Does a Popular Show Make “Transition” AKA Crappy Episodes On Purpose?


As I watched a new episode of House last night I found myself getting extremely bored.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a huge fan of the show and I think that Hugh Laurie plays far and away one of the greatest characters on television.  I’m always entertained and the show always manages to keep me interested.  However, like I said, I found myself somewhat bored at times.

The plot wasn’t all that great.  Nothing major really happened.  We wound up waiting the entire show for Chase to tell Cameron about his murder.  Foreman was pretty boring.  And of course 13 didn’t even make an appearance.  About the only fun thing that happened is when House drugged Wilson (yet I was still amused by House thus me watching the whole episode).

So it’s no wonder that in the coming attractions for next week that House will be an integral part of the show again and will be harassing his former team to try and get them back.  It looks like it’ll be a memorable episode and I’m pumped to watch it.

But this begs the question of whether or not last night’s show was “on purpose.”

For whatever reason it is, I felt that last night’s show and many episodes of popular shows are simply “transition” shows or what I’d even call “filler” episodes.

They are the shows where we the viewers sit there saying “man this one’s kind of weak, I’m a little bored.”  You still watch it because you’ve at this point become a loyal fan.  At the same time you realize if they keep putting up these stinkers that you’ll eventually lose interest and turn on a different channel.

But do the creators of these shows realize this?  Do they get bored?  Are the writers really thinking of bigger picture and just trying to fill in the time before that huge controversial show airs?

The truth is we’ll never know.  The writers may have been sick that week.  They may have said “ah screw it we have the viewers, let’s just hold em over with some stupid sudafed episode and we’ll blow ’em away next week.”

Still though, I don’t think these shows are a coincidence.  I think it’s the ebb and flow of a series.  You have your ups and downs.  And we as viewers remain loyal (as long as the first 3-4 shows bring us in).  So while these transition slots may bore us, I fully think they are necessary to engage us on what I call the “real” episodes.

  • Madison

    “One-offs” or “fillers” can go either way – sometimes they really are just filler, thrown together hastily for the sake of cranking out another episode, but sometimes – like on Sarah Connor Chronicles – they’re interested stand-alone stories that are apart from the major plotline but still involve the characters in an interesting way. They’re fun every once in awhile to kind of take a break from whatever’s going on.

  • Lagrange

    I don’t thing they make boring episodes on purpose. It’s true that it could make sense to do that and I never thought of it but I don’t think it’s the case.
    As for “One-offs”: I love it when a show doesn’t take itself too serious and they make a special episode. For example the Buffy-episode which was a musical, or the stargate episode with the hand puppet cast.

  • Whoa whoa, this is an awful lot of writing for you Natty.

  • Todd

    Absolutely this is on purpose. Haven’t you watch “24”. There are 3 or 4 episodes each season that just don’t do anything. Jack is either traveling in a car or helicopter and they focus on some other character that will soon be dead. 24 is the prime example of episodes that are just filler. We need to have 24 hours don’t we?

  • Madison

    @ Lagrange

    That Buffy example is perfect.

  • Josh

    I don’t think that that was a filler episode. They gave an entire episode to the revelation of something that needed to happen: House can’t have Cuddy. Also, I was really glad to see Michael Weston return. His character was almost as devious as House himself, which is an achievement in itself.

  • chelsea

    i think they just had too much to shove in one episode, they kind of just tossed it together so they can keep pace with the season and set the stage for next week (which i agree, looks really good)… i agree with Josh about michael weston. i really liked his character.

  • charlie tuna

    I dont understand why they have so many episodes in a season. Thank of all the great British comedies, that have 6 or so top quality, cream of the crop episodes… no need for dross or filler, and its much easier for the viewer to spend a lazy sunday afternoon rewatching the series in order, because you dont have to skip or mindlessly watch the rubbish

  • greendestiny

    On tvtropes website there is a section called ‘Viewers Are Morons’.
    There you go.