If you think the maligned Neanderthals from Geico's latest round of TV advertisements have it bad now, just wait until their sitcom premieres. According to Daily Variety, on Friday ABC green-lighted a new pilot based around the Geico cavemen, who in the series of ads take issue with the insurance company's ubiquitous claim that their Web site is so easy to use, "Even a caveman can do it."
The show, tentatively titled Cavemen, will revolve around three prehistoric men who must battle prejudice as they attempt to live as normal 30-somethings in present-day Atlanta. It is one of 14 new pilots produced by Touchstone Television and is penned by the advertising copywriter who was behind the Caveman ads, as well as other Geico commercials (including the cockney-accented Geico gecko). It is unknown whether the actors portraying the cavemen will reprise their roles in the pilot.
Of course, a pilot order is no guarantee of a series making it to air. Indeed, the majority never make it that far. But if the show does break out, the caveman premise could be a hit with a broad audience, for the same reason the TV spots are so popular--and so controversial.
On the one hand, the spots give people for whom discrimination is a reality a tangible sense of validation of their experience in a fictional, humorous setting. But they also allow more mainstream audiences an outlet to vent their frustrations at what can seem like a relentless barrage of discrimination claims in the news.
Because we can't quite tell exactly what these ads are poking fun at--prejudice's perpetrators or its victims?--the resulting nuanced situations could make for some hotly debated, intelligent TV. The question is could such a premise be sustained over the course of a comedy series' run? Or would the writers play it safe and stick to simple caveman humor?
Perhaps we won't have to wait until the next Stone Age to find out.