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Monday, June 25, 2012

Krasovic: Baseball writers still don’t love ‘Raymond’

I don’t know, Hano, Schaap, Hirshberg, etc…they all wrote for Robinson’s Baseball Stars of… Oh.

But it wasn’t a gag. This man believed that comedian Ray Romano’s TV character—the guy never seen writing a story or interviewing an athlete or watching a ballgame or getting a disruptive phone call from an editor—is in fact a sports writer of the newspaper species.

For my neighbor to divine that thin truth, which is a truth in the way that “it sometimes snows in Mississippi” is a truth, is proof beyond a doubt that nuclear engineers truly are geniuses.

This whole Raymond-is-a-sports-writer conceit has fascinated me for years. I may not know much about many jobs, but I do know what newspaper sports writers do, having been one for 24 years, most of them as a baseball or football beat reporter for San Diego’s largest newspaper. Raymond, ostensibly employed by Newsday, rumored to be covering the Yankees, is suitably flippant to be a sports hack. His arrested development rings true, too. Not so his life of apparent leisure. Sports writers actually work. Raymond doesn’t work.

There you have it.

My wife, Mrs. West Coast Bias, could confirm this, at least the part about sports writers working, but she’s not commenting owing to subject fatigue. Whenever she dared watch “Raymond” in my presence, I pointed out 394 times that this man couldn’t be a sports writer.

Repoz Posted: June 25, 2012 at 02:32 PM | 292 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: tv

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   101. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4166545)
more about the fact that they can afford apartments that are incredibly out of their price range considering the jobs they hold.


this
   102. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4166546)
Did anyone see Newsroom? It was no Sports Night or West Wing but is easily better than Studio 60 - but something about it rubbed me the wrong way - oh yeah - that's right - it was basically Studio 60 again - what a pile of self righteous crap it was.
I have it in my TiVo queue, but that was my exact sense from reading reviews of the show: that it was Studio 60 once again, trying to turn the production of a tv show into something as momentous as the West Wing.
   103. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4166548)
Also Jerry was quite the slut. He must have dated 200 women.


If you own the DVD set for the show, they have a trivia track that keeps track of:

- Jerry girlfriends
- George girlfriends
- Elaine boyfriends
- Kramer entrances

I don't remember the final numbers, but Jerry's count wasn't as high as you think, but George had WAAAY too many women given his looks, stature, attitude, living arrangements, and employment history.
   104. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4166550)
Due to the powers of the internets, I found a youtube clip clip of the Heather Lockelear strip club scene to which I referred.
   105. bachslunch Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4166554)
I think the complaint with Friends is less about the time shown working and more about the fact that they can afford apartments that are incredibly out of their price range considering the jobs they hold.

To an extent, they got around that by having Monica's place still being rent-controlled (if memory serves, an illegal piggyback by her on an older relative's rent control eligibility), Chandler for most of the series run actually having a halfway-decent middle-management corporate position (the joke here was that nobody other than Chandler knew exactly what that job was) and for about half the series pretty much subsidizing Joey as roommate, Ross having a respectable position first as museum paleontologist and later as a tenure-track college faculty member, and Joey managing to eventually break though enough to make a living as a soap opera actor. Though how Phoebe managed to live alone in Manhattan working as a masseuse is indeed a mystery.

Yeah, I guess I should be embarrassed for knowing this much about the show. So sue me.
   106. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4166556)
Though how Phoebe managed to live alone in Manhattan working as a masseuse is indeed a mystery.


Is it?
   107. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4166558)
I think the complaint with Friends is less about the time shown working and more about the fact that they can afford apartments that are incredibly out of their price range considering the jobs they hold.
They explained the larger apartment in a couple of episodes; it was a rent-controlled place that Monica's grandmother was illegally subletting to them. As to the smaller apartment, well, I think Chandler was supposed to be more successful than he appeared.

As for time shown working, Rachel waitressed at the coffee shop; they showed that a lot. But since it was a show about friends, and none of them worked together, they weren't going to spend a whole lot of time on their jobs.
   108. Greg K Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4166563)
Just so bachslunch doesn't feel too alone over at the "knows too much about Friends" table...

There was one episode where the disparity in earnings caused tension within the group as some had more money to throw around than others. If I recall it was the wealthy Ross, Chandler (and maybe Monica?) against the cash-strapped Phoebe, Joey and Rachel.
   109. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4166568)
The thing about Friends is there's no way that guy is a paleontologist. That guy doesn't look like he's spent one day of his life at a field dig.

Of course, they're just sitcoms. Relax people, they're aren't supposed to be real.
   110. JJ1986 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4166581)
That all makes sense, although I'm not sure how Joey was able to move into that apartment in the first place. Chandler wouldn't have been subsidizing him before they were friends.
   111. bachslunch Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4166595)
I can't believe no one's mentioned those titans of the golden age of the sit-com, "Suddenly Susan" or "Caroline in the City".

