Created and produced by the founders Channel 101 (Tilzy.TV page) – Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab – VH1’s Acceptable TV blurs the previously distinct line between television and the internet by introducing the interactive nature of online entertainment to the more traditional medium of broadcast television. It is also one of the first significant attempts by a major media company (Viacom) to tap into the wealth of user-generated content on the web.
Harmon and Schrab created Channel 101 in 2003 after repeated failures to get big television companies to buy their pitches. They saw it as a way to allow independent filmmakers to broadcast their work directly to the people without dealing with the bureaucracy. Now they’ve teamed up with host Jack Black and finally made the bureaucracy work for them (well…almost).
Acceptable TV boasts an all-star cast and crew, with executive producer/writer/actor Eric Falconer: co-writer for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “The Sarah Silverman Program” (the other writer being Romanski, also a writer and actor for Acceptable TV), director/writer/actor Drew Hancock: director of shorts for Tenacious D and MTV Video Music Awards, writer/actor JD Ryznar: co-creator of the viral hit “Yacht Rock” shown on Channel 101 and writer for the 2008 Jason Lee movie, Krater, among many talented others. The first episode of Acceptable TV was aired in March of 2007.
30-minute episodes of Acceptable TV air on VH1 and include five 2.5 minute shows produced by Acceptable TV, like Drunk Home Makeover: Dan Harmon destroying people’s homes with someone in a dog suit, Operation Kitten Calendar: the new reality TV challenge with Trump-like host, or Homeless James Bond: super-suave homeless man fights high crime in the underworld.
Each episode also airs the user generated show that won the most votes on the Acceptable TV website that week, like April winner L33t Haxxors: braving the wilds of the internet to find an antidote to a deadly virus, or Marge’s Midwest Outing: ultra-conservative Midwestern woman obliviously caters to gay couples in her bed and breakfast.
After each episode, viewers can go online to vote for their two favorite Acceptable TV shows. The winners then create another episode of their show that will compete with three new Acceptable TV shows the following week. User shows, which are voted on before they air on television do not compete with those produced by Acceptable.
The vast majority of the shows produced by the Acceptable TV team are absolutely hilarious, and while the user videos (“your videos”) vary dramatically in quality, a good way to find the best ones is to look at the most viewed, most recently discussed, and most popular profiles sections. To vote or submit your own 2.5 minute videos, you must register on the site to become a member. Acceptable TV also provides a number of tutorials for those who wish to make their own videos and a blog for Acceptable TV news and updates.
When you were a kid did you ever wish Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat would come to your house when it rained? Did you ever consider how traumatized you would be if he actually did? It would probably be significantly scarier than Mike Myers. Check out Mr. Sprinkles, which won the most votes for several consecutive weeks in March and April 2007 and prepare to have all your childhood fantasies violently destroyed.