Saturday, October 23, 2010
Television situation comedies
There was once an episode of the Simpson's where Lisa and Bart demanded of Maggie that she tell them who she loved the most. After a moment's thought, she ran and hugged the television set. Most of us baby boomers are most influenced not by our teachers and our families, but by television situation comedies. Here we learn what life is like, how people act, how to stay out of trouble, and what the world will be like when we grow up. For many of us life is a continuing series of disappointments when life turns out to be unlike situation comedies.
Here are a few examples where life is different from what we see on tv.
Work shows. In work related situation comedies, the normal staff is there every day. In real life, what with doctor's appointments, vacations, student conferences, meetings, etc. you never have more than 40% of a staff present at any one time.
In shows like How I met your Mother or Friends, the same group of people has a regular table at a bar in New York. In real life bars in Manhattan are very crowded and it's hard for anyone to get a table.
Graduate students and professors don't act like they do on the Big Bang Theory. And a cute neighbor like Penny would never hang out with them.
In television situation comedies, the principal moves into a new place and meets a neighbor. By the next episode they are fast friends. Most of us never get friendly with neighbors.
When people on television situation comedies go somewhere all the principals go together. In real life, some of the people always have dentist appointments, can't get away from work or have no money to go to the Hamptons with the gang.
Community college is a very transitory place and study groups change personnel constantly. No study group at a community college would have the same people for more than one semester. Plus no one ever mentions waiting for the student aid checks to come through, a constant at community college.
Lorelei Gilmore would never have been able to buy an inn without money from Dad.
Of course, television situation comedies give a hands on accurate portrayal of married life.