Yup, both pretty bad. If memory serves, the latter was sometimes referred to as "Carol-whine in the City."

There was also "Just Shoot Me," another workplace-based comedy of the time. "Becker" also qualified about half the time. Both solid examples of the "sour but funny" approach to sitcoms.
   112. BFFB Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4166596)
   113. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4166597)
#111, all four of those were pretty bad.

At least Friends was good, once upon a time, before going too long.
   114. Lassus Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4166598)
That Becker lived and Better off Ted died is a crime against all of humanity.
   115. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4166602)
Chandler wouldn't have been subsidizing him before they were friends.

Joey was semi-successful early on (plays) and supplemented with odd jobs (cologne sprayer).
   116. Booey Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4166614)
Though how Phoebe managed to live alone in Manhattan working as a masseuse is indeed a mystery.


Lots of happy endings? :)

I watched every season of Friends on DVD with an ex girlfriend a few years back. And I actually enjoyed it. It's one of my secret shames I don't bring up much when I'm amongst guys.
   117. Greg K Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4166616)
#111, all four of those were pretty bad.

Here's the updated version.
   118. just plain joe Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4166617)
As to shows being unrealistic, all of them are. I like these in particular:


Why do people in sitcoms never lock their doors? I suppose that is a basic premise of the shows, friends/family just popping in unannounced but if I lived across the street from Frank and Marie Barone I would have kept that front door locked and bolted. Actually I would have moved from Long Island to someplace far, far away but that's just me.
   119. Greg K Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4166626)
Why do people in sitcoms never lock their doors?

This has come up before, but the notion that you lock your door when you're home just strikes me as bizarre. I do it currently because my room-mate prefers it that way and I don't really care...but the idea that you lock your door when you're home would never occur to me.

Growing up we very much had an open-door policy with friends coming and going. Occasionally I'd come home and find a couple friends in my basement already.
   120. BFFB Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4166628)
Another favorite sitcom of mine is Father Ted, also Drop the Dead Donkey and Blackadder. The mighty boosh was good for a couple seasons too.
   121. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4166631)
The mighty boosh was good for a couple seasons too.

The gf loves The Mighty Boosh so I've seen the whole series. Bloody hell!

   122. zonk Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4166635)
I have it in my TiVo queue, but that was my exact sense from reading reviews of the show: that it was Studio 60 once again, trying to turn the production of a tv show into something as momentous as the West Wing.


He made it work with Sportsnight, though - which I thought was extraordinarily underrated/simply not 'packaged' well... but the characters and show itself was good.
   123. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4166637)
I've commented on this before, but it's hilarious in Frasier that they go into the kitchen to have loud conversations about their guests in the next room, and yet magically their guests never seem to hear them.

And there isn't even a door.
   124. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4166638)
There was one episode where the disparity in earnings caused tension within the group as some had more money to throw around than others. If I recall it was the wealthy Ross, Chandler (and maybe Monica?) against the cash-strapped Phoebe, Joey and Rachel.
Just to show that I watched this show too much: I believe that was exactly the breakdown, except the episode ended with Monica getting fired because she had taken free food from a vendor at her job.
   125. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4166640)
He made it work with Sportsnight, though - which I thought was extraordinarily underrated/simply not 'packaged' well... but the characters and show itself was good.
Sports Night was awesome; it's a crime against humanity that it was cancelled after two seasons. But it was a sitcom, not a drama, so it avoided the worst of Sorkin's pomposity.
   126. Greg K Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4166643)
Another favorite sitcom of mine is Father Ted, also Drop the Dead Donkey and Blackadder.


Speaking of sit-com characters not doing their job. I didn't see Rowan Atkinson OR Hugh Laurie kill a single German in that show!
   127. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4166645)
I've commented on this before, but it's hilarious in Frasier that they go into the kitchen to have loud conversations about their guests in the next room, and yet magically their guests never seem to hear them.

And there isn't even a door.


It's just a convention. Sitcoms are basically plays shown on television and use the theatrical conventions that go back hundreds of years. Think of it as being the same as an aside in Shakespeare.
   128. Greg K Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4166647)
It's just a convention. Sitcoms are basically plays shown on television and use the theatrical conventions that go back hundreds of years. Think of it as being the same as an aside in Shakespeare.

I think Hamlet would have improved a bit if the young Prince lost it on his step-dad and killed him for leaving toast-sweat on the counter.
   129. zonk Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4166659)
Sports Night was awesome; it's a crime against humanity that it was cancelled after two seasons. But it was a sitcom, not a drama, so it avoided the worst of Sorkin's pomposity.


That was really its problem -- too many people expected a true comedy, maybe in the vein of Newsradio (certainly a fine show and in its own right, but a fundamentally different show).... I hate to use the industry jargon, but it was really near as I can tell, the birth of the modern dramedy.
   130. bachslunch Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4166660)
Another '90s workplace comedy to mention -- "Murphy Brown." Wasn't a regular watcher of this, myself. And "Coach" also probably qualifies as well.

