Inanity

The TV Challenge Continues…

Comedies. How do you feel about sitcoms? Good, wholesome fun or saccharine inanity?

First of all, a pet peeve of mine. Some people use the word inane seemingly without being aware of its meaning. Inane has been misused to mean things like “offensive,” “irrational,” or “obvious.” The proper meaning of inane is “empty, meaningless, or pointless.”

All of which sitcoms are.

It’s been quite a while since I actually planned to sit down and watch a sitcom. Futurama was probably the last one to have that honor. As for unplanned watching, I’ve watched sitcoms in the past simply because it was time for whatever it was to come on, and it was either that or the boring drama on the other channel, or nothing. Nowadays, with time-shifting DVR technology, this is less of a constraint. I don’t have to be home at a particular hour to watch a beloved show, and I don’t have to pray that nobody calls the house during that show. (I also remember the days before voicemail.)

So does my DVR pick up any sitcoms? Yes, someone has programmed the household DVR to record South Park, Family Guy and American Dad, which are generally watched only once all more interesting material has been deleted. I find American Dad okayish, but I dislike Family Guy and have no interest in South Park.

This is not to say that I am a completely humorless sourpuss. I think it’s just that I prefer sketch comedy, comedy films, and standup routines to sitcoms. The way that writers sometimes use tricks to contrive situations for sitcom characters bothers me, and the fact that, no matter what happens, everything has to be completely resolved and put back to normal after 22 minutes really bothers me. Maybe your main character did “learn something today” during those 22 minutes, but it’s guaranteed he’ll have forgotten whatever it was by next week.

And that’s why I find sitcoms empty, meaningless, and pointless, i.e., inane.

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