TV is a mixed bag, ranging from the high art of shows like Breaking Bad and Game Of Thrones to pandering attempts to please the lowest common denominator like The Bachelor and Game Of Thrones. This year, TV executives approved new shows about a time-traveling duffel bag, a cartoon barbarian getting an office job, and Kevin James somehow getting another sitcom. Can you imagine the sort of nutty shit that doesn't make it? Well we can, because we forced ourselves to watch a whole bunch for this article.
Here are some totally out-there ideas that came shockingly close to becoming regular series -- proving that channels may be getting desperate, but they're not that desperate yet.
6 Kanye West Tried To Do An HBO Sitcom (And Puppet Show)
Short of magically morphing into a lizard or displaying self-awareness, there's not a lot Kanye West can do to surprise us anymore. So when we tell you he almost made two of the most ridiculous TV shows ever produced, you know we're not exaggerating. First off, Kanye made a pilot for an HBO comedy in the vein of Curb Your Enthusiasm, even hiring one of Curb's directors, Larry Charles. According to Charles, Kanye introduced himself to him as "the black Larry David" -- which isn't totally crazy. Just imagine if that jaunty theme song played every time Kanye did something dickish.
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"I'm sorry, but Beyonce's video was pretty good. Pretty, pretty, prett-aaaay good."
According to the director, the show wasn't picked up because it was "too hardcore" (a word that had never been within such close proximity of anything Larry-David-related before). In one scene, for instance, Kanye has a Make a Wish meeting with a child and ends up sending the following message to others like him: "Yo, whattup to all the dying kids. I know y'all my dawgs. And you know, all dogs go to heaven!" Another "joke" involves a woman giving a detailed description of a girl dying in a car crash. It's like they got the awkward part of Curb Your Enthusiasm right, but forgot the comedy.
"Curb was a comedy?!"
So the project went nowhere, but that didn't stop Kanye from trying something even weirder. A few years later, he starred in and produced a pilot for a "hip-hop Muppet Show" called Alligator Boots (NSFW). Don't click on that link unless you want to see some full-frontal Muppet dick (yeah, we're surprised HBO didn't pick up this one).
If you always wanted The Muppet Show to be easier to masturbate to, this will help marginally.
The pilot also co-starred West's future wife Kim Kardashian, who is hit on by a horny bear puppet version of Barry White while dressed as Princess Leia. She then announces she'll have sex with Beary, because the script for this thing was apparently some online fanfiction Kanye found while Googling himself and liked.
"Kanye, this makes no sense."
"Don't worry, we'll add the Smurf village and nude Steve Buscemi as background, and all will be clear."
5 A Teen Musical Show ... Starring Nicolas Cage
Back in 1981, a slew of TV executives reasoned that there was only one way for their programming to reach the cold-hearted audience that is teenagers: through the power of song. The world was then treated to a pilot for a musical sketch comedy series for teens called The Best Of Times, presumably because Cherish Your Youth, Because Adult Life Is A Shitstorm Of Disappointment was too much of a bummer.
The show also cast totally normal, non-insane teenage kids you could relate to, such as its protagonist: a young Crispin Glover, future star of Back To The Future and a bunch of weird-ass movies.
And Dave Letterman's PTSD nightmares.
In the show's opening scenes, Crispin's mom is complaining about how messy his room is, and refers to him as "Crispin." So, yup, he's playing himself, addressing the unseen audience, which we assume is still how Crispin Glover lives his life. And if the guy who once tried to jump-kick Letterman's face off isn't relatable enough, Crispin introduces you to his gang of friends -- such as "Nic."
Who shared his wardrobe with Lou Ferrigno at this point.
Of course, that's future Oscar winner and lover of paychecks Nicolas Cage playing Nic, who spends his days shadowboxing at the beach while his friend sadly eats a hamburger behind him. The benevolent Nic tries to help his friend pick up a cute girl, but there's no escaping the lure of those cutoffs.
"Hey, girl. This nipple is an antenna to an ancient civilization. Let's make out."
Despite the fact that the show introduced itself as a hard-hitting look at what the teenagers of the day were truly like, these kids break into song and dance with no provocation. It doesn't matter if they're at the grocery store ...
... or the car wash.
Most out-there part comes when the show cuts out the laugh track to end with Cage addressing the camera, telling us all how he's worried he's going to be drafted and killed if there's a war in El Salvador. Which is an especially depressing speech coming from the guy who was dancing his heart out down the canned goods aisle only moments ago.
But considerably less depressing if you try to think of him as the star of The Wicker Man.