Month ago, I read an article by Neil Swidey of the Boston Globe on his introduction of the Brady Bunch and other classic 60’s sitcoms to his young daughters. Their impression of sexist dialogue was interesting, and it got me thinking again about the state of today’s sitcoms.
At the risk of offending some readers, with few exceptions, I think today’s sitcoms are crap. For every great show like “Modern Family”, there’s “Jesse” or “A.N.T. Farm”, and I could name many, many more. How did we get from “Must See TV” on NBC Thursday nights (Cosby Show [before we learned "The Cos" was a rapist], Night Court, Cheers and Wings, throw in Seinfeld and Frasier for good measure), or a strong CBS Monday night in the early 1990s (Designing Women, Evening Shade, Murphy Brown) to “Must Avoid TV” like “Two Broke Girls” where every joke is about the size of the girls’ equipment, or their bosses’? Why, why, why the proliferation of such garbage?
500 channels on satellite or cable certainly do not help. Those stations are on air, paying broadcast and transmission fees, so they have to fill their airwaves with something, so anyone with a half-baked idea for a sitcom can push their ideas to someone. In the past, with so few channels, the networks and production companies had the luxury of cherry-picking the best of the best. Now, with so many shows, networks, production companies, etc…any person with a sharp enough pencil can get a show.
Even the semi-mainstream cable channels like Nickelodeon or Disney put on quite a bit of junk. Check out the aforementioned “A.N.T. Farm” or “Austin & Ally”, “Jessie” or an oldie but a goodie…”Zoey 101”.