoples rarely have comedians because they can’t handle their deeply held superstitions being made fun of.. or their leaders are too insecure to have a comedian point out hypocracy.


15 posted on 07/26/2007 10:55:29 PM PDT by ran20
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To: BurbankKarl
I'm pretty sure I won't like it ... they all look alike to me.

*ring*

That's my mother ... I'll put it on speaker phone.

16 posted on 07/26/2007 11:09:24 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true.)
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To: atomic conspiracy

See, that’s racist too. Cro-Magnons were the prototypical modern EUROPEANS. I.e. the first white men, “to put aside hints and speak plainly.”


17 posted on 07/26/2007 11:17:44 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

One evening after work, two friends, a homo sapiens and a Cro-Magnon, were sitting and drinking in a bar, arguing over which of them could make love the greater number of times in one night.

After going back and forth and deciding nothing, they agreed to settle the issue by going to the local girlie house and putting their boasts to the test - gathering experimental evidence, as it were.

A half hour later, they arrived at the house and made arrangements with the ladies of their choice. Then they went up to their rooms.

The homo sapiens energetically went at it with his lady, and, reaching up above the headboard with a pencil, made a “ | “ mark on the wall. Then he fell asleep.

In a couple of hours, he woke up and jumped into the saddle again, albeit a little less enthusiastically than the first time. When he finished, once again he reached up and marked a “ | “ on the wall. Then he fell asleep.

He woke up again a few hours later and lethargically made love to his lady one more time. Then, once again, he drowsily marked another “ | “ on the wall and fell asleep for the rest of the night.

The next morning, the Cro-Magnon barged into the homo sapiens’ room to see how they compared. Scratching his head in amazement at the power and stamina of his homo sapiens friend from work, the Cro-Magnon took one look at the wall and exclaimed, “A hundred and eleven??? You beat me by three!”


18 posted on 07/26/2007 11:21:11 PM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: ran20
think people who get offended too much should have their television cancelled to their home.

That reminds me of Neal Boortz' classic put-down of an indignant moron caller:

"Madam, you can solve your problem with me very easily. Turn your radio around. Notice that there is a small sticker on the back with a number on it; that is your radio's serial number. Please telephone your radio station, giving that number, and tell them you don't want to receive my show any more. They will kindly disconnect your radio from their transmitter, and it will allow them to connect it to another worthy listener who has been waiting patiently in line to receive my show."

19 posted on 07/26/2007 11:28:51 PM PDT by Erasmus (My simplifying explanation had the disconcerting side effect of making the subject incomprehensible.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
''As human beings, we all have that need to fit in,'' he said. ``It's really a show about acclimation more than anything, and that's something that everybody deals with, doesn't matter if you're a minority or not.''

Really? Everybody? Then why do some people hang out in the middle of the street during heavy traffic, instead of normal places? Why do some people make as much noise as possible whenever they go out in public? Why do some people go out of their way to draw attention to themselves, often in a negative way? Are these behaviors beyond their control, or could it be they really don't want to fit in?

The Cavemen's message is not universal. It only appeals to those people who understand the desire to fit in. And no, that doesn't include everyone.

20 posted on 07/26/2007 11:29:06 PM PDT by BykrBayb (This tagline in memory of FReeper 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub ~ )
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