How come the top-billed star of a sitcom usually plays a "loser"-type character?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by John Kilduff, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    You know the type I mean...Needs to be reminded of responsibility and maturity, often the butt of his supposed loved one's jokes, basically getting total reamings in the areas of life, love and respect even if they're in positions of authority.

    Some examples of the shows and actors I'm talking about (Sorry if the list is bereft of women...I haven't seen enough female-oriented sitcoms):

    -Dave Foley on "NewsRadio"
    -Harry Anderson on "Night Court" and "Dave's World"
    -Ray Romano on "Everybody Loves Raymond"
    -Tim Allen on "Home Improvement"
    -Larry David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
    -Ed O'Neill on "Married...With Children"

    The characters these actors play were/are losers supreme. If most of these stars have had behind-the-scenes input, couldn't they have made their characters more respectable and less like fools?

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    Would Mary Tyler Moore on her eponymous 70s sitcom fit my description as well?
     
  2. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    You know the type I mean...Needs to be reminded of responsibility and maturity, often the butt of his supposed loved one's jokes, basically getting total reamings in the areas of life, love and respect even if they're in positions of authority.

    Some examples of the shows and actors I'm talking about (Sorry if the list is bereft of women...I haven't seen enough female-oriented sitcoms):

    -Dave Foley on "NewsRadio"
    -Harry Anderson on "Night Court" and "Dave's World"
    -Ray Romano on "Everybody Loves Raymond"
    -Tim Allen on "Home Improvement"
    -Larry David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
    -Ed O'Neill on "Married...With Children"

    The characters these actors play were/are losers supreme. If most of these stars have had behind-the-scenes input, couldn't they have made their characters more respectable and less like fools?

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    Would Mary Tyler Moore on her eponymous 70s sitcom fit my description as well?
     
  3. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Tim Taylor wasn't really a loser... just real stupid... arr arr arrrr... i love home improvement [​IMG]

    back on topic... maybe coz its funnier when they do dumb things... who wants to see a show where a guy does everything normally and correctly the first time?

    Tim: Honey, im going to soup up this dishwasher
    Jill: Okay, seeing how great a job you did with the blender, do what you want with the dishwasher
    *few hours later*
    Tim: Honey, its done. Say hello to the Binford 6100 air compressor.
    Jill: Ooh, lets see it in action!
    *turns on dishwasher, works perfectly*
    Jill: Great job Tim!
    Tim: Arr arr arr...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Tim Taylor wasn't really a loser... just real stupid... arr arr arrrr... i love home improvement [​IMG]

    back on topic... maybe coz its funnier when they do dumb things... who wants to see a show where a guy does everything normally and correctly the first time?

    Tim: Honey, im going to soup up this dishwasher
    Jill: Okay, seeing how great a job you did with the blender, do what you want with the dishwasher
    *few hours later*
    Tim: Honey, its done. Say hello to the Binford 6100 air compressor.
    Jill: Ooh, lets see it in action!
    *turns on dishwasher, works perfectly*
    Jill: Great job Tim!
    Tim: Arr arr arr...

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    Probably because execs think it makes people more comfortable.
     
  6. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    Probably because execs think it makes people more comfortable.
     
  7. John_Lee

    John_Lee Supporting Actor

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    Because, to quote Valentine Michael Smith, 'we laugh because it hurts.'
    Foibles are the font of humor.
     
  8. John_Lee

    John_Lee Supporting Actor

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    Because, to quote Valentine Michael Smith, 'we laugh because it hurts.'
    Foibles are the font of humor.
     
  9. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    One reason I used to like Frasier (before it got dumb) was that the main character was "too smart," a complete flip on the standard dumb lug guys.
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    One reason I used to like Frasier (before it got dumb) was that the main character was "too smart," a complete flip on the standard dumb lug guys.
     
  11. Berk

    Berk Stunt Coordinator

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    I read an excellent article recently about how males are disproportionately being portrayed as idiots in sitcoms. The point of the article was that people feel pressure to become what society portrays them to be. If every time the public turns on the TV the men are idiots, guys will tend to become more stupid and women will expect men to be stupid.

    It’s an interesting argument. Before you disagree, consider the controversy over Barbie and the young women of America.
     
  12. Berk

    Berk Stunt Coordinator

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    I read an excellent article recently about how males are disproportionately being portrayed as idiots in sitcoms. The point of the article was that people feel pressure to become what society portrays them to be. If every time the public turns on the TV the men are idiots, guys will tend to become more stupid and women will expect men to be stupid.

    It’s an interesting argument. Before you disagree, consider the controversy over Barbie and the young women of America.
     
  13. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    I don't know that I'd call them all "losers". (Well, maybe Al Bundy was...hee!)

    I'd give them the more-accurate title of "lovable schmo". [​IMG]
     
  14. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    I don't know that I'd call them all "losers". (Well, maybe Al Bundy was...hee!)

    I'd give them the more-accurate title of "lovable schmo". [​IMG]
     
  15. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Bundy's never lose. In order to lose, you have to try to achieve, and Lord knows Bundy's never try.
     
  16. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Bundy's never lose. In order to lose, you have to try to achieve, and Lord knows Bundy's never try.
     
  17. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    I don't know if I'd call Harry Anderson's character a loser. That was more Dan Fielding, or Bull.

    In a sitcom, someone needs to be the butt of the joke. In a good sitcom, they will spread it out between a few characters. (As above) Problem is now, there are a lot where one (usually male) character is the one that always gets the grief. "Everybody Loves Raymond" is a good example, where Ray is often the stooge. I can't say I like the trend...

    Jason
     
  18. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    I don't know if I'd call Harry Anderson's character a loser. That was more Dan Fielding, or Bull.

    In a sitcom, someone needs to be the butt of the joke. In a good sitcom, they will spread it out between a few characters. (As above) Problem is now, there are a lot where one (usually male) character is the one that always gets the grief. "Everybody Loves Raymond" is a good example, where Ray is often the stooge. I can't say I like the trend...

    Jason
     
  19. Tarkin The Ewok

    Tarkin The Ewok Supporting Actor

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    The thing that makes me sad is that it doesn't have to be like this. There are plenty of examples of shows where everybody joked around with everybody (I Love Lucy, Bewitched, most Nick at Nite era shows). I'm sure this type of show can still be done today. They may even exist but are just getting no press.

    Note to TV execs: "Sitcom" means to put likable, believable characters into goofy or fantastic situations.
     
  20. Tarkin The Ewok

    Tarkin The Ewok Supporting Actor

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    The thing that makes me sad is that it doesn't have to be like this. There are plenty of examples of shows where everybody joked around with everybody (I Love Lucy, Bewitched, most Nick at Nite era shows). I'm sure this type of show can still be done today. They may even exist but are just getting no press.

    Note to TV execs: "Sitcom" means to put likable, believable characters into goofy or fantastic situations.
     

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