A character from ABC sitcom CavemenThe new ABC comedy Cavemen premiered last night. As you probably know, it’s based on the amusing commercials for GEICO insurance, which feature cavemen living in the contemporary United States, with one frequently taking offense at being considered unintelligent.

The series, by contrast, centers on the cavemen’s fish-out-of-water condition as they navigate the contemporary dating world. Much of the narrative centers on the cavemen’s concerns that other people may be prejudiced toward them.

I suppose it could be funny or meaningful, but it isn’t.

I don’t think it’s a simple matter of a concept that was funny in thirty-second pieces not working in a twenty-two minute story. The idea of overly sensitive cavement certainly has satirical implications, as a way of making fun of the feminization of males noted on this site last week. But in trying to motivate the central character’s irritation, the producers end up making it somewhat justifiable or at least understandable and thus destroy what made the commercials funny in the first place.

In addition, whereas the commercials put the cavemen in very real and recognizable situations, the TV program is entirely unreal and unconvincing. The producers threw away what was most important in making the commercials funny: their connection to modern life.