Comedy on basic television always tends to take a softer side to reality. Sure, every now and then there came a show like All in The Family, Roseanne, or Married… with Children that had a few unpolished edges, but in 2000 came Titus. This show shined a light in the dark spots of family life where others tip toed around the subject. Today I’m going to talk about how this series that ran for three seasons (54 episodes) would have fared better in today’s climate.
-The Rise of Cable Series-
Nowadays channels like FX and AMC are cranking out hit television shows almost every year. Over a decade ago a lot of what was on cable tended to be re-runs of older shows from the basic four channels, older movies, and shows that were often on the more “sleazy” side. If you wanted a show to actually find an audience you had to air it on either ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. In the late 90’s/early 00’s ABC had positioned itself as the “Family” channel. NBC had positioned itself as the “serious” channel. CBS was and still tends to be the channel for an older audience. FOX on the other hand has always been a wildcard. They often went for the more “edgy” and weirder stories. This was good, but more often if the show wasn’t an instant hit it got cancelled after a year. Had FX (a subsidiary of FOX) been as big as it is today it would’ve been the perfect place for Titus.
-What was on TV in 2000?-
It’s easy to see that Titus was a beast unto itself in 2000. Other comedies were more light-hearted in their content. Here’s a list of some sitcoms from that era (Friends, My Wife & Kids, Becker, Everybody Loves Raymond, Dharma and Greg, The King of Queens, Yes Dear, etc.) Yeah, not exactly hard hitting entertainment. Let’s look at Dharma and Greg in particular. If you grew up during this time odds are you caught an episode here or there. If you didn’t grow up then and are asking yourself, “What is Dharma and Greg?” you’re one of the lucky ones. This show had a flower child and blue blood marry after first meeting and the “wacky” antics the families got into. It was fluffy crap that was easy to digest. This being a complete counterpoint to everything Titus stood for. With Dharma and Greg conflicts often tended to be along the lines of, “Your family and mine have different viewpoints… hilarity ensues.” Titus on the other hand, “We broke up and slept with other people. Now we need to get tested for AIDS”. Titus wasn’t going to play into the traditional sitcom tropes of the era.
-Online Streaming Resurrection-
Of course I’m going to once again touch on this, because it’s the truth. Netflix and Amazon Prime are often more than willing to pick up the pieces of shows that traditional TV throw to the side. Titus was a comedy about family dysfunction that ran for three season on FOX before getting cancelled. Hmm, why does this sound so familiar? Oh yeah, this same outcome would befall the also brilliant Arrested Development four years later. Only four years separated the cancellation of these shows, but big things happened in that time. Luckily for Arrested Development it gained a following when the Internet and DVD were making it easier to share a show you watched with friends. Because of such a loyal (and very vocal) fanbase, Arrested Development got a 4th season… seven years after being initially cancelled. What if Titus had been given the same opportunity?
It’s hard to believe that it’s been sixteen years since Titus debuted. And I was twelve at the time. How did I get away with convincing my parents to let me watch this? Probably because they thought it was hilarious as well. As usual, what are your thoughts? Could Titus have done better if it had been on FX a few years later? Would you love to see the show make a comeback? Or were your parents more strict than mine and wouldn’t allow you to watch it?
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