The situation occurring with new TV sitcoms


Colin Donahue

How have we gone from the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to “the Big Bang Theory?”
Let’s examine a massive genre in American television that has so much revenue in its basis. Situational comedies have changed drastically throughout the history of television, starting with shows like “Family Matters” and “Full House”. These charming comedies displayed dysfunctional families in the ’80s and ’90s, resembling many American families in the time period, further contributing to their major success. Now, I have problems with a multitude of current sitcoms. Some of them, however, have successfully found their comedy and narrative style niche. Shows like “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Family Guy” have mastered their art and know what their audience wants and how to attract new viewers.
Shows that have crafted their distinctive comedy have a clear advantage over most sitcoms in the current TV market and that is the writing. The writers of these shows, like Rob McElhenney and Seth McFarlane, are some of the best on the planet at their craft and this is no small feat. These writers are constantly exploring new avenues to keep their shows fresh and funny year after year, whether it be with new characters, locations, or rapidly changing character stories, the shows continue to thrive.
Now the issues – and there are a lot of them. CBS, NBC, and ABC all have their own sitcoms and, remarkably, they all end up being the same show. Now, not literally the same,  but the plotlines and a majority of the jokes used in the show are tired and unoriginal, not to mention unfunny.
There is hope, however, that new comedy shows will actually be funny and refreshing. Certain shows are showing promise just like those that have succeeded in the past. Netflix has done an excellent job in this respect. Shows like Bojack Horseman and F is for Family are both funny animated, which adds another layer of originality to these Netflix shows.
Without a doubt, there is hope for sitcoms in the future, but there is also work to be done to find what is and isn’t funny.