Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shitcoms.

I’m not running this week. So I’m not posting about running. I’m being all tangential. (+3)

That’s right. There’s a period at the end on purpose. Shitcoms are definitive. You either are or you aren’t. No middle ground here.

As the name implies, it covers any crappy, poor quality, laugh track filled sitcom. And if one of your cast was on another, infinitely more successful show, yours is the career killing shitcom for that actor (see Jason Alexander, “George” from Seinfeld and subsequent shitcom, Bob Patterson – forgot about that, didn’t you?). I’m sure this word has been around for awhile but I was first exposed recently by watching the hilarious Extras (HBO) season 2. Extras is definitely not a shitcom.

The networks birth more and more vapid shows onto the airwaves each season. I don’t know what the success rate is but I would guess there is a 10:1 shitcom ratio going on here. Its pretty easy to identify the quality shows versus the shitcoms. They jump right out at you. Even a terrible, utterly unredeeming shitcom can last on the air for YEARS before anyone notices and puts us out of our misery. How else do you explain How I Met Your Mother. In what world is Doogie Howser a playboy Lothario? Next, Saved By the Bell’s Screech is going to try and pass himself off as a tough guy. That would be one sign of the apocalypse.

My original intention was to publish a list of the worst shitcoms. Quickly, I realized this would take weeks to compile. You can’t rate shitcoms against each other. Once they fall into that bin, they all carry the same ranking. It’s futile to differentiate. I had this whole rating system worked up where I was going to categorize the worst shitcoms based on how they make me feel watching them. Something like:

(5) Makes me what to punch somebody
(4) Makes me want to punch self.
(3) Makes me want to eat California Tortilla again and puke for distraction
(2) Please induce coma
(1) Would rather watch a ventriloquist


But a true shitcom coerces all of the above emotions.

And there’s no end to the candidates. Do I qualify it and say it had to have been on the air for a certain number of years first to qualify, like shitcom Just Shoot Me? Or you had to occupy a prime Thursday evening time slot and fail miserably, like shitcom Veronica’s Closet?

There was just to many kinks to work out. And way too many terrible shows to review.

So, I thought I’d present my list of QUALITY sitcoms that actually DESERVE to be watched. I have a bit of a warped sense of humor if you haven’t picked that up by now so maybe these won’t appeal to you all. However, here are some decidedly non-shitcom sitcoms:

The Office (BBC version)

It lasted only 2 seasons with an hour long finale. This was a GREAT show. It has spawned the NBC Steve Carell version which is also funny but cannot hold a candle to the original. If you like the American version, check out the BBC version. Warning: Give it 2 episodes as the English accents are a bit thick at first until the ears adjust.

Extras (BBC/HBO)

From the same folks that brought you the BBC’s The Office. Not quite as good but funny stuff. Again, it lasted only two seasons with a finale. Quality writing.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (F/X)

This is a low budget comedy about a group of young bar owners in Philly. Danny Devito joined in season 2 to try and give the show some mainstream recognition. I don’t know what the status is for this year. It usually airs over the summer on F/X. The writing is uneven but when they hit a ticklish spot you laugh your ass off.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

This show gets the most extreme reaction of any I mention. Folks either “love it” or “hate it”. If you liked the wit of Seinfeld in a more frenetic, less structured, non-laugh track environment, you should love Curb. It’s from the main writer and creator of Seinfeld who stars as himself. You need to give this one 3-4 episodes to pick up the unstructured flow.

OZ (HBO)

Just seeing if you are paying attention. OZ is not funny. Nor a sitcom. It features anal rape, Nazi’s, drugs, and violence. It did give us the word “prag” which I used in a previous post. I find that word funny but probably not enough to qualify it as a sitcom.

Hit me in the comments with your favorite sitcoms. I’m sure there’s more out there. Don’t be afraid to make a suggestion. Sure, other folks will feast on you like sharks in a feeding frenzy in the comments. You can always return though and laugh at the poor schmuck who suggested Mr. Belvedere.

Happy shitcoming! (Two 'm's or one? This apparently isn't an actual verb based off the little squiggly line I get under it.)

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Perhaps I should now google “anal rape” and Feet Meet Street. I fear I’ve intertwined these items across the net. I'm not going to do it though for fear of what may come up. Probably Vanilla's site. You do it and report back.
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Check out:

The Running Laminator takes an indignant tone towards bandidos.
Vanilla takes a pot shot at me while wearing and reviewing some sort of space age moon boot.
NWGDC shamefully solicits donations to buy him running gear.
Everyone stop by Eric's home to congratulate him on a PR in the half marathon.