There actually don't seem to be a lot of "workplace sitcoms" as one goes back in time, unless you include military comedies like "Sgt. Bilko (Phil Silvers Show)," "Gomer Pyle, USMC," "F Troop," "M*A*S*H," "McHale's Navy," "Ensign O'Toole," or (for a real stretch) "Hogan's Heroes." Maybe "Green Acres" for bizarro farm work or "Get Smart" for bizarro secret agent work count. "Car 54" qualifies, too, I guess.

Shows like "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Andy Griffith Show" are half-and-half home/work splits.

There are more of these as time goes along, such as the already mentioned "Barney Miller," "WKRP in Cincinnati," "Cheers," "Night Court," and "Taxi," as well as things like the "Bob Newhart Show" (at least a 50/50 split), "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Alice," "Welcome Back Kotter," and "Archie Bunker's Place."
   131. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4166664)
Chico and The Man!
   132. SoSH U at work Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4166672)
Just to show that I watched this show too much: I believe that was exactly the breakdown, except the episode ended with Monica getting fired because she had taken free food from a vendor at her job.


And yet you didn't mention the big Hootie and the Blowfish concert that only half the gang could attend.
   133. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4166674)
I've commented on this before, but it's hilarious in Frasier that they go into the kitchen to have loud conversations about their guests in the next room, and yet magically their guests never seem to hear them.
What do people get out of this stuff? You can already tell the world of the show is fictional by looking at the TV listings. Doesn't "sitcom" basically cover this?
   134. Tripon Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4166677)
And yet you didn't mention the big Hootie and the Blowfish concert that only half the gang could attend.


And nobody pointed out that they didn't have to do everything together? At least How I Met Your Mother pointed out how extremely clingy and clique their group is.
   135. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4166679)
(the joke here was that nobody other than Chandler knew exactly what that job was)
I remember that he had to spend a lot of time worrying about the WENUS.

(Weekly Estimated Net Use of Systems)
   136. Eddo Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4166684)
My brother and I have talked about sitcom taxonomy a lot (way more than normal people should), and we basically came down to four (or maybe five) main types:

------

"Workplace"
This is a bit of a misnomer, actually. It includes shows set in a literal workplace (The Office, Scrubs, Newsradio, Taxi), but also shows that are dependent on the primary location, like Cheers or MASH. The deciding question (for all the types, essentially) is "why are these characters interacting?" If the answer is "because they are in [place name] together", it's a "workplace" comedy. The plots of most episodes are driven by things that happen due to the location, as well. The Andry Griffith Show show is probably slightly more of a workplace/location sitcom than anything else, since Mayberry was a pretty important setting (though I will admit to being far from an Andy Griffith expert).

Family
This one's pretty self-explanatory. Everybody Loves Raymond, Growing Pains, Modern Family, and Arrested Development all fit here. The key is that the core group of characters are part of the same family. Obviously, there will be vital characters that are not related, but they do not outnumber actual family members. Episodes do not strictly rely on family dynamics, but they often will, due to the relationships.

"Hangout"
Another term for "hangout" sitcoms would be "shows about nothing". Seinfeld is the ultimate example here, but it wasn't necessarily the first. Friends fits in here, as do How I Met Your Mother and Happy Endings. Basically, if the characters chose to get together, it fits this. They are not bound by blood or by their occupation/location.

Fantasy
Initially, we called this "animated", but we left it a little broader. The Simpsons, South Park, and so forth are the best examples. Characters can really get involved in any situation, from family-based to workplace-based to something totally unrealistic (defying a society of jockeys, fighting a mecha-Streisand, etc.). Nearly every episode resets the status quo; consequences from the previous episodes are generally forgotten.

Single-person
This is the most tenuous one. Shows like Frasier and The Dick van Dyke Show is what we had in mind here. They aren't really location or family sitcoms; they really revolve on what's happening to one main character and how they are affected by those around them. I admit this is a bit of a copout, though.

------

Obviously, this list is far from refined. But it's a good place to start the discussion.
   137. Booey Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4166690)
And nobody pointed out that they didn't have to do everything together? At least How I Met Your Mother pointed out how extremely clingy and clique their group is.


That show is growing on me. Anyone else think it's funny too, or am I the only one?
   138. Rennie's Tenet Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4166691)
WENUS


Watch your WENUS, and your ANUS takes care of itself.
   139. Kurt Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4166695)
Eddo, where would Three's Company fit? Family (obviously not blood relatives, but they live together), Hangout or Single Person (with everything revolving around Jack)?
   140. Eddo Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4166697)
Booey - I am a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother. Obviously, the situations are exaggerated and unrealistic, but I think they do an excellent job of writing realistic relationships between urban late-twentysomethings/early-thirtysomethings.
   141. Kurt Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4166698)
Booey, I've seen exactly three episodes of HIMYM. One was very good, one was meh and the third was terrible. So I don't know what to think.
   142. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4166699)
So by Eddo's list, "Gilligan's Island" is a workplace comedy. I think the taxonomy is mostly fine but you might need a different name for that category.

