It did fairly well – actually even better than I expected it would, given what felt like a general lack of social media activity last night, while it aired. Not that there’s always a direct correlation between social media activity and TV ratings, but I’ve found the former to be a useful gauge of the latter, especially over the last year.
But I detected very little conversation about the variety show on my social media feeds; Of course, it doesn’t mean that others who I don’t follow on Twitter, or who aren’t my Facebook friends, weren’t chatting about it. Clearly, many of you tuned in last night to check out NBC’s attempt to revive the variety show, via The Maya Rudolph Show, given its ratings. It also won the 10 pm hour among the top broadcast TV networks in total viewers and other key measures, according to Nielsen.
So, if you tuned in, what did you think?
I was sadly never really engaged by the show. It just didn’t hook me. Maybe the format is just not for me, and it’s not necessarily due to the talent involved, nor the content. It might simply be the structure of it.
Or maybe I just didn’t find much of the humor funny, nor the musical numbers all-that pleasant. I wonder how musical theater folks are reacting to it, because it felt very much like something I’d instead expect to see live on stage, not on TV.
I’d also consider the possibility that the variety show format doesn’t quite work as well on TV anymore, like it once used to – notably during the 1960s and 1970s. I remember watching re-runs of The Flip Wilson Show as a kid, and being entertained by them. But I was a kid, and that was 30 years ago. It could be a style that’s past its time, and, in the long run, may only appeal to a select group of viewers. That’s likely something we may not find out, unless NBC decides to pick up the special and order it to series, as a weekly variety show.
Granted, sketch comedy series like Saturday Night Live, In Living Color, and MADtv contain “variety show” elements, particularly musical performances and comedy sketches, and those are shows that I’ve watched in the past and enjoyed. But they don’t fully fall under the “variety show” umbrella; The most obvious difference being the lack of a single lead host (or hosts), as well as the presence of a large ensemble cast.
But I certainly didn’t hate it; I am a big fan of Maya Rudolph’s. And I did chuckle during parts of the “GPS parents” skit. But, overall, it just wasn’t for me. I found it rather dull, and just wasn’t fully engaged.
Whether last night’s ratings were enough for NBC to order another episode, we’ll have to wait to find out; As I said before, it may have acted as a test-run, and if a success, NBC would upgrade it to a weekly series.
The Maya Rudolph Show featured guest stars Craig Robinson, Andy Samberg, Kristen Bell, Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell, Sean Hayes, and others.
Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Janelle Monae served as the musical guest. R&b singer-producer Raphael Saadiq was bandleader.
What did you think of it?