Sitcom Law

[Spoilers ahead]

Q: What’s the number one rule of a sitcom?

A: The characters don’t change.

Take The Office (British version). Ricky Gervais put the nail in the show’s coffin by having his character become tolerable.The American version on the other hand is still plodding steadily into the future on the back of Michael being zany… over and over.

So how does The Big Bang Theory handle this? The Leonard and Penny romance was only ever going to work if either of the following was to happen. 1) Leonard became normal or 2) Penny became severely nerdy. This has been solved by having them sleep together anyway and ignore any of the logic that would make this possible. I think it helps that the audience are more interested in what Sheldon will say next rather than any other aspect of the show. The romance is almost inconsequential and certainly the least engaging aspect of the show. But then Big Bang Theory has always played free and loose with its “plot”, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

The question then becomes: How long can the show continue to run on the back of Sheldon’s “issues”?

7 thoughts on “Sitcom Law

  1. Dave Rayment says:

    Gervais and Merchant judged it perfectly imo. The delightful tension in the final show wouldn’t have been half as effective if you didn’t sympathise with Brent. And he was never just a cock you couldn’t care about. At the very end, you wanted him to just not fuck it up for once, so he’d get the girl and be happy.

    As for other shows, the reason why Friends messed up was because the protagonists changed too much (and got hooked up, too). Watching re-runs of the first season shows how tight the writing was, too. Such a shame things went downhill…

    And there’s a reason why “jumping the shark” is common parlance for when a show tries too hard to move forward… 😉

    In other news, Family Guy S8 E1 is great. The Cleveland Show S1 E1 is pretty poor 🙁

  2. Sam says:

    Jumping the shark is from Happy Days when the Fonz literally did jump a shark. It just means the show goes beyond what is believable and into the ridiculous. I don’t think the American Office did that. I just think they should seriously think about wrapping it up at the end of the current season.

  3. Dave Rayment says:

    One of the jumping the shark categories (I think there are 18 or so) is when two leads get together, which is why I thought it relevant. Possibly most famously, Moonlighting did this and promptly ruined the show forever. Sorry, I wasn’t trying to suggest that the American Office was past its prime – I have yet to see it, but I think Steve Carrell is excellent, so I must catch it at some point.

  4. Sam says:

    Aha! I didn’t realise there were different categories. My education continues daily! 🙂

    You can pick up pretty much any episode and find it funny. The storylines aren’t exactly epic. I’d try the double length episodes, especially the fun-run one from the start of season four. So far as I remember, there’s only ever been one episode that re-created the discomfort of the British show.

  5. penny is just so adorable in the big bang theory’~~

  6. i just thought that Lenard is the funniest guy in Big Bang Theory:’*

  7. The Big Bang Theory, for me, is the best nerd-chick comedy out there, i wish that this tv series runs longer*,`

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