Is it just me or are sitcoms so generic and outdated?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Yoshi Sugawara, Oct 22, 2001.

  1. Yoshi Sugawara

    Yoshi Sugawara Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    With the exception of "Seinfeld", I absolutely cannot get myself to watch any sitcom anymore ("Friends","Everybody Loves Raymond","Will and Grace",etc,etc). Is it just me or is the concept so overused? I think they should stop making these kinds of cookie-cutter shows - does anyone else think that way, or am I in the wrong age bracket for these shows? (I'm 26).
    At least Seinfeld was really off-the-wall and had great writing, but otherwise everything else is soo uninspired...
    Ok, off my soapbox I go...
    ------------------
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 1999
    Messages:
    11,267
    Likes Received:
    0
    With the exception of Frasier, all of the current sitcoms are just cookie-cutter crap. Married With Children was the last sitcom to really innovate, taking things to glorious heights of ludicrousness. Nothing was sacred, offensive the norm. Great writing too!
     
  3. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2000
    Messages:
    5,058
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm with you, sort of. Even though I enjoy "Friends", it's extremely predictable, just like many other sitcoms. Still, even though they are generic and old-hat, I enjoy a few of them. One such generic one is "Just shoot me", which I love nevertheless because of the performances. Next to "Frasier" I'd say this is the best sitcom ensemble since "Cheers".
    Right now, my favorite sitcom is "Curb your enthusiasm" (see separate thread), because it's very much like Seinfeld, and not really relying on sitcom conventions.
    Another sitcom I like is "Becker", which I think manages to stay fresh and interesting.
    Other than that, a lot of sitcoms are so generic that it feels like I'm watching a re-run even though it's a brand new episode. A lot of times the storylines are even taken directly from some other sitcom.
    /Mike
     
  4. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 1997
    Messages:
    1,560
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, there a just aren't any sitcoms that I actually look forward to seeing now. Fraser is good, but it too has become predictable to me. Just Shoot Me is my one acception. I can't get enough of that one. In fact, it's the only sitcom that can get me to laugh outloud.
    ------------------
    Bill [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Bill Catherall on October 22, 2001 at 05:51 PM]
     
  5. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 1999
    Messages:
    2,973
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joe Six Pack does not like inovation so anything really new will be cancelled toot suite! (That's My Bush, Sportsnight, Freaks & Geeks, etc.)
    ------------------
    These chicks know how to party! - MoJo JoJo
     
  6. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,224
    Likes Received:
    1
  7. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 1999
    Messages:
    11,061
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    John Williamson
    Ya know, I never understood something about 'Married with Children', why the hell was Al always complaning about having sex with Peg? She was so hot! Just once i'de like a woman like that!
    Anyway, the only sitcoms I watch these days are 'Sienfeld', 'The King of Queens'(Leah Remini:yum [​IMG], and 'Curb your Enthusiasm'.
    ------------------
    God bless the USA and the men and woman of our military and their families!
     
  8. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 1999
    Messages:
    1,044
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have been saying this for years. Finally someone agrees with me!
    To me, a sitcom is what you watch when there is nothing else on.
    I have never understood this fanatical, I "must rush home and see Friends tonight" notion. I mean, if you miss an episode of a sitocom, do you really miss that much?
    I enjoyed Seinfeld and even Friends occasionally and watched them when I was at home and it was on. But if I didn't see every episode, I could immediately watch the next time and not be lost or anything. Heck, you can see a lot of them in syndication now ad nauseum.
    The only half-hour comedy shows I watch religiously are "Sex and teh City" and "curb Your Enthusiam". I don't consider these as sitcoms, but rather half-hour comedy shows.
    The settings, the humor, the lack of a studio audience/laugh track, all make them into so much more for me than a generic sitcom.
     
  9. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2000
    Messages:
    2,180
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe this is why reality based programming took off, it was almost a sitcom that provided a few surprises.
    There are a lot of cookie cutter shows out there, and it just seems to be getting worse.
    Frasier is only original when compared to what else is on TV, but they have their own Frasier shaped cookie cutter that they use far too often. Sometimes, it's almost as bad as Full House and Hanging with Mr Cooper in this regard. If the audience likes it though, that's fine.
    But I love Titus. I think it's the best of the traditional sitcoms on TV right now and continues to pull out surprises, even if it's running theme is pretty much the same throughout. The presentation is somewhat different with the Monologes and quick flashbacks, and although the characters are typical to what you'd find in a sitcom, they're so over the top that they don't feel cookie cutter.
    ------------------
     
