I remember way back in the day, hearing a writer on the cartoon ‘King of the Hill’, who'd been a writer on ‘The Simpsons’ saying that on the Simpsons, is was all about how many jokes you could get in a scene…in a page…and even how many jokes you can squeeze into one line of dialogue. It served the Simpsons very, very well, and is a testament to the brilliance and hard work of the comedy writers who've worked on it over the decades.
But on King of the Hill, the writer said, there was a conscious effort to slow things down, take it easy, not be in a rush for the next joke. It worked for that show; King of the Hill would not have been right with that breakneck-speed, rapid-fire joke-type style. It might have been a great show, who knows…but it wouldn't have been the same.
Old-style sitcoms - pre-Seinfeld and pre-Simpsons - are often incredibly slow-moving in comparison to later stuff. Some of them still work. The few episodes of Family Ties and Cheers I've seen in recent years were still pretty good! Slow-moving and behind the times, sure. But the characters held up. Others I've attempted to rewatch…not so much. Painful to look at, despite the talent at work (I'm lookin' at you, Night Court!)
I think some of today's shows - mostly the big hits like Big Bang Theory - will not age well. They may be more modern, full of current references and pushing the envelope with crudeness and nastiness, but they're highly formulaic without the strong characters and undercurrent of humanity that make a great, lasting, quality show.
Or so I am musing today, anyway!
Have a good one!
Banes at 12:00AM, Aug. 15, 2019
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