Thursday, February 10, 2005

Can anyone write a sitcom anymore?

According to George Castanza, this is a job that "anyone" can do. However, in channel surfing last night, it was painful to watch the attempted witty banter on a show called "Committed". Not sure how many of you have seen this show, but it severely lacks the writing that is necessary to keep it around for a long time.

I have similar thoughts about "Joey". How long can America be in love with the village idiot? I am all for physical comedy and idiotic behavior, but give me a break. Those things usually only work in the movies were it is 90 minutes of it and you are done. Here, they are trying to build a long running sitcom on that premise. Sure, the show has its moments, however, spin offs can be difficult. The only successful one that I enjoyed was "Frazier". They took the witty psychologist from "Cheers" and put him into an environment in which he flourished, surrounding him with a more intellectual style of humor.

One of the few shows that have successfully achieved wittiness is "Scrubs". They have put the right players in place to develop odd moments were the show just seems to flow from start to finish.

Another show that I have only recently started to enjoy is "Everybody Loves Raymond". I remember watching Ray Romano on A&E's "Live at the Improv" back in the mid to late 80's. The man was, and still is, extremely funny. In a Seinfeld-esk style, he takes family life and turns it into a weekly comedy. It is scary how often I catch myself saying "it's funny cause its true." With Ray leaving his network post for syndication, I do not see a show that has the ability to replace him.

I feel that most of the new and upcoming sitcoms that are trying to make it big on the big 3 networks seem to lack that comedy that grabs you and has you watching for years. The fair and balanced Fox has some of the better sitcoms with "Malcolm in the Middle", "Arrested Development", "King of the Hill", and of course, "The Simpson’s".

I would love to hear your thoughts on the current state of the sitcom.

1 comment:

Tony said...

What I see happening is American sitcoms are becoming more and more formulated. I used to watch "Raymond" but can't stand it anymore. They turned Patricia Heaton's character into such a bitch I can't stand her. I used to watch The King of Queens when it first started but stopped watching that for similar reasons.

The formula is as follows: The husband is always a complete idiot, the wife is a total bitch and they spend most of their time lying to each other. This is the same formula that is used in virtually every "humorous" commercial as well.

The funniest sitcom I've seen lately is The Office from the BBC. They seem to be more willing to take risks.