I think I would also argue that central location aside, Cheers feels more like a "hangout" show than most of the other "workplace" shows.
   143. Eddo Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4166700)
Eddo, where would Three's Company fit? Family (obviously not blood relatives, but they live together), Hangout or Single Person (with everything revolving around Jack)?

That's a really good question. I honestly have not seen an episode of Three's Company ever, so I really can't say.
   144. Eddo Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4166702)
So by Eddo's list, "Gilligan's Island" is a workplace comedy. I think the taxonomy is mostly fine but you might need a different name for that category.

Yep. "Location" comedy would probably be more accurate. I should have cited Gilligan's Island in that section, actually.
   145. bachslunch Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4166704)
Re "How I Met Your Mother:"

That show is growing on me. Anyone else think it's funny too, or am I the only one?

I'll second you on that. The show has aged better than most, is often funny, and is sometimes downright inventive.
   146. Rennie's Tenet Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4166711)
I like the Britcom "Coupling" which is basically the same as Friends and How I Met Your Mother. Some pretty intricate writing, and less than 30 episodes.
   147. Kurt Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4166713)
I honestly have not seen an episode of Three's Company ever

Wow. With all due respect, you are utterly unqualified to be opining on sitcom taxonomies.

Seriously, I think I'd put it in the Single Person category, or maybe expand that to Ensemble With Dominant Member. It was basically about Jack and his interactions with the roommates, Furley/Ropers, Larry, Jack at the Regal Beagle, etc.

The next question is whether the Family sitcom needs kids, or if shows like the Honeymooners and I Love Lucy would qualify.
   148. UCCF Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4166718)
He made it work with Sportsnight, though - which I thought was extraordinarily underrated/simply not 'packaged' well... but the characters and show itself was good.

I saw the first episode of Newsroom - it's basically Sports Night, but without the sports. Even the character types are the same - the female producer with some history with an anchor, the younger female associate producer, the quirky behind the scenes types. I assume this will be in pretty much the same vein as Sports Night was, which if it can hit that level of quality, would be fine with me.

I've seen people complaining that this show is basically just a Sports Night rehash, though that seems like a feature rather than a complaint. Sports Night was excellent, despite all of the mistakes ABC made with it (particularly that first season laugh track).
   149. Tripon Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4166722)
Booey, I've seen exactly three episodes of HIMYM. One was very good, one was meh and the third was terrible. So I don't know what to think.


HIMYM really works on a DVD/Netflix level, and Netflix has the first 6 seasons streaming. Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stintson is one of the all time great TV characters.
   150. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4166727)
or maybe expand that to Ensemble With Dominant Member. It was basically about Jack and his interactions with the roommates, Furley/Ropers, Larry, Jack at the Regal Beagle, etc.
But wouldn't that description probably also cover "Newhart," which would otherwise be pretty simply categorized as Location (virtually everything happened at the inn)?

Newhart has got to still have the best sitcom finale ever. (Though I actually liked Cheers' final ep a lot too.)
   151. Booey Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4166733)
Re "How I Met Your Mother:"

That show is growing on me. Anyone else think it's funny too, or am I the only one?

I'll second you on that. The show has aged better than most, is often funny, and is sometimes downright inventive.


I remember watching it a bit when it first started and thinking it was stupid, but I've seen it a lot more this year since the re-runs are played damn near constantly and I'm really starting to enjoy it. It's pretty funny, the characters are usually likeable, and I even think they work in the "touching" moments pretty well without being ridiculously sappy about it (Full House, I'm looking at you!).

I do wonder though, why is Bob Saget narrating the show rather than Josh Radnor? I mean, Ted is already an adult, his voice isn't really going to be changing much more as he gets older...
   152. Kurt Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4166743)
But wouldn't that description probably also cover "Newhart," which would otherwise be pretty simply categorized as Location (virtually everything happened at the inn)?

Yes, I think it would also cover Newhart. Newhart was *about* Bob Newhart's character more than it was about the location, even though as you say virtually every scene was at the inn.

And even if you don't buy it for Newhart, Three's Company did use other locations - the Ropers' apartment, Larry's apartment, the Regal Beagle, the place where Jack worked as a chef during the later years. The connective tissue is Jack, who was in just about every scene.
   153. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4166746)
Spin City (on the job all the time)

Sex in the City (Carrie's always working her work in)

Boston Legal (can a sitcom be in an hour time slot??)

   154. smileyy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4166759)
My favorite part of HIMYM are the fan theories about the present day. One is that they're holed up against a zombie/environmental/mutant apocalypse. The other is that he's a gunman holding a random family hostage (IIRC, they're always "kids" and "your mother", IIRC).
   155. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4166800)
I saw the first episode of Newsroom - it's basically Sports Night, but without the sports. Even the character types are the same - the female producer with some history with an anchor, the younger female associate producer, the quirky behind the scenes types. I assume this will be in pretty much the same vein as Sports Night was, which if it can hit that level of quality, would be fine with me.


