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Yearning for TV Funny

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I hunger for sitcoms. There was a time that wasn't the case. There was a time when I hungered for more dramas, but that time has passed. It was back in the day, you know, when comedies were an 8-10 pm staple and dramas mostly limited to the 10 to 11 hour. Now that dramas are on almost all the time and comedies relegated to just a couple of nights a week, it doesn't matter how many comedies I watch, I still find myself with a hankering for more.

Maybe I'm looking at it all backwards though. Maybe the reason that I keep hankering for more comedies is not because there are so few on, but because the few that are on are of higher quality than the ones from back in the day. Never mind, I take this whole paragraph back, I'm talking about a time when Cheers, Friends, Growing Pains, and Seinfeld were on.

How about this then — it's the fact that a higher percentage of the comedies on today are good? No… that can't be it either. CBS and NBC combined air a fair number of unfunny comedies Photo Credit: ABC/Danny Feldmixed in with their funny ones.

Let's forget all the possible reasons that I hunger for more comedies. Let's just accept the fact that I do. I say that mostly because I do, I do hunger for them.

There I was last night sitting in front of my TV (and by "TV" I mean streaming HAVA video player, but that's not relevant), watching The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougar Town, and just thinking to myself, "Oh goodness, how excited would I be if I could watch three funny comedies every single night." I answered myself, "Oh, you'd be excited, very, very excited." I then responded, "Yes, yes I believe I would." The conversation went on a while longer, but it's probably losing some of its gusto now, so I'm going to stop reciting it.

In any case, there were 90 minutes of funny on television last night. It's all a shame that it has to start at 8:30, but I've got my fingers crossed for ABC to work out what they're going to air at 8pm pretty soon. I don't know if it's the lack of comedies currently airing, but ABC was actually able to get stars, film stars, to guest on Modern Family. Ed Norton was on (Elizabeth Banks too, and Alan Ruck was on Cougar Town). Photo Credit: ABC/Danny FeldNorton was in serious costume last night complete with a terrible wig, but it was definitely him, and, he was funny.

The best comedy storyline of the night though, hands down, goes to Travis (Jules' son) on Cougar Town. He pretended to come out to their next door neighbor Grayson. Travis kept him there for hours with Jules out of town, just to mess with him. In Travis' lie it was the first time he'd ever come out and so Grayson felt obligated to spend hours there. I don't want to say that "you had to be there" to find it funny, but perhaps you do have to know Travis and Grayson. Travis is the smart-alecky, dry-witted teenager type, and Grayson is the middle-aged male divorcee who sleeps with all the college-aged women he can. That is to say, Grayson had it coming, and who better to give it to him than Travis. Poor Grayson, he was just trying to help out the kid he was supposed to be looking in on while Travis' mom was out of town, and he ended up getting jerked around for hours. Good times.

I could go on, I could tell you all about the news promo during Cougar Town last night. It explained how the mall Santa Clauses want priority for swine flu vaccine, but I think the point about there being funny and my hungering for it has already been made abundantly clear.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    so far, the middle has made me laugh more than the others. when that little kid (brick?) whispers a word from the end of his last sentence into his shirt, it just slays me. (slays me)

    that’s not to say that i don’t like the other shows because i do. happy to have some decent comedy on the tube for a change.