Five Ways A TV Title Can Fail
A bad TV title might seem innocuous at first. Such is the case with many punny titles. I can almost see the eyes lighting up in the writing room, when people realize they can connect a popular theme or phrasing to the title of a show (“Rules Of Engagement!” he said, laughing as he simultaneously slapped his hand on the desk, “That’s it, by jove.”). Rules of Engagement or even the short-lived Father of the Pride may be the least “PUNishing” offenders, however. The worst are the programs that turn character names into puns.
I’d love to say that throwing name puns into titles is a bad comedy’s way of trying to be witty, but unfortunately the pun phenomenon is neither relegated to comedy nor bad programming, Tyler Perry’s: House of Payne excluded. Dramas and some highly rated programs will also occasionally fall into the trap. Tru Calling is a pretty punny (and weird looking) title and Saving Grace stoops to call out its detective lead in its name. The most recent bad pun title offender is probably Running Wilde, and that show didn’t last a whole season on Fox. In fact, shows with name puns generally don’t last overly long on the air when compared to safe titles like Bones or NCIS.
I mean, come on people, there’s a reason that puns are often marketed to kids.
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