It's like everything Sorkin does on TV - they might as well have called the show Aaron Sorkin Show. Every single person on the show is a neatly described archetype, all of whom are identical, Oscar Wilde-esque quip machines, and every single one of the people involved slept together at some point in the past. And if the first episode is any indication, this will be another Sorkin show in which the entire world must consist of about 20 people because every single event that goes on reveals a personal connection to one of the characters and all character development is done by trite epiphany.

From one episode, Newsroom feels like Season 5 of The Wire as seen view the eyes of an aging hipster that thinks wearing a Natty Boh t-shirt is the height of irony.
   156. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4166821)
And yet you didn't mention the big Hootie and the Blowfish concert that only half the gang could attend.
Well, they all could have attended, because the rich trio bought six tickets. But the poor trio felt like it would be taking charity, refused the tickets, and didn't go.

So nyah.
   157. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4166825)
That Becker lived and Better off Ted died is a crime against all of humanity.


I liked both shows(although my friends compared me to Becker so maybe that is why I liked Becker)
   158. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4166829)
Booey - I am a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother. Obviously, the situations are exaggerated and unrealistic, but I think they do an excellent job of writing realistic relationships between urban late-twentysomethings/early-thirtysomethings.
I am a big fan of it, too. In fact, I pretty much swore off sitcoms in the 21st century (not as a New Year's resolution or anything; that just happened to be the time when I decided that none of them were funny anymore, though I kept watching Friends all the way through), and HIMYM is the only one I think I've watched in the time since.

(Unless you count Entourage, which is something of a stretch.)
   159. JJ1986 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4166832)
I am a big fan of it, too. In fact, I pretty much swore off sitcoms in the 21st century (not as a New Year's resolution or anything; that just happened to be the time when I decided that none of them were funny anymore, though I kept watching Friends all the way through), and HIMYM is the only one I think I've watched in the time since.

(Unless you count Entourage, which is something of a stretch.)


Does this mean that you haven't seen Arrested Development? Because you should remedy that as soon as possible.
   160. McCoy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4166833)
Only 75 more posts to go before we top the last big TV sitcom discussion.
   161. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4166835)
I haven't seen Men of... either, but having 2 young kids watching cartoons is kind of an omnipresent hazard- it's actually pretty hard to be a "bad" a voice actor- or at least to notice that someone is bad at it

Play more video games.
   162. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4166836)
the Honeymooners


Has held up surprisingly well. It's of course viewed through the eyes of Ralph Kramden - the audience experiences the moments with him - and Gleason played the role perfectly.
   163. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4166853)
Does this mean that you haven't seen Arrested Development? Because you should remedy that as soon as possible.
You have correctly deduced that I haven't seen it. I know people -- some of whom even have good taste -- love it, so maybe I should.
   164. bachslunch Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4166860)
That Becker lived and Better off Ted died is a crime against all of humanity.

I liked both shows(although my friends compared me to Becker so maybe that is why I liked Becker)

I too like "Becker" quite a bit (and yes, I've been compared to the character as well), though I don't think any resemblance is the attraction for me. The mix of humor and unusually extreme snarkiness (relative to time period) always struck me as risky but usually pulled off really well. And I've found a number of the episodes wear well on multiple viewings. Though admittedly the last season was starting to show some wear at times. YMMV, as they say.

Sorry to say, I haven't seen "Better Off Ted," so I can't judge there.
   165. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4166876)
This has come up before, but the notion that you lock your door when you're home just strikes me as bizarre. I do it currently because my room-mate prefers it that way and I don't really care...but the idea that you lock your door when you're home would never occur to me.


Have to agree, I lock my place now just because that is what my girlfriend does, but it never occured to me, that there is actually a need or a reason to lock the doors when you are home and awake.

I've commented on this before, but it's hilarious in Frasier that they go into the kitchen to have loud conversations about their guests in the next room, and yet magically their guests never seem to hear them.

And there isn't even a door.

There was a show that never should have made it past the first season. By far the worst show ever to receive both critical acclaim and good ratings.

Sports Night was awesome; it's a crime against humanity that it was cancelled after two seasons. But it was a sitcom, not a drama, so it avoided the worst of Sorkin's pomposity.


I love West Wing, but Sports Night pimp slaps West Wing. It was better than Arrested Development, and probably the best 2 season show ever.Or three season show even,(if you want to include Star Trek) and is second only to Firefly for shows less than three seasons in greatness.

My brother and I have talked about sitcom taxonomy a lot (way more than normal people should), and we basically came down to four (or maybe five) main types:


That's a really good question. I honestly have not seen an episode of Three's Company ever, so I really can't say.

Braggart. It's a simple show, every episode is exactly the same. Imagine friends with just Chandler, Phoebe and Monica living together and someone in the show overhears a snippet of conversation that they take the wrong way and for the next 20 minutes they are trying to pretend to not know what the others were talking about, while getting upset because the people keep acting as if there is nothing wrong, until eventually they explode, the group explains a misunderstanding, everyone is happy, and then the show repeats the same thing next week.


