Cavemen is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from October 2 to November 13, 2007. The show was created by Joe Lawson and set in San Diego, California. Based on the GEICO Cavemen commercials, which were also written by Lawson, the show was described by the network as a “unique buddy comedy that offers a clever twist on stereotypes and turns race relations on its head.” In the series, cavemen were never really fully supplanted by modern humans, but integrated into Homo sapiens civilization as a separate species sub-group. Effectively, Cavemen form another ethnic minority in the modern world, which faces several prejudices from Homo sapiens (sometimes referring to humans by the derogatory term “Smoothies” in reference to their relative lack of hair, or “Sapes” in reference to their species). Although these cavemen self-identify as Cro-Magnon, their facial appearance and physical anatomy is reminiscent of the Neanderthal. Some Cavemen attempt to pass as Homo sapiens by shaving their body hair – other Cavemen call them “shavers”. The central humor of the show is that Caveman characters are not brutish primitives, but fully integrated into white-collar jobs; the central Cavemen characters are effete modern city-dwellers. They must also endure racial epithets such as “Magger,” a pun based on “Cro-Magnon.”
The series focuses on three Cavemen roommates who share a condo: Joel, his brother Andy, and their cynical and self-absorbed roommate Nick. The pilot was accused of being racist and forced the series to undergo major creative “retooling.” That initial pilot episode has yet to air. In all, 13 episodes were produced but only 7 episodes aired. Cavemen began with 6 million viewers and by the time episode six had aired, it only had 3 million viewers, so ABC cancelled its run and the remaining 6 episodes have not been aired.