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The Dire State of Sitcoms in 2024

The Dire State of Sitcoms in 2024

Anybody that really knows me, knows that I LOVE sitcoms. I always have and I always will. As a matter of fact, when I started writing scripts, I was writing sitcoms. My earliest memories are from watching sitcoms with my family on the classic ABC TGIF lineup. When ever I was home over summer break from school, I usually was on the couch watching sitcoms; The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Family Matters, Step by Step, Boy Meets World, Full House. I could go on but you get the picture. It angers me to see what has happened to this once great art form and it sadly appears that it won’t be changing any time soon. In this blog post, I’ll air out my grievances with how I feel about sitcoms nowadays.

Streaming is Killing Sitcoms

It’s common to hear that streaming has opened a lot of doors for people in the entertainment industry. While this is true, it’s also stifling the quality and success of sitcoms. Sitcoms DO NOT BELONG ON STREAMING. Traditional network sitcoms typically get 22-24 episodes for a season.

That gives the show’s writers time to develop characters and create chemistry. When sitcoms are on streaming, they’re only getting 8-10 episodes for a season. That’s not enough time to develop characters and chemistry and it also leads to story lines getting rushed.

Look no further than That 90s Show and how rushed Leia and Jay’s relationship was. Sitcoms are not your 60 minute serial shows. Therefore, they need even more time to get settled in comparison.

It’s more beneficial for writers to get feedback of episodes and write episodes around that feedback week to week as opposed to producing 10 episodes out the gate and having to write episodes based on feedback season to season.

Cutback on Comedy from 2023-2024 TV Schedule

This is very alarming. Especially when you take into consideration that Young Sheldon and Bob Hearts Abishola are entering their final seasons. CBS used to have two hours of comedy on Thursday, but in the 2022-2023 tv season, they cut it back to 1 hour.

Now they only have two comedy hours total on their entire schedule. ABC is entering the 2023-2024 TV season with an hour and a half of comedy because for some strange reason, they decided to pick up another comedy to fill the 9:30 pm slot on Wednesdays after cancelling Home Economics and The Wonder Years reboot.

I believe they’ll eventually get back to a full 2 hours of comedy but it’s a shame that they got rid of their Tuesday comedy hour after the 2021-2022 TV season. There was a time not too long ago when they had 4 hours of comedy, including 1 hour on Fridays. NBC also cut back as they used to have 1 hour of comedy on Friday and 1 hour on Tuesdays. Now it seems like they just want 1 hour of comedy on Tuesdays which leads me to my next complaint.

Pairing Adult Sitcoms with Family Sitcoms

This is a practice that should never be done and yet I’m seeing it over and over and over again. It drives me crazy and it speaks volumes about how little the powers that be at these networks care about competent and cohesive scheduling. It’s high time that someone puts these people on blast for what they’re doing.

Last season NBC paired Lopez vs. Lopez, a family sitcom, with Grand Crew, and adult sitcom. I lost brain cells trying to comprehend this scheduling. For those who aren’t privy to these shows, allow me to use older shows as examples of this kind of scheduling. This is akin to pairing Family Ties with Friends in an hour block on Fridays.

So let’s break this down even further. Friends was a sitcom that was aimed at young adults. Putting a show like that on Fridays would have hurt its success because young adults usually go out on Friday nights. They’re not at home watching TV. Even nowadays when less people are watching network TV live, it still doesn’t make sense to place a show like Grand Crew on Friday night. At the very least, you take a show like that and put it in the middle of the week and hope that it catches fire by word of mouth like Abbott Elementary did.

To make matters worse, NBC put it with a family show in Lopez vs. Lopez. I highly doubt there was any crossover audience watching Lopez vs. Lopez and Grand Crew. I think it reflected that in the rating, which lead to Grand Crew eventually getting cancelled. NBC did that show absolutely no favors whatsoever.

NBC seems to have not learned any lessons from that scheduling as this season, they’ve decided to pair Night Court with Extended Family. But wait, there’s more. Lopez vs. Lopez was also renewed and since they only have one hour of comedy, you can bet they’re also going to air Lopez vs. Lopez with Night Court because hey, why air two family sitcoms together when you can make the smarter decision of airing an adult sitcom with a family sitcom.

DEI and PC Culture Has Killed Sitcoms

Sitcoms were great when they had this one goal; make the audience laugh. It didn’t matter how it was done. All that matter was that it was done. Now sitcoms are worried about things that simply don’t matter towards that goal of making people laugh. They’re worried about filling quotas for being diverse and making sure jokes are politically correct as to not hurt people feelings. It’s pathetic and it’s killed the comedy in sitcoms.

Even the good sitcoms like Abbott Elementary aren’t as good as they could be if they were only focused on being funny and going for the kill. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll watch a Married With Children clip on YouTube, scroll through the comments and read “they can’t do this type of comedy anymore.” It’s tiresome and it must come to an end.

I don’t know what it’ll take or how to go about fighting back against this, but me writing this blog post is at least something that can help put all this out on front street to help the future of sitcoms before they’re killed off.

Writers Lack Passion for Sitcoms

I have it on good record from a buddy of mine that works in the industry that there are writers that have jobs working on sitcoms that would rather be doing something else with their time. This is a huge problem as it shows in the quality of the writing.

Their lack of passion is palpable in the show’s lifeless energy and jokes. Sadly, the industry has been taken over by writers that have been influenced by shows like Game of Thrones. Writers don’t want to write the next Seinfeld anymore. They’d much rather write the next great serial.

There needs to be a screening process before working on sitcoms. Obviously, a person who loves sitcoms should have some kind of knowledge of sitcoms from the past and would be better suited to writing on a sitcom than their counterpart who has no love for them and didn’t grow up watching them in their free time.

Conclusion: A Eulogy for the Laughs We’ve Lost

As we bid farewell to the laughter we’ve lost, it becomes imperative to address the systemic issues plaguing sitcoms. A call for industry introspection, a plea to prioritize passion in the selection of sitcom writers, and a fervent hope that the essence of sitcoms will be revitalized before they face an untimely demise. This blog post stands as a testament to the love for sitcoms, a plea for their revival, and a eulogy for the laughter we fear may be fading into oblivion.

Personal List of My Top 10 Favorite Sitcoms

1. Seinfeld

2. Family Matters

3. The Wonder Years

4. Fresh Prince

5. Married With Children

6. Martin

7. Boy Meets World

8. Cheers

9. Malcolm in The Middle

10. King of Queens