23 comments:

Sarah said...

I'd like to throw in my support for 30 Rock, Scrubs, The Office (Americanized version), and Weeds (Showtime). Those are the only half-hour "comedy" shows I watch. None of them have laugh tracks (thank God).

My most favorite TV moment of all time in my entire life came on an episode of The Office when Jim came in dressed up like Dwight. "Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica." I laughed so hard I think I wet myself.

You are 100% correct in referring to 21st century situation comedies as "shitcoms." Since Seinfeld ended they all suck ass.

Marcy said...

The Screech show would not surprise me. Seems the next logical step for him, since his last venture was a porn movie :-X

I *heart* Oz. That show was killer!

Never saw or even heard of Extras. I'll have to look on HBO on Demand (if they even have it :-/).

Kristina Pinto said...

Ab-Fab got me through the first 6 weeks of new baby hell. Then I ran out of episodes :( Now I just drink to deal with having a child. And I read blogs.

Triseverance said...

Ok I just need to comment on this one. I dono't have HBO so those sitcoms listed mean nothing to me. But I have seen Curb your Enthusiasm and I love that show. That being said I would like to break offer the following. While I do not make time to watch a sitcom I will watch and generally be amused and entertained by the following sitcoms that are presently on TV.

The Simpsons (yep that is a sitcom)
Scrubs
The King of Queens (I think that is still in production)

I will and do watch in Sindication
Seinfeld (every night at 10)
That 70's Show

Ovens2Betsy said...

Another vote for The Office (although I agree the BBC version was better). I didn't get into Arrested Development while it was till on TV, but caught up with all the episodes via Netflix. That was one funny show.

And speaking of Arrested Development AND Oz, have you seen Juno? Michael Cera and Jason Batement from AD, but also Shillinger from Oz. Definitely a redeeming role for that actor!

Crabby McSlacker said...

Great topic for avoiding exercise!

I'd have to say Ab Fab, Weeds (Ok, it's a Sitcom plus a soap), My Name is Earl, Seinfeld, the old Dick Van Dyke show, Will & Grace (some of the time) and a bunch of others I'm forgetting at the moment.

But most of what's out there sucks.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Dude,
way
too
much
time
on
your
hands.
Please
run
soon.

AddictedToEndorphins said...

Hahah I don't even know what to make of this, I don't watch that much TV.
I agree with Nancy, you need to get all that internal energy out in some way. I'll let you figure out how.
Hahaha!

Vanilla said...

I don't think I've seen any of the shows that you mentioned, unless I can count The Office (US Version).

I'm with ovens2betsy, Arrested Development was one of my favorite shows.

Lily on the Road said...

Sorry, I'm with Nancy!!!

Get your butt out running and pass that remote back to Mrs. Nitmos!!!

LMAO!!!

L*I*S*A said...

Um, your diatribe (bonus word score, please) has me worried. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to add Burn Notice and Deadliest Catch to the non-shitcom list.

MizFit said...

Im in for 30 rock AND the new adventures of old christine.

I LOVELOVE Julia.

love.

she shall play me in the Lifetime movie.

MizFit

KimsRunning said...

I don't watch much tv, but Mike Rowe R-O-C-K-S! I'd watch him do anything. I also love "Everybody Loves Raymond".

I, for one, would like to know when you started running, why and what's your favorite part of running. What was your worst injury? What's the next thing for you since finishing Boston? Tell me some of that stuff Nitmos. I wanna knowwwwwwwwwww.

Oh, and Jimmy Hoffa is out there with Whitey Bulger having a pina colada!

tange said...

Nitmos,

When is your next trip to California Tortilla? If you know California Tortilla is gunna make you puke, you will avaoid it. Since 90% of sitcoms are crap, turn the TV off and finish reading the last 600 pages of Don Quiote.

Then pick up Moby Dick, War and Peace and the complete works of Willy Shakespeare.

By then, perhaps sitcoms won't suck or you could just buy each season of "Alf" on DVD, now that's good entertainment. Next step is to get all 200 DVD's of Looney Tunes, when ever I watch that show and see the Coyote and Road runner, I think of you and Dick Beardsley's ghost.

-tange

p.s. Dick has a message for you, "beep! beep!"

Marathon Maritza said...

YES! I cannot sing the praises of The Office (BBC) enough! And of course, Extras was brilliant.

The only thing missing from your list was The Sopranos...hell-O!

RazZDoodle said...