HIMYM really works on a DVD/Netflix level, and Netflix has the first 6 seasons streaming. Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stintson is one of the all time great TV characters.


I missed this and the Big Bang theory the first time around, but have been catching up through streaming video and find that they both work really well this way.
And if Barney Stintson isn't in the top ten of all time great TV characters, that list would be hugely flawed. (although I think I probably think that about 20 or so characters, so my math is probably a bit challenged here)

   166. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4166879)
Has held up surprisingly well. It's of course viewed through the eyes of Ralph Kramden - the audience experiences the moments with him - and Gleason played the role perfectly.
I agree that it's still funny. Though I have a hard time watching it without thinking of The Flintstones.
   167. bachslunch Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4166882)
["The Honeymooners"] Has held up surprisingly well. It's of course viewed through the eyes of Ralph Kramden - the audience experiences the moments with him - and Gleason played the role perfectly.

Agreed fully. I've also read or heard somewhere that Gleason only had this in production one year because he didn't think he could maintain the show's level of excellence beyond that. No proverbial shark jumping there.

He also apparently resisted mightily the advice to have Alice break down and cry when he yells, if memory serves. As he rightly thought -- the minute Alice is cowed or upset by his tirades, it becomes sheer spousal abuse and isn't funny. When she lets him have it right back, she punches all the wind out of Ralph's balloon, and it's humorous. I can see that thinking.
   168. Langer Monk Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4166886)
I don't care what anyone says, T.J. Hooker is hysterical.
   169. Jay Z Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4166891)
I just cannot understand all the love for Sports Night. That show was a turkey, and I really tried to watch it.

All successful shows should have something that rings true. Sorry, but I just don't think that any cable sports channel is going to be as metrosexualish or chick-showish as that show was. Only in the universe of Aaron Sorkin. I want something that rings true in some way. That show never got close to anything that I thought was true.

   170. Jay Z Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4166898)
Another weird modern development is the "clique show", where characters hang out together for years on end in a group no one can enter or exit. See Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Community. Do people really live like this? Maybe it rings true for somebody else, not for me.

Over the years there's also been a much bigger emphasis on story arcs and romantic entanglements/will they won't they. Think about a show like The Mary Tyler Moore Show. You could not do that show that way today. Mary would have to have some big romance fairly quickly, probably with someone at the station. She couldn't just date off and on the way she did on the show.
   171. JJ1986 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4166902)
She couldn't just date off and on the way she did on the show.


I have only seen half of one episode ever, but isn't Two and a Half Men just like this?
   172. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4166913)
All successful shows should have something that rings true.
What about that successful show about Bavarian cream pies? There's no truth to that.
   173. bachslunch Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4166924)
She couldn't just date off and on the way she did on the show.


I have only seen half of one episode ever, but isn't Two and a Half Men just like this?

That show's main characters actually had a mix of one-offs and longer-term relationships. Alan had a lengthy relationship with Kandi (who he later married and who subsequently divorced him), and has had several-episode arcs where he dated and briefly moved in with Melissa, his former receptionist, and Lyndsey McElroy, the mother of his son's best friend. Last I knew, he was still with Lyndsey.

And even Charlie had a fiance during the whole of one season, Chelsea Melini, plus he married and ran off to Paris with his stalker, Rose. She subsequently killed him by pushing him in front of a Metro train.

Again, I suppose I should be embarrassed for knowing this much about the show. Again, sue me.
   174. zonk Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4166926)
Another weird modern development is the "clique show", where characters hang out together for years on end in a group no one can enter or exit. See Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Community. Do people really live like this? Maybe it rings true for somebody else, not for me.


My body of friends is still by and large the same crew I graduated college with (we're now in our late 30s). People have developed alternate circles and we've added/subtracted here and there, but weekend BBQs or happy hours are still the same core group.
   175. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4166935)
At least How I Met Your Mother pointed out how extremely clingy and clique their group is.



That show is growing on me. Anyone else think it's funny too, or am I the only one?


As has been mentioned before, it's a great show for watching a lot of episodes in a row. You begin to see the multi-epsiode jokes/references start to take shape, and story line doesn't feel that disjointed at all.
I'm going to assume that the quality of the show hasn't suffered, but the fact that I only watch one episode per week (when not in reruns) instead of 3 episodes a day (like my wife and I did over a summer to catch up from seasons 1 - 4, I think) is what makes me enjoy it a little less.

Another show that I HIGHLY recommend is "Community", and it works EVEN better as all-in-a-row set.
   176. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4166946)
And even Charlie had a fiance during the whole of one season, Chelsea Melini, plus he married and ran off to Paris with his stalker, Rose. She subsequently killed him by pushing him in front of a Metro train.


Wait, what? Is that how they killed Charlie off?

Another weird modern development is the "clique show", where characters hang out together for years on end in a group no one can enter or exit. See Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Community. Do people really live like this? Maybe it rings true for somebody else, not for me.


