TV Review: Make or Break TV 1.6 – Grapevine

Six shows in, there is only one show (Lonesome Dove: The Series) that Make or Break TV hasn’t convinced me to check out.  The show’s strength is to take a marginal show like Grapevine and sell it effectively to the audience.  The MoBTV formula is solid.  I can’t see a sudden drop in quality affect the rest of Make or Break TV‘s season, since such a drop should have happened by now.

Grapevine is unique in that CBS placed the show on its schedules twice, programming both iterations of the show between two of CBS’ biggest hits.  In 1992, Grapevine was between Murphy Brown and Northern Exposure.  2000 saw the show connect Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens.

The show failed both times due to Grapevine being different from what was on CBS at the time – at least, that’s the accepted wisdom trumpeted by Make or Break TV.  I don’t buy it, at least for the 1992 version – Murphy Brown was a lead-in, and the Murphy Brown audience should have been smart enough to appreciate adult comedy.

Grapevine‘s “edgy” nature is probably what did the show in the first time.  A few CBS affiliates wouldn’t air Grapevine and advertisers avoided it.  Those shows don’t last long without enormously high ratings to justify the controversy.  Grapevine was burned off in the summer, a sign CBS had no faith that the show would attract an audience.

The 2000 version of Grapevine looks to have been poorly scheduled.  Airing an urban relationship comedy between two blue-collar domestic sitcoms?  Even with the show’s tone being lightened, it doesn’t make sense to air Grapevine there.  That’s like airing Aqua Teen Hunger Force between Johnny Bravo and The Powerpuff Girls.  Grapevine would have done better on Showtime, where it could afford to be more explicit than on network television.

Even with shows I don’t personally think should be on Make or Break TV, the show gives good reasons why its subjects have merit.  TV.com does not rate either version of Grapevine higher than “fair,” despite the critical acclaim Grapevine received back in 1992 and 2000.  Nevertheless, Make or Break TV has convinced me to catch Grapevine for myself.

The one thing I don’t like about this episode is Make or Break TV relying on another show that, technically, ran for two seasons.  The seasons were almost eight years apart, but this is stretching MoBTV‘s conceit of covering one-season wonders.  The list of cult one-season wonders is enormous, so why Grapevine?

At least this is the last questionable choice on Make or Break TV‘s itinerary.  I hope the show gets to Supertrain soon, but TVTropolis will doubtless air Profit or Unsub.  Canwest hates me.

Cameron Archer

Owner/Writer at Gloryosky
Cameron Archer runs this site, and is a freelance arts writer. He has contributed to Canadian Screenwriter since 2011. He is a CMG Freelance member.
Cameron Archer