Welcome to The GBU, a weekly column coming every Monday where I look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly on TV.
The clip show is a classic device for TV shows in their later years. By looking back at all the great moments of seasons past, a show can create a new episode very cheaply by reusing old footage. However, this doesn’t mean the clip show has to be bad. Sometimes, if surrounded by a strong enough story, the clip show can be very effective.
Here’s the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of clip shows.
The Good: Community
Leave it to Community, the most creatively-inspired show on television, to reinvent the clip show. The set-up for the recent episode was exactly like a sitcom clip show, as characters find old items and reminisce about past adventures. But since the show has only been on for less than two seasons, the “clips” were actually new scenes of adventures that were never actually in past episodes. Making a clip show of all new footage is the kind of outside-the-box thinking that keeps Community at the forefront of TV genius.
The Bad: One Tree Hill
I hate sneak attack clip shows, and that’s just what One Tree Hill did last week. After a long hiatus, the show came back to deliver Haley’s baby, but what we got was people waiting in a hospital and reminiscing about their pasts. While it was great to see high school Nathan and Haley, the newer characters also got clip montage memories. The problem is that Clay, Quinn and Julian are so new to the show that including clips and memories from them is kind of like looking back fondly on what happened last week.
The Ugly: America’s Next Top Model
I have no problem with a reality show having a special “deleted footage” special at the end of the season to show everything they didn’t air, but it only works at the end of the season. Last week America’s Next Top Model rushed its clip show, airing it just two-thirds of the way through the season. What about the deleted scenes from the rest of the season? The CW’s impatience was unappreciated.
(Images courtesy of NBC and the CW)