  10. andrew markworthy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1999
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    12
    IMHO, after about five years of viewing TV as an adult, you've seen 95 per cent of permutations of the sitcom formula, so you are bound to get jaded. After that five years, whether you watch a sitcom will depend upon: (a) whether the particular permuatation personally appeals to you and (b) the one-liners are any good.
    Personally, I find Frasier very predictable (it has one basic plot - i.e. being pompous and refined versus being unpretentious and down-to-earth), and I hated Seinfeld (I didn't find the characters endearing, but a bunch of losers, and I felt it was sadistic to laugh at them). Others think differently. Personally I love Friends - yes, I'm aware of the shortcomings, but I can live with them (incidentally, I think the social nuances which must irritate Americans slip past us Brits) and the one-liners are still very sharp.
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,680
    Likes Received:
    453
  12. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  13. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 1998
    Messages:
    7,795
    Likes Received:
    8
    Ive never like sitcoms.
    Married With Children(The first 4 years)
    The Simpsons
    Futurama
    And from my younger days:
    Too Close For Comfort
    F Troop
    Gilligans Island
    Taxi
    The Flintstones
    Threes Company
    All In The Family
    Get Smart
    Happy Days
    These are the only ones Ive watched. Ive seen a episode of many "popular" sitcoms here and there and hated them(Even when I was younger I didnt care for most of them). People are usually shocked when I say I dont watch Sienfeld, Cheers, Friends,etc.I agree with Andy Kaufman-its the lowest form of entertainment.Im not just saying this to go against popular opinion, but I dont do not understand what people see in these shows.Theyre very rarely funny, Id rather spent my time watching somethig else.
    Ive always preferred to watch a movie instead and if I watch TV its something on cable like Discovery or the like.
    ------------------
    Visit My Pathetic WebPage
    "....With that in mind,I humbly add my own prophecy of
    what the dawn of the new millennium shall bring forth-
    one thousand more years of the same old crap" Jose Chung
    [Edited last by JonZ on October 23, 2001 at 12:05 PM]
     
  14. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    I completely agree, but I urge you to check out:
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    Malcolm in the Middle
    and possibly Undeclared (too early to tell if really good)
     
  15. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Laugh tracks are the tool of the Devil.
    Ok, I'm not an idiot, and there are plenty of other people who aren't idiots. We don't need to be told when to laugh! I understand when a joke is made. If I don't laugh, it doesn't mean I missed my cue, it means that the joke wasn't funny.
    I really like Frasier. Yeah, they've been repeating a lot of stuff, so I wouldn't cry if it ended. But it's so different than other sitcoms. All sitcoms are about how stupid someone is, or lazy, etc (Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, Tim Allen, etc). Frasier is a guy who is too smart for his own good. And they still do cool things, like that episode this season where he imagined talking to his ex-wives. A lot of people didn't like it, but I thought it was funny.
    Seinfeld has some fantastic moments.
    Other than that, sitcoms are just stupid.
    Any Simpsons fans remember some of their sitcom spoofs? "Ethnic Comedy Mismatch #714" (or something like that) and "Talk to the Hand." That accurately depects the genre.
     
  16. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    2,641
    Likes Received:
    0
    They had... TALK TO THE HAND, and Don't go there...
    "You took away my manhood!"
    "That's petty theft..."
    "Don't Go There!"
    "don't go there will be right back."
    Bart: Oh no it won't. (he attempts to smash the TV.)
     
  17. Jeremy-P

    Jeremy-P Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2000
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    I remember a few years ago when it seems like the amount of sitcoms per season peaked. I swear FOX must've cancelled one every week. Now it's all about hour-long dramas, a genre with a little more breathing room.
    IMO, the problem with most sitcoms is that they rely on one main character exclusively, making everyone around them a one dimensional stock character- the weird neighbor, the slutty friend, the asshole boss, etc. Many sitcoms are created or co-created by stand-up comedians, who use their own material to write an episode. If they keep recycling material for years and forget to develop the other characters, the show gets really stale, really fast. I'll give two examples, a good and bad, Seinfeld and Home Improvement.
    If you watch the early Seinfeld episodes, it's obvious most of the gags are recycled stand-up material, and Jerry is the only one who seems like a real person. Kramer is this mopey, anti-social weirdo, George is a neurotic idiot, and I can't even remember how Elaine was introduced. It was mildly funny at best. But eventually, these characters were fleshed out and seemed to have real lives. They had nuances, catch-phrases, relationships with offscreen characters, etc. It wasn't the Jerry Seinfeld show starring Jerry Seinfeld the famous comedian, it was just Seinfeld. The best sitcom ever made...in my opinion.
    Home Improvement, based on the stand up of Tim Allen, is about a macho, middle-aged dad trying to raise three kids with the help of his wife. Every episode he does something stupid to hurt himself, and every episode he talks to wilson behind the fence, and he learns the error of his ways, only to repeat them the following episode. The show was a hit, but it never really advanced from there. Even to the end, it was still basically a show about Tim Allen being macho and hurting himself. Who cares? Not me.
     
  18. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's just you.
    The best seem to have half a dozen main characters. Cheers, M.A.S.H and Friends are examples, but I don't watch them for the jokes half as much as I do for the actor's delivery, and another's reception. The jokes are so old and reused it isn't funny.
    I was hoping that Geeks would take off, but as usual, the rest of the Neilson families thought different. the show had the potential to deliver geek jokes en masse, which would have been new. (I guess that is why it failed, nobody understood them except for me)! [​IMG]
    Glenn
     
  19. Todd H

    Todd H Go Dawgs!

    Joined:
    May 27, 1999
    Messages:
    2,163
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Georgia
    Real Name:
    Todd
    I'm not sure if it considered a sitcom or not, but Scrubs is probably one of the funniest shows on TV right now. If you haven't seen it, give it a try. It comes on after Frasier.
     
  20. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 1999
    Messages:
    11,061
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    John Williamson
    Oh man, how could I have forgotten 'That 70's Show'!?
    Mila Kunis [​IMG]!
    I also like Kurtwood Smith, he's just too funny to describe! [​IMG]
    ------------------
    God bless the USA and the men and woman of our military and their families!
     

Share This Page