Happy Days?
   177. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4166947)
All this talk about TV sitcom conventions and no one has submitted a link to the second greatest time-sink on the internet (behind it's grandfather, Wikipedia)?

Fine, I'll do it:

TV Tropes

   178. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4166957)
Another weird modern development is the "clique show", where characters hang out together for years on end in a group no one can enter or exit. See Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Community. Do people really live like this? Maybe it rings true for somebody else, not for me.

I think it has to do with the nuclear family being not as common as it used to be.

If those sitcoms made everyone related (and assumed they weren't having sex with each other), like brothers and sisters, or aunts/uncles/nieces/nephews, then it would be like a lot of 50s tv sitcoms.

But groups of friends are more common (or, they used to be) than having large families.

Besides, you are born into a family with no choice, but you get to choose your friends.
   179. bachslunch Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4166958)
Wait, what? Is that how they killed Charlie off?

Yes -- Rose apparently caught him showering with another woman when she returned from shopping a few days after they arrived in Paris after running off and getting married. The next day, Charlie somehow fell from a Metro platform and was struck by a speeding subway. The implication was very strong that Rose pushed him off the platform in front of the train.
   180. Lassus Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4166960)
I find the Big Bang Theory to be a better argument for suicide than Real Housewives of New Jersey.
   181. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4166964)

Just reading this thread now. I originally thought Raymond was a terrible show, completely one-note and unappealing, but part of it is that I was a teenager during its original run and could not relate to the characters at all. Now, as an adult with a wife, in-laws, and parents who live within driving distance, I find the show a bit more interesting. Still not great, but decent.

I feel like there were references to Ray being a sportswriter all the time, and they even showed him at work sometimes, but he was a columnist rather than a beat reporter. He also had a home office in the basement where he often tried to get work done.
   182. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4166969)
Another weird modern development is the "clique show", where characters hang out together for years on end in a group no one can enter or exit. See Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Community. Do people really live like this?
Well, there's the BBTF Lounge.
   183. Rants Mulliniks Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4166992)
Has held up surprisingly well. It's of course viewed through the eyes of Ralph Kramden - the audience experiences the moments with him - and Gleason played the role perfectly.


Ralph Kramden is probably my all-time favourite TV character.
   184. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4167010)
Another weird modern development is the "clique show", where characters hang out together for years on end in a group no one can enter or exit. See Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Community. Do people really live like this?

I like how It's Always Sunny directly tackles this development, by clearly demonstrating the psychological reasons that make it completely unrealistic for any of them to be able to accept a new gang member or lose a current one.
   185. Gary Truth Serum Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4167014)
All this talk about TV sitcom conventions and no one has submitted a link to the second greatest time-sink on the internet (behind it's grandfather, Wikipedia)?

Fine, I'll do it:

TV Tropes

Specifically, their "One Hour Work Week" section is extremely relevant to this discussion.
   186. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4167018)
I find the Big Bang Theory to be a better argument for suicide than Real Housewives of New Jersey.

See, I don't get this at all.

BBT is a sitcom that follows basic comedic formulas. If you don't like the formulas, no problem.

RHo(any place) is a detestable "reality" show that highlights HORRIBLE REAL PEOPLE and celebrates them.
At least "reality" game shows are putting them in contrived situations with a contest attached to it.
Other "reality" shows that glorify horrific behaviour (like "Real Housewives" or "Jersey Shore" or "Basketball Wives" or "Tiaras and Toddlers") are the ones that make me sad for humanity. They are rewarding people for being complete ########, but not in a gaming construct.
   187. zonk Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4167022)
I find the Big Bang Theory to be a better argument for suicide than Real Housewives of New Jersey.


Disagree... I think Big Bang Theory is a bit like Family Guy -- at least, in that the dialogue is heavily built around niche "hey, do you know star trek/this comic book/etc". There's a ton of cultural reference material -- just more in the nerdy niche. I do think it's a credit to the writing that despite that, people not at all up on that sort of thing enjoy the show... my exGF pretty much loathes sci-fi, but she likes Big Bang Theory more than I do, and not just for the Penny-centric stuff.
   188. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4167045)

Another weird modern development is the "clique show", where characters hang out together for years on end in a group no one can enter or exit. See Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Community. Do people really live like this?

Agreed. The "clique" show is basically like a dorm or frat-house but for adults. I missed that lifestyle and rapport for a little while after college, but eventually I stopped and also realized that it was unrealistic. Then again, maybe I just work too much. But I would never just "drop in" on someone's house or apartment and can't imagine anyone doing that to me -- chances are I wouldn't be home and they'd be waiting around outside until 10-11 p.m. when I got home from work or whatever else I had to do afterwards. It's pretty rare in general that my friends and I hang out at someone's home, and even then there is some planning involved, like when someone has a party. Part of that is we have more than 3-5 friends, and our friends married people from outside the clique (unlike what often happens on TV) -- at a certain point you just can't have that many people over without some planning. Although I suppose if there were always random people showing up at my apartment I'd keep it cleaner and have a better-stocked fridge.
   189. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4167096)
Does this mean that you haven't seen Arrested Development? Because you should remedy that as soon as possible.

