Amazon’s 2016 comedy pilot season featured three series ideas: The Tick, Jean Claude Van Johnson, and I Love Dick. The statement released by the company suggested that only one of these was going to be made into a full series in a gladiatorial competition to the death involving the weapons of viewer numbers and star reviews, but that was not the case. Soon after they were shown, the internet media giant announced that all three were going to series on prime.
The Tick was, predictably, the most popular offering of the three by far, almost doubling the quantity of star ratings of Jean-Claude Van Johnson, which in turned ran a second lap around #LD. This is not surprising, as superhero movies and television shows have been the biggest money makers for media companies for over a decade now. Jean-Claude Van Johnson’s mild success isn’t much of a surprise either, seeing as the mildly competent former action star still has a cult audience who hasn’t realized (or doesn’t care) what an egocentric diva Van Damme still.
That LD should be in the last position isn’t surprising at all. It doesn’t have the star power of Van Johnson – while Kevin Bacon might be fondly remembered for his 80’s work, he was always on the fringe of the B-list. He did star in several popular movies, but was never able to break through the glass walls of the A-list in the same way as a stumbling Van Damme did for a few years before promptly being removed by security and relegated to the direct-to-DVD realm where he so rightly belonged.
As for the content, you might say it’s less accessible than the other two shows, which are action parodies. With the unending success of such critical disasters in the vein of Scary Movie, there is no doubt that audiences enjoy a good satire of something popular. #LD is more obtuse. It is a romantic drama (although it claims to be a comedy or “dramedy”) about sexually and romantically unfulfilled intellectuals. Chris and Sylvere are two members of the intelligentsia whose marriage is cracking under the pressure of low emotional investment from the partners and a lack of sexual fulfillment. Dashing sociological theorist “Dick” (Kevin Bacon) comes along and reignites Chris’ imagination and sense of romance.
The description from Amazon hints that there will be some homosexual tension between Sylvere and Dick as well, but this has not been demonstrated in the pilot episode. As of yet, the show is mostly about rigidity, selfishness, and general lack of compatibility in a relationship between intellectuals and how a new romantic interest is brought into the female partner’s life to give the beehive a good shake. Based on a book, which itself is drawn from real-life circumstances, it delves into a timeless study of boredom, frustration, and rejuvenation in the realm of romance and sexuality, especially that of people who express ideas for a living.
In other words, it is like an old Woody Allen film, and not one of the lighthearted ones such as The Purple Rose of Cairo. Many in the internet community have been turned off by this pilot, with the consensus of the naysayers being that it feels like a TV show made for critics – the characters are obnoxiously self-centered, the plot moves along slowly, and the general tone de-romanticizes the art of love. On the other hand, it can’t be denied that the complexity of the romantic relationships is universal as everyone is wont to make things harder than they need be.
#LoveDick has been warmly received by critics. It currently holds a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes from the few critics who have dealt with it, although they do give it a fairly low score of 5 out of 10. Audience response has been more tepid. 75% of the audience likes it on Rotten Tomatoes, giving it a 4.2 out of 10, but the stellar performance ends there. IMBD users give it a low 5.4 out of 10 gathered from almost 1,000 votes.
More significantly, Amazon Prime users give it only 3.5 stars out of 5. This might not sound like a significantly low score, but with a website that currently has a reputation for putting out quality shows, most of its programming does not fall below the 4.0 mark. Both of its other colleagues released for pilots have 4.5’s. At 6,000 votes, this also garnered the least audience interest of the three by a great margin, comparing poorly to Jean-Claude Van Johnson’s 10,000 and The Tick’s 17,000. It’s a wonder the show got made into a series at all.
Low viewer numbers don’t seem to be the only factor taken into account by Amazon Studios. Amazon is known to be courting various niches to its television service, sometimes even supporting specialty shows which might not be very popular outside of subcultures. It was estimated that Transparent didn’t have many viewers, but it was highly popular with certain left-wing subculture groups of viewers. Some media pundits speculate that Amazon is currently trying to build a reputation and may be willing to cater to smaller audiences to achieve it.
Season 1 of LD has recently been approved for production and will appear sometime in 2017. It is unlikely that it will perform much better than the pilot, so Amazon might choose to just finish the dramatization of the novel and end it. However, we have no other information at this time. As soon as we do, we’ll be letting our subscribers now. Sign up for our E-mail notification
What did you think of the pilot for this show? Do you think Chris will cheat on her husband? Do you think the first season will show a homosexual or three-way romance involving the protagonist trio? Would you say Kevin Bacon has aged well? Give us your comments and opinions down below.