The Slow, Insane Death of 'TIL DEATH

I’m glad Todd VanDerWerff did a long post about this, because I was thinking someone needed to: the fourth and final season of ‘Til Death, a show that was picked up even though nobody was watching it. (The “crazy deal” VaDerWerff refers to is that the studio, Sony, offered to let Fox have the show dirt-cheap because they wanted to get the show up to 80 episodes, which would give it a better chance of being sold into syndication; Sony hasn’t produced many successful sitcoms lately, so they must have been desperate to get at least one property into the syndication market.)

Knowing that nobody would be watching, and reeling from the fact that the show had been repeatedly retooled until nobody knew what it was supposed to be, veteran showrunner Don Reo — creator of Blossom, Wizards and Warriors and The John Larroquette Show; showrunner of Action and Everybody Loves Chris — apparently decided to turn it into a meta-sitcom, including a season-long arc where Doug (Timm Sharp) realizes that he’s trapped in a sitcom and that his wife had been re-cast multiple times. Reo brought in his Blossom star Mayim Bialik, playing herself, as a sitcom-expert psychiatrist who is doing a reality show about her patients’ inability to distinguish between sitcoms and reality. At least one episode had an animated fantasy sequence. As VanDerWerff notes, It wasn’t exactly good, but it was some of the strangest material we’ve seen on prime-time TV in the past year, a testament to the weirdness that can arise when the writers have no audience, no job security and nothing to lose.