There was this brief moment in time when a few brave sitcoms were able to come up with plots that did not involve teaching its viewers a lesson. I am thinking of SEINFELD, FRIENDS, FRASER, THE OFFICE (early on) and a few others. The writing can be good, clever, funny without a huge lesson being learned and summed up countless times. Now that idea is gone and every sitcom is full of lessons. MODERN FAMILY has a lesson for every character in every episode. I watched THE NEIGHBORS the other night because a critic told me it had really improved, but it was just one big lesson set to music. Ugh. THE NEW NORMAL and THE MIDDLE are chock full of life advice too. PARKS AND RECREATION is one big morality play. So I really don't watch sitcoms anymore. Some of them are funny, but I don't need TV to teach me how to be good. To me, it is lazy writing.
What do you think? Any comedies out there that avoid this trap?
HUNGER, Roxane Gay THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER, Karen Dionne LOVING DAY, Mat Johnson THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS, Michael Robotham HILLBILLY ELEGY, J.D. Vance SUNBURN, Laura Lippman
Patricia Abbott is the author of more than 125 stories that have appeared online, in print journals and in various anthologies. She is the author of two print novels CONCRETE ANGEL (2015) and SHOT IN DETROIT (2016)(Polis Books). CONCRETE ANGEL was nominated for an Anthony and Macavity Award in 2016. SHOT IN DETROIT was nominated for an Edgar Award and an Anthony Award in 2017. A collection of her stories I BRING SORROW AND OTHER STORIES OF TRANSGRESSION will appear in 2018.