Following the show’s gradual decline in ratings over the past few decades, executives at NBC have decided not to renew “UW–Stout” after 125 seasons. While those not familiar with the program’s history may be surprised to hear of the sudden cancellation, diehard fans know that UW–Stout has been going downhill ever since the character Dewey transferred in season 103.
“Dewey was the glue that really held the show together,” said one fan on the show’s message board. “The entire cast relied on him for comic relief. Aaron and Kim were great, but it’s impossible to replace Dewey’s lively charm.” That same message board (uwstout.edu) has been the most popular avenue for fans to discuss their favorite moments, characters and theories related to the show. While the site was not the official website of UW–Stout, it has still gotten the attention of several cast members and was even featured in an episode in season 89 when Lester gets his first computer.
Fans have had mixed reactions about the cancellation, to say the least. Many have suggested that Netflix revive the show as they previously did with “UW–Eau Claire” and “University of Minnesota.” Others seem to be glad it’s over, as the most recent seasons have been considered by many to be of very low quality.
Critics of the show have cited UW–Stout’s reliance on computerized graphics over more practical effects. Both CGI and green screens were used in over half the episodes of season 124, with the actors forced to work alongside little to no actual scenery. In a deleted scene from last year’s Halloween episode, actor Ian McKellan, guest-starring as Chancellor Bob Meyer, was seen crying alongside several cutouts of his fellow cast members who were later edited into the episode.
What may be the biggest concern regarding “UW–Stout”’s cancellation is what will happen to the thousands of cast members. For many, the show was their first serious debut into the world of television. “When I found out, I was seriously devastated,” Chuck O’Loyle, who played the role of Stoutonia’s editor-in-chief Matt Gundrum, disappointingly expressed regarding the unfortunate news. “I feel like I’ve really gotten into [Matt’s] head with this last season. I just wish it could’ve lasted a little longer.”
O’Loyle isn’t the only one who’s lost something with “UW–Stout”’s cancellation; several of the other 9,000+ actors and actresses have posted their reactions and feelings on Twitter and Facebook as well.
As “UW–Stout” comes to an end, so too do many of our childhoods. Many of us grew up watching the show’s zany polytechnic antics, its biting commentary on our culture and all the groundbreaking moments that paved the way for modern television standards. Who could forget the time Jason broke every bone in his body during the season finale of season 25? Because of that incident, every actor on American television shows is required to undergo extensive bone strengthening surgery to ensure they don’t die on camera after being hit by three cars at once. We might be saying goodbye to a classic TV hit, but “UW–Stout” will be in America’s heart forever (also on DVD and Blu-Ray).