You could be forgiven for assuming that America’s Funniest Home Videos went off the air for good at any point in the past decade or two.
Videos has had some gaps in its existence since it first popped up in the late ’80s. But for some reason, it’s always comes back. Hosts like Bob Saget and Tom Bergeron have moved on to other things, but this program showcasing “heartwarming” videos of kids, animals and drunken adults doing amusing things continues to chug along its merry way.
Sure, it now asks would-be “stars” to uploaded videos to the show’s web site instead of mailing video cassettes. But otherwise, the format is still what it’s always been. Amateurs submit “funny” clips. A studio audience insists they find them all hilarious. The ones with the cutest child or animal win some money.
It’s uncomplicated. It must cost next to nothing to produce. Ratings aren’t spectacular, but still better than, say, Wicked City. It’s certainly an “all ages” proceeding. And it keeps Alfonso Ribeiro employed. All points in its favor for ABC, which needs something relatively inoffensive to air Sundays at 7:00 and clearly can’t have much motivation to kill themselves coming up with anything new.
So American’s Funniest Home Videos continues to exist, even as the internet has pretty much rendered the show’s central premise irrelevant. In the late ’80s, the show made a kind of sense. Viewers didn’t have many options if they wanted to laugh at videos of normal people taking shots to the head or getting kicked below the belt; kids and animals “spontaneously” acting cute for a highly convenient video camera; or some manner of home improvement disaster falling down around the ears of a hapless property owner.
But: the internet. YouTube alone likely provides all the funny child/animal videos most people need. Videos are embedded all over the web, on social media, blogs and entertainment web sites. There is no dearth of clips of toddlers kicking their dads in the gonads available online. Cats and puppies being adorable at times seems like the entire reason the internet exists.
This show is entirely redundant. It’s practically analog. Its premise has been co-opted by the world. There’s no real reason for America’s Funniest Home Videos to still be producing new episodes in 2016.
But hey, I guess we can’t be mad at Alfonso Ribeiro having a job.
Originally published at thunderalleybcpcom.ipage.com on February 10, 2016.