January 20, 2005

Where have all the sitcoms gone?

This certainly won’t be a profound post – I know this topic has been covered in so many other more qualified venues. However, I can’t resist expressing my sadness at the severe dearth in quality sitcoms as of late (also, there is a dearth of remarkable topics happening in my life right now, resulting in a dearth of interesting posting material). I need to get it out of my system, although I know I don’t much new to offer. Of all the shows I watch regularly, only 5 of them are sitcoms and of those, a few have dubious lengths left in their lives. Although I realize that "reality" programming is usurping sitcoms, I do like some reality shows (The Amazing Race, Apprentice , Survivor - but even those are getting tired now). Anyway, here is what I watch and as you shall see - several of them won't even live to see that elusive TV life form that's nearing extinction - syndication.

Arrested Development - One the cleverest shows running - written in the guise of a stupid show - is doomed to die a painful death. Despite it having won the Best Comedy Emmy last year, it is simply too sharp for the general populace. To “get” the humor, you need to pay attention, listen to every line of dialogue, remember the line, process the likely double entendre and then actually remember what may have happened a few episodes past (a similar problem for The Wire viewers). Thank goodness for TV DVDs. This show will inevitably die, but one salvation is that it is even better with subsequent viewings.

Joey – He was always my least favorite of the Friends and this show proves why. He just was never that interesting of a character and I certainly don’t rush home to watch this program (in fact, I am 2 weeks behind on the DVR). However, his TV nephew, Michael, is pretty funny and since he is the brightest character on the show, the writers tend to throw him the wittiest comments – which he delivers quite effectively. When Joey fades (My guess? one more season – tops.), I hope someone finds this kid a show.

Will & Grace – This show is clearly on its way out, but of course, NBC will have to flog it deader than dead. Furthermore, NBC has nearly spun this show off into The Jack and Karen Show – at a minimum, the network should at least find those two a room.

Committed – I had such high hopes for this weird, quirky show. The premise is that the two main characters are insane. While every 5th joke is Guffaw Quality, is it worth sitting through the other 4? Not unless it improves mightily in the next few episodes because that is how many lives it has left on my DVR.

George Lopez Show – This show was a surprising Just Flipping the Channels Find. This show is your typical sitcom, through and through. It is replete with the goofy husband, sensible wife, bratty kids, obnoxious mother, and obtuse best friend. But it’s Hispanic. And Different. I really like this program! It’s a cute show, but it still has a little bite to it. This show pokes gentle fun at stereotypes that other shows simply would not be able to get away with.

See, I told you. Nothing profound to be had here. Those are just the 5 shows that help get my sitcom grieving out of my system. I didn't realize how much I missed the traditional sitcom until last night, as I was watching the Lopez show. I really enjoyed watching the episode all the while knowing that it isn't even a groundbreaking sitcom. Certainly not in the style of Seinfeld or Frasier.

Damn. I miss a really good sitcom.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Two and a Half Men. It has some sitcom cheesiness but it's funnier than you might expect. We keep it on the weekly TiVo schedule.

- Jane

Rozanne said...

I watch almost no TV, but I did watch a few episodes of Arrested Development during the first season and liked it a lot. So clever and funny. And what a concept! However, I got frustrated after a while. There were too many threads and many of them were simply never developed. I haven't watched it this season.

I'm floored that it is still on, as I'm sure it is way over the heads of most people. It just won another Golden Globe or two.

Do you ever watch Curb Your Enthusiasm? We don't have cable but my dad does and he sends them to us or we get them on DVD. Now *that* is a great sitcom! If you haven't seen it, queue the first two seasons up in Netflix right now!

Cagey said...

Jane,
Monday is such a bad TV night for me - I usually do Raku that night. I haven't caught that show yet but should look into it.

Rozanne,
Arrested Development is best viewed on DVD - watching 1 episode at a time feels very disjointed. We do watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I didn't include it because I was just going for the shows that are actually currently on. "Curb" is also another excellent show viewed 2-3 episodes at a time......

Me said...

I'm so hoping that Arrested Development isn't almost dead! Laugh my rear off every week at that one. One you are missing is Complete Savages on Friday nights. The writing is darn clever, and the kids are really good at playing their roles. Give it a whirl!

Anonymous said...

I just realized I forgot my very favorite current sitcom: Scrubs. It just keeps getting funnier and funnier.

- Jane