Rightly or wrongly, the perception exists among the general public that situation comedies are no longer funny. What has caused this? The programmes themselves, or are people being misled into thinking there was ever a golden age of television comedy?
'Who Killed The Sitcom?' was less of an investigation into why this perception exists, and more a lame excuse to trot out a lot of tired, unfunny clips, most of them of recent vintage, interspersed with talking head stuff from writers, comedians and television executives. The way they continue to insist there is nothing wrong with today's comedies, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, was itself amusing, reminiscent of the 'Black Knight' scene from 'Monty Python & The Holy Grail'. The only half-decent one I have seen lately has been Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker's 'Nathan Barley'. 'The Office' was held up as a shining example of the 'brilliant' stuff around now, despite it being a spoof documentary, not a sitcom.
I believe personally that sitcoms have declined - as well as being fewer in number, those we do get are mostly pitched at the same audience - teenagers. Put a couple of lads and girls in a flat and have them argue about sex for thirty minutes each week and you have a modern sitcom. It would be nice for a change to see something written by and aimed at adults. I would also love to see a show that gets laughs without relying too much on catchphrases.
Surely the fact that this programme exists at all must tell the T.V. bosses something? I don't remember there being a 'Who Killed The Sitcom?'-type programme thirty years ago. Programme makers were too busy making funny shows, not analysing what went wrong with the genre. Public taste has changed, of that there's no doubt. For the worse, alas. People have been conditioned to accept bad language and body function jokes as the norm when it comes to comedy. Put on something subtle and it goes over their heads.
So that's the sitcom dealt with. I look forward to 'Who Killed Reality T.V.?' in the not-too distant future.
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