David Bowie once wrote a song about changes. We can assume, for all intents and purposes, that he was referring to a television show. After all, most heartfelt rock ballads were written about TV. For instance, John Lennon's "Imagine" was about St. Elsewhere, and The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" was about Mr. Ed. OK, maybe not, but the case could certainly be made for Bowie's "Changes."
Over the course of a few seasons, a television show is bound to take on a few new directions. Sometimes, this can be chalked up to organic growth and character development. Other times, the alterations are... less favorable. And far too frequently, the show you signed on for is not the same show you end up with, to the point where your own simple description of what your favorite program is about changes drastically from the first season to the last.
On its way back to HBO for a fifth season, True Blood is one of many culprits of this practice. Below are a few examples of shows that have undertaken drastic makeovers, and the different ways you might have pitched these programs to your friends, relatives, or nonthreatening subway passengers.
“Hey, have you seen True Blood? It’s a show about human intolerance, using vampires as a metaphor.”
“Hey, have you seen True Blood? It’s this show where they take pretty much every single fantasy monster they can think of, and they put them on TV. Plus sex.”
"Hey, have you seen Lost? It's a show about a bunch of people who crash land on and island, and try to survive."
"Sounds kind of like Gilligan's Island!”
"Hey, have you seen Lost? It's a show about an island that has time travel, smoke monsters, immortal boat slaves, psychic lighthouses, and polar bears."
"Sounds kind of like every episode of The Twilight Zone all mashed together."
“Hey, have you seen Happy Endings? It’s a show about a group of friends trying to stay together after two of the group members break up with each other.”
“I’ve been there.”
Later in 2011...
“Hey, have you seen Happy Endings? It’s a half-hour of ‘90s pop culture references.”
“I’ve been there.”
“Hey, have you seen Cougar Town? It’s a show about a 40-year-old woman sleeping with 20-year-old guys.”
“Who would watch that?”
“Hey, have you seen Cougar Town? It’s a show about a bunch of friends who drink wine all day and say mean things to each other.”
“Why don’t more people watch that?”
“Hey, have you seen Weeds? It’s a comedy about an upper-class widowed mother who sells pot.”
“Hey, have you seen Weeds? It’s a horror story about this woman who drags her two sons through every conceivable nightmare of the criminal world.”
"I'm crying now."
“Hey, have you seen Family Matters? It’s a show about a Chicago family experiencing the ups and downs of working class life.”
“I can relate to that.”
“Hey, have you seen Family Matters? It’s a show about this kid who eats a lot of cheese and has a shrink ray and a teleportation device and a machine that turns him into something else sometimes.”
“I... wait, what?”
"Hey, have you seen Community? It's a simple, straightforward comedy about seven misfits who form a study group at a community college and bond with one another."
"That show's going to last three weeks."
"Hey, have you seen Community? It's a deconstruction of television and film tropes, science fiction philosophies, and an intense examination of the human psyche."
"Six seasons and a movie!"
Charles In Charge
“Hey, have you seen Charles in Charge? It’s about this young guy who winds up living with and taking care of the kids in a suburban family.”
"“Hey, have you seen Charles in Charge? It’s about this young guy who winds up living with and taking care of the kids in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT suburban family.”
"Wait, so they replaced the entire family?"
"How do they explain that this kid wound up living with two entirely separate families?"
"They don't really explain it at all."
"...Okay, I'd watch that."
[Image Credit: HBO]