Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sitcoms… no more Hahahaha!!!

The sitcom genre that the west and by that I mean the US seems to have or rather believes to have mastered, is proving to be a stale dish in new packaging. I am talking about the number of shows that the Star World feeds us as comedies, like Still Standing, Hope and Faith and According to Jim. If you have sat through the telecast of the three series without being confused about the names or expecting some other actor/actress, not part of the cast of the show, to make an appearance, then hats off to you. I on the other hand suffer from expecting Jim Belushi n Still Standing where he has no business of being. But this happens not because of fatigue rather the fault lays in the plots of all these three series and most importantly the similarity in the sitcoms.

All the three families have three kids each. The NGOs or the elements of Indian polity who are on a lookout for a cause to fight the Western influence can have a great scoop right here. The West portrays this image of happy families that have three kids encouraging Indian educated middle class to follow in their footsteps in an attempt to sabotage India’s journey towards progress and population control. That’s the most logical inference I feel that most of the critics of western media will come up with. I on the other hand have no grouse against the western media. They are the ones to have gifted the fabulous, mother of all sitcoms FRIENDS to the world. But yes the feeding of sitcoms where the two ingredients of situation and comedy are absent is something that forces me to grumble. Apart from the three kids, the coupling of the parents is contentious as well. The man is a super loser, who knows practically nothing, is confused, has irritating habits, and is lazy. The woman on the other hand is a hot babe who apparently was a fast chick in her times but wants to take all measures to control the teenage daughter. Another character common to all the series is the wife’s sister, who is desperately searching for a man, hates her brother in-law and her intelligence is challenged by the kids of the house as often as possible.

Even if I pardon the show makers of having a similar (being politically correct, though I would have liked to use the word SAME) cast how can the similar story lines be pardoned? It’s the same old story with different actors essaying the roles. The grandparents come visiting, attempt is made to find a suitable match for the weird sister-in law, the man fights with his best friend, the kids try a fast one to fool their parents get caught and are punished unfairly etc. There is no variety. And as someone wise once said variety is spice of life. This trend of sitcoms is just a way of making most of it before the last flicker of the fire of popularity of sitcoms puffs away to ashes.

The best way to illustrate the similarities in the casting of characters, the storyline and the inanity of these sitcoms is to show you some of the summaries of the plots of the shows I read while surfing the. Now I leave you to infer your own conclusions.

Still Standing
Bill and Judy Miller a toilet salesman and a dental assistant are two high school lovers who gave up their wild lifestyle to get married years ago. Now, as they creep toward middle age, they have to deal with more "everyday" things, such as their three kids: their intelligent and (to Bill's horror) still sexually-unsure son Brian; their typical drama queen daughter Lauren; and their smug, sarcastic six year old, Tina. With Judy's desperate man-hunting sister Linda, Bill's interfering mother Louise, a lesbian couple living next door and other crazy characters around, it's no wonder that Bill and Judy constantly get into strange (and oft-hilarious) misadventures as they try to prove that they're not too old to have fun. Along the way, they always end up showing that they "still" love each other, no matter what.

Hope and Faith
Hope, a down-to-earth, happily married mom of three in Cleveland, Ohio, had her tidy world up-ended by the arrival of her celebrity sister, Faith. Faith was living the high life in Hollywood as a daytime soap opera star until her soap's character, Ashley Storm, was suddenly and unceremoniously killed off on "The Sacred and the Sinful" by her evil twin. After a year under her roof wreaking occasional havoc, Hope can attest that you can kill the diva off on the daytime drama, but you can't take the drama out of the diva. The understanding husband who backs his wife in her sisterly dharma is on the verge of losing his cool and calm ever since his sister in-law who cannot stop throwing jives at him has come to stay with the family.

According to Jim
Jim is a regular suburban father. He's married to a gorgeous woman, Cheryl, and raises his three kids – Gracie, Ruby and the newborn Kyle – in a big house. Everything is perfect for Jim, if it wasn't for the messy situations he gets himself into and his laziness, which often makes him search for alternative ways of doing things with less effort. Of course, having his wife's siblings hanging out at his house all the time is no help. While Andy might be one of his best friends, Dana often teams up with Cheryl against Jim.

1 comment:

doctorgero said...

I haven't watched any of the shows mentioned in your post, except Friends, so no comments on those. But I know of a few that you'd like to watch for some "Hahahaha!!!" One is "How I met your mother" on CBS in USA. Don't know if it is on-air in India. One that is not a sitcom, but a "sex comedy" of sorts and now off-air is "Coupling". BBC, probably, sell it on DVDs. Another good show, much like 'According to Jim' but probably better, and again off-air was '8 Simple Rules' on ABC. '8 Simple Rules' starred Late John Ritter of 'Three's Company' fame.

Friends was good, but I, at times, felt that it was overrated, especially in later seasons.