Are sitcoms a dying breed?

  • I rarely watch normal tv these days, but I was watching the BBC news at 10 and kept on the channel to be met with an unexpected delight.


    In honour of Ronnie Barker, the BBC are doing a annual comedy lecture in his honour. This first such lecture was given by Ben Elton and the subject matter was the sitcom. Specifically, the comedy sitcom, shot on multiple cameras in front of a live studio audience.


    I was never a fan of Ben Elton personally, his anti Thatcher rants were just juvenile to me, but he gave a fascinating and mature lecture on the subject and I recommend it to all. It was fumy too.


    Basically, he argued that sitcoms are a art form that must be continued, in spite of dwindling budgets by broadcasters and over the course of an an hour he gave an impassioned defence of them and why they must be continued.


    The lecture featured many clips of sitcoms over the decades and I was intending to start a similar thread on this subject anyway, so what better way to start it off.


    We've had masterpieces like Steptoe & Son, On The Buses, Porridge, Alf Garnet, Victor Meldrew, Hi de Hi etc, to the only real sitcom on the BBC today, Mrs Brown's Boys.


    As Elton argued, whether you like Mrs Browns Boy's or not, it cannot be argued that no effort has been made in producing a show like that with the aim of trying to make people laugh. Elton went on to say how a whole industry is at risk if the sitcom dies from lighting people, to sound, camera and many others who produce these shows.


    So, is Ben Elton right? Should sitcoms carry on and be restored to their once greatness, or should they be swept away for good?

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  • They are an art form in their genre and no, they should not be swept away. They are like the comics, which have made a huge comeback. An art form. Not even vaguely comparable to reality TV, which is often so repugnant as to put one off the small amount of respect one might have retained for the human race for good.


    The novel, the sitcom, film, the comic and graphic novel, poetry, art - all good. Leave them alone. The latest habit of killing off everything that has made humanity interesting and creative is being abolished by an establishment that, frankly, has some sort of death wish for western culture that will almost certainly become one for all culture and 1984 will become a reality.

    Quote

    Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.


    :|

  • Most sit coms wouldn't be allowed on our screens today. Episodes of Fools and Horses had jokes about Asians etc. and the looney PC Brigade would take offence. I expect that even Ronnie Barker's jokes aimed at Mr. McKay about the Scots would fall foul of the thought police.


    Whatever group had a little humour poked in their direction there would be uproar from the race industry or the equality industry over some perceived 'stereo typing' or other. Then of course you'd have to include a character of every sexual bent and every other race in equal proportions to avoiding giving 'offence ' to someone who's noticed that while one legged black lesbian dwarfs were portrayed, none of them were transgendered which showed the BBC was biased against them. :rolleyes:

  • We've been watching reruns of Only Fools and Horses and it's interesting to see these politically incorrect comments popping up all the time. They are what make it hilarious.


    Did anyone else like Men Behaving Badly as much as I did? I thought it was Simon Nye's little masterpiece.

  • We've been watching reruns of Only Fools and Horses and it's interesting to see these politically incorrect comments popping up all the time. They are what make it hilarious.


    Did anyone else like Men Behaving Badly as much as I did? I thought it was Simon Nye's little masterpiece.

    Loved it. We still watch old episodes on Sky Gold sometimes. I read somewhere that Neil Morrisey wanted to do some sort of revival but Clunes wouldn't have it. I don't really see how it would have worked anyway. Enjoyable as it was and still is, it was of its day as so many old sit coms are.

  • It had a wonderful attention to detail and it had a beginning, a narrative of slow transformation and an ending of reversals.


    The first episodes had a set of painted walls and decent furniture, and then, as the occupants slowly drifted down stream because they just couldn't grow up and become responsible, the flat became grubby, the walls dingy and the sofa the centerpiece of their apathy and neglect.


    But the sofa was still an icon of humour, a sort of last resort to keep something that had long since outlived its utility.


    Releasing the snake (a phallic symbol) at the end and just near the Rude Man on the hill, was the cherry on the cake of this series.


    I received the box set for my birthday a few years ago. ^^

  • Did anyone else like Men Behaving Badly as much as I did?

    Loved it! And they weren't ever bad, just a little cheeky. That show highlighted the power of a good writer in combination with good actors. No car chases, no special efforts, just two blokes on a sofa. Utter brilliance.


    I recall saying to you, that after years of looking after my Dad I was looking forward to catching up on several years of tv and expected to watch several hours a day. Do you know how much I normally watch, on a non Game of Thrones day? None. Our tv is abysmal now. No variety, nothing.


    Sitcoms take effort and this was the whole thrust of Ben Elton's argument. Although he didn't mention reality shows, I am sure he had them in mind. Attach tv cameras to policemen, or ambulance drivers or men going down the sewers.... and you have cheap tv a plentiful.

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