Thursday, October 1, 2009

Army Of Snarkness

It remains the natural order that when an original concept reaches a certain level of popularity, it will be replicated ad nauseam. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in television, where imitation remains the most dubious (and cost-effective) form of flattery. Currently, this creative photocopy is happening with The Soup, a goofy compendium of inane clips from other television shows, expertly narrated and parodied by comedian Joel McHale. The show began in the early nineties as Talk Soup, with the format confined to mocking clips from the fertile crescent of daytime talk shows. Greg Kinnear, John Henson, Aisha Tyler, and Hal Sparks all launched their careers by hosting but the subsequent tsunami of reality television has made the show most prominent in its current incarnation. With production values hovering above zero (green screen + video clips + pithy jokes= a show you can shoot in a supply closet), it's no surprise that the format is being relentlessly copied, albeit with dull hosts on channels no one watches. Among the replicants: Sports Soup on Versus (where jokes about pro athletes seem redundant), Web Soup on G4 (kind of a Tosh.0 for nerds), and The Dish on Style Network (where jokes about models seem redundant). Ironically, it seems the only cable channel to not have a Soup rip-off is the Food Network, since they already have shows about actual soup.

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