Dallas braces itself for Dallas-set sitcom

Just a news blip, as I’m too busy to ruminate long, but I thought this was worth keeping an eye on.

It’s February, so that means it’s pilot season in television. Yes, even in 2009, in between mass corporate layoffs at all the networks and studios, of course. Anyway, apparently CBS has ordered a pilot from Jackie and Jeff Filgo (former exec producers of That 70s Show). The show is to be called Big D, and will feature an NYC couple moving to the hubby’s hometown of Dallas, where the east-coast wife will clash with her mother-in-law and Texas culture.

I’m thinking about settting a lot these days, as I’m writing about how CSI has used Las Vegas, so any kind of premise so dependent on perceptions of a particular setting strikes my interest. Moreover, as Dallas has been my home for the past five years (and the DFW Metroplex for the last, gulp, ten), I’ll tune in for sure (assuming it gets picked up for fall, which is probably unlikely, given CBS’ mostly-full sitcom slate).

That said, given the usual treatment of places-that-aren’t-NY-or-LA in most television, I’m about 90% sure it’ll be a sad parade of the usual blue state/red state shtick. King of the Hill set a very high bar indeed for televisual depictions of DFW, and it’s unlikely Big D will approach it. So here’s a few cliches I’m looking forward (sic) to:

– NY wife freaking out at Big Hair and tacky jewelry

– NY wife freaking out about BBQ

– NY wife shrinking in terror in rooms full of people in cowboy hats shouting “Yee-Ha!”

– NY wife lamenting her favorite NY coffee shop/eatery

– Some Texan will say “Who’s Woody Allen [or other big NYC celebrity]?”

– An episode will revolve around a sighting of George or Laura Bush

– Larry Hagman and/or Patrick Duffy will be pulled from the DL to guest star

and of course…

– the theme song will have a kind of bluesy-twangy feel to it

Etc. I can hardly wait.

What’s your favorite TV cliches about your hometown?


10 Responses to “Dallas braces itself for Dallas-set sitcom”

  1. Jonathan Gray Says:

    My fav. cliches about New York City:
    – everyone’s upper middle class and white or poor, non-white, and embroiled in crime
    – everyone has a rent-controlled Village apartment, or a friend with one, even though nobody I know has one
    – everyone’s just so damn happy to be here
    – only old or poor people live outside of Manhattan
    – there are about 500 major crimes per second in NYC
    – nobody spends any real time on the subway: they magically transport from place to place, or take taxis

  2. alisa perren Says:

    There’s lots of overlap between Dallas and Atlanta but a few of my other favorite gems include:

    –everyone in the city is either a hip hop artist or a “Buckhead Betty”/southern belle with big hair and lots of bling
    –everyone outside the city is missing (many) teeth and has a fourth grade education, max…think Dukes of Hazzard + Deliverance
    –we spend most of our time slapping away mosquitoes and cockroaches in 90 degree heat and 100% humidity (while drinking juleps)

  3. Sam Ford Says:

    There’s a Steven Seagal movie about Kentucky that’s plenty insulting. 🙂 Elizabethtown was just not a good film. I’d say that a movie like O Brother, Where Art Thou? captures some unique elements of bluegrass culture, but that’s not actually set in Kentucky…

  4. dkompare Says:

    It seems the default representations are time-honored ones: urban = sophisticated and beautiful, rural = naive and ugly. Except when they’re mixed up (quite often), as urban = sophisticated and ugly, rural = naive and beautiful.

    And of course, for dominant purposes, “rural” = any part of the US that isn’t NY, LA, Chicago, the northeast corridor, or Miami. Thus, despite being the fifth-largest metro area in the country, DFW is coded as “rural.” Yee-haw, y’all!

  5. Matt Says:

    I would be willing to bet that in the opening credits or some other establishing shot there will be a longhorn or cow like creature. No doubt. Since clearly, that is all there is in Dallas.

  6. dkompare Says:

    “Cow like creature”! Yes! Because actual cows are only found in Tarrant County…!

  7. Scott Ellington Says:

    I think Lem Dobbs addresses an authentic sense of place (on both of his commentary tracks) for Double Inemnity and The Limey, but he seems reasonably agitated about the validity lent to the older film by genuine location shooting.
    Films and television shot in San Francisco have always loved their wonky sterotypes, and chases that don’t make geographic sense, but the logistical convenience of the camera’s absurd point of view has led me to exend Dobbs’ objection to the absurd manner in which the viewer is systematically confused by camera POV.
    I wonder if 80 years of visual artistic license in cinematic storytelling might pronate viewers into a default non-participatory disengagement in events unfolding before our very eyes.
    The only example of coherent POV I can site is to be found at StrikeTV.com, in a series of minisodes called With The Angels, in which the camera presence actually explains itself.

  8. Scott Ellington Says:

    I also blame my Spelling errors on Aaron.

  9. Austin Miller Says:

    I vote for a change of title: “Dallass”.

  10. dkompare Says:

    Austin, that’s so obvious it’s probably under consideration. That said, you only get to suggest it because you’re from Texas, and actually lived in Dallas.

    And how about those Austin cliches? Yep, everything’s wall-to-wall hippies and guitar bars, as far as the eye can see…

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