CBS’s poorly received 2011 sitcom Shit My Dad Says was, in essence, a finger in the anus of network television, its creator explains in an apologetic essay published in the Hollywood Reporter today. According to Justin Halpern—who managed to parlay the success of his now defunct @shitmydadsays Twitter feed into a career as a television writer—his curated collection of irascible bon mots from his father benefited from a fortuitous right-time/right-place situation as broadcast networks were jealously eyeing the critical successes being mined over at their rival cable networks.
He likened the scenario to a staid and steady marriage between broadcast TV writers and broadcast TV networks, who had long since settled into a routine of safe and friendly missionary position sex once a week before suddenly realizing that there’s more to life. “[T]he broadcast networks see writers and cable networks fucking in all kinds of crazy, nasty ways, and the broadcast networks think, ‘You know, I don’t want to have sex like that, but I would be interested in spicing it up a bit. Maybe next time we have sex, I’d like to try having a finger stuck up my asshole.’ And in 2009, with Twitter starting to burst out, Shit My Dad Says was that finger.”
Due to Halpern’s own shortcomings and insecurities as a novice sitcom writer, he explains, the digital stimulation was not particularly well received by CBS, leading to its quick cancellation after one season. He speculates that this is likely the reason that other Twitter feed creators have not since been invited to plug any phalanges into any broadcast orifices. “Shit My Dad Says was not a very good TV show,” admits Halpern, who has since worked on a number of other programs, including his own co-created Surviving Jack, which was also cancelled after one season.