How "quirky humor" is killing modern sitcoms

Originally published at: How "quirky humor" is killing modern sitcoms | Boing Boing


Good. Sitcoms deserve to die. It’s a tired, tired, format that I cannot bear to watch, especially if it uses a laugh track.

Editing to add that what also should die in fiery blazes is any series that does “a very special episode”.


I love a good sitcom, not because it’s quality, but because it’s simple.
Sure complex series (when done well) are great, something like Dark is not a show you can simply turn your brain off for.
At the end of the day sometimes I just want 20-30 minutes were I can turn off the outside world watch a bunch of goofy characters have fun and end up with the happy ending.

The irony in his argument is that the characters are too quirky or one dimensional, that is until you give them enough screen time to build a more fully developed personality. Yet, if you don’t rope the audience in there won’t be a series to build character depth with. With most of the “iconic” shows that he mentions the quirk of the main characters never goes away, it just gives way to more depth as we see other sides of the character. He is 100% correct that a lot of it is up to the actor. A good actor can make mediocre writing way better, but a mediocre actor will rarely live up to great writing.


I don’t know… I think you can do comedy and complex without losing anything. Look at shows like Derry Girls, for example. They managed to walk the line between addressing living in a complicated situation (the Troubles) and fantastic, sometimes even a bit surreal humor (the polar bear in Belfast for example or the weeping Mary/peeing do situation). And it even had a happy ending!

But I get the “wanting to tune out” bit, though. We all need that sometimes in this fucked up world.


See also Reservation Dogs. Which walks a nice line between silly and emotional.
I mean take me literally. See it. It’s a good show. Easy to binge too.


Maybe, but it’s also a hyperviolent film…

easy. not talking about Tarantino, that was Reservoir Dogs.
Reservation Dogs is a wonderful series set in Choctaw rez on OK and is written, directed and acted by native Americans.
beautiful show.


Oh! Shit! Sorry, @Mangochin!

I have not seen that series yet, but I’ve heard good things!


Never heard of Blockbuster, I just watched the pilot and the first episode. Not bad. Not great but amusing.

I think I’ll watch some more with my wife when we’re looking for something fun.

I love sitcoms that are just funny or fun or just amusing without get all political or very special episody.

Corner Gas was just such a sitcom. I wish there were more like it.

I keep looking but so far nothing is even close.

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Oh! I think you would really like it. it is kind of doing some Atlanta-like things, but with the native experience.


It’s OK. We’re good. :+1:

The episodes and seasons are short. It’s easy to binge or watch when you want something quick. Funny and packs an emotional punch.


Another series I have not seen yet! I plan to pick it up once it’s all out.

Sounds like it’s gonna be awesome!


Oh yay! I think you will love it too. They recently finished the series too, so it’s the perfect time to start Atlanta!


has the fine actor, Zahn MacClarnon in it! i love him!


I have heard multiple writers from different shows explaining that it took them years to find the right combination of characters and gags that made the show work. The Always Sunny writers feel like they didn’t get it exactly right until season 5!

There are wonderful sitcoms happening still… Ted Lasso, Reservation Dogs, What We Do in the Shadows, Barry, Atlanta, Mythic Quest, Severance. All of these shows care deeply about plot and character development and let the quirky sliders happen naturally, they don’t force it. Using Blockbuster as an example of the genre dying is a lazy take, sometimes a bad show is just a bad show.

ETA: Oh! And what about Schitt’s Creek? This reviewer is probably right about Blockbuster but dead wrong about the genre.


It is my favorite “Oh! Him!/Her!/Them!” show right now. Seeing all of the indigenous actors I have ever seen in anything else pop up all over the place in this show has been great. I am also so sad that Rutherford Falls was cancelled, a very different show, but great for similar reasons


God damn you. Now I have to spend the rest of the day pondering “Is Barry sitcom”?


Bill Hader Barry GIF by HBO


I think that the true sign of a great creator is that they will put themselves against performers that they know will steal every scene they are in, because it’s the right thing for the show.

Bill Hader is a great creator

(And I am not disagreeing, btw…just pondering)


I always felt that for me the key difference between a sitcom and a drama is that there isn’t really character development as such. You don’t leave town on a quest, discover the baddie is your daddy, and learn to grow into the hero you were destined to be. Different shit happens each day in a sitcom, but you are still the same asshole, so it never ends up quite right. You always fall short.

In that sense sitcom storytelling is a nice counterpoint to the rabid bullshit of the Joseph Campbell / structural anthropological perspective on what constitutes a story. I used to joke that Hollywood was the place where 1930s fascism and Stalinism were reconciled.

It’s just not funny, even to me, any more.