You have correctly deduced that I haven't seen it. I know people -- some of whom even have good taste -- love it, so maybe I should.


I like Jason Bateman and got the first season, but, meh. It's not that good.
   190. smileyy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4167100)

I like Jason Bateman and got the first season, but, meh. It's not that good.


A more ringing endorsement I've never heard :)
   191. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4167106)
I like Jason Bateman and got the first season, but, meh. It's not that good.


For christmas one year, my girlfriends family bought the first season for her dad(don't ask me why, at the time he had never seen the show, they just thought it would be something he would like, which I find weird as his personality doesn't remotely make me think it's a show he would like...anyway) for that Christmas we ended up watching about the first four episodes and multiple people who had never watched the show(her dad, her dad's girlfriend, her sister's boyfriend) were all enjoying it tremendously, to the point that one of them asked "how come I've never seen this show?"

It's a very good show, that is very funny for most people as long as you accept the little bit of the absurdity.
   192. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4167115)
All successful shows should have something that rings true. Sorry, but I just don't think that any cable sports channel is going to be as metrosexualish or chick-showish as that show was. Only in the universe of Aaron Sorkin. I want something that rings true in some way. That show never got close to anything that I thought was true.


Yeah. Aaron Sorkin writes dialogue as if the only human beings he's ever heard were on the Broadway stage. I've never heard a single scene of his that sounds the same way that people actually talk.

I can understand why some people like his stuff, but I hate all that artifice.
   193. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4167118)
Yeah. Aaron Sorkin writes dialogue as if the only human beings he's ever heard were on the Broadway stage. I've never heard a single scene of his that sounds the same way that people actually talk.


A lot of scripts are like this. Some of it is a shorthand way to introduce the relationships between the characters. "Scott, you're my brother." But nobody talks that way. I can see why they have to do it, but I agree it's annoying.
   194. Eddo Posted: June 26, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4167131)
A lot of scripts are like this. Some of it is a shorthand way to introduce the relationships between the characters. "Scott, you're my brother." But nobody talks that way. I can see why they have to do it, but I agree it's annoying.

American Wedding (I know, high bar and all) opens with the line, "Well, we're married."
   195. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4167135)
Yeah. Aaron Sorkin writes dialogue as if the only human beings he's ever heard were on the Broadway stage. I've never heard a single scene of his that sounds the same way that people actually talk.


I love Sorkin's dialog. Nobody in Shakespeare time talked that way either, but so what?
I mean movies and tv shows go out of their way to film the characters never making mistakes(you never see a stutter, or incorrect word used in a sentence, no one ever stubs kicks an invisible turtle while walking etc. events that happen daily in real life) Why not go all out, and make the dialog a part of the entertainment, and raise it to a level beyond general discourse?

   196. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: June 26, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4167162)
Trailer Park Boys and Angel could both in a strage way be considered work place sitcoms.
   197. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 26, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4167187)
I've always thought that Sorkin had done a LOT of different movies, but it's really not as many. Of the ones he's done, I've liked all but one.
A Few Good Men - loved it
Malice - nope
The American President - one of my hidden gems, and obviously warm up for The West Wing
Charlie Wilson's War - liked it, but his 2nd worst movie
The Social Network - it made me love a movie about Facebook, fer christ's sake
Moneyball - excellent dialog

The only other writer I'll trust more than Sorkin is Joss Whedon.
   198. Greg K Posted: June 26, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4167200)
I like how It's Always Sunny directly tackles this development, by clearly demonstrating the psychological reasons that make it completely unrealistic for any of them to be able to accept a new gang member or lose a current one.

The commentary on the "Dennis and Mac Break Up" episode with some TV psychologist explores this in quite some detail. I think the "rings true" or "speaks to me" point mentioned above very much applies to me and cliquey sit-coms. I've had the same core of friends since high school. Sure we've branched out (hell, I live on a different continent) but it's still very much a tightly-knit group and whenever I'm back in Toronto (like, tomorrow for instance!) there are countless pop-ins and drop-bys. It's a pattern of friendship I've kind of continued as I have subsequent "cliques" in the places I've lived - Saskatchewan, and now one is building in Nottingham. I can't imagine having more than 4 or 5 friends at a time - or at least 4 or 5 is my max in any one location. I'm not the most social person, so I don't meet a ton of people, but the friends I do have are of the Gang at St. Paddy's type...there to be mocked and taken advantage of, but locked into a mutually reinforcing pattern of dependency forever.
   199. DA Baracus Posted: June 26, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4167205)
Well, there's the BBTF Lounge.


You shouldn't talk behind people's backs like that.
   200. Tripon Posted: June 26, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4167251)
Archer is a workplace sitcom.
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