On May 19, Maya Rudolph made her television producing debut with the airing of her variety show special, The Maya Rudolph Show. Rudolph, whose career took-off as an actress on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, meant for the show to be a refurbished 70’s era variety show reincarnation. What audiences received was…. questionable. Despite the mixed reviews of the show’s pilot run, however, NBC has announced intentions to return The Maya Rudolph Show to air sometime in the near future.
The pilot version of The Maya Rudolph Show aired directly after part one of the season finale of The Voice, a popular singing competition. That night, some 7.2 million viewers tuned in to watch Rudolph and her comedian friends attempt to bring the variety genre back to NBC, something which the network had not attempted since 2010’s disastrous results with Rosie O’Donnell (a show which aired only once).
Telegdy: "We're very much in discussions with" Maya Rudolph about more episodes of her variety show. Not sure on creative/format yet.
— Joe Adalian (@TVMoJoe) July 13, 2014
After the show aired, however, it was clear that the viewers who had tuned in did so for one of two simple reasons: 1) They loved Rudolph and company in Saturday Night Live and/or Bridesmaids; or 2) A large majority of the 11.5 million who tuned into The Voice simply left the TV on. My vote is for the latter.
While Rudolph may have had good intentions with the show, stating, “… ‘You know what, I really feel like this is what people want right now.’ I think people want to watch TV and feel good and laugh… I do feel like people want this and need this. And I wouldn’t say that they’re lacking it, but in the sense that there’s a whole generation that doesn’t even really know TV in this way,” she simply missed the boat.
Rudolph herself mentions that there is a whole generation of people that have never really seen a 70’s era variety show… and that’s probably for a reason. Audiences today aren’t near as entertained by a few B-list actors getting on stage and performing in some poorly written and acted scenes with some more poorly written and performed musical numbers spliced in-between. And with the plethora of glorious entertainment with high production values and amazing acting, who would?
Simply put, The Maya Rudolph Show wasn’t funny and potentially belonged in a completely different time and place altogether. If NBC decides to bring the show back to air, hopefully it is not as a full-time series but rather as a monthly special. If given a month to produce one show, hopefully Rudolph and crew could pull together something with better comedic theme, timing, and pizzazz. If not, Rudolph may find herself heading down the same road as Rosie O’Donnell (and no one would wish that upon anybody).
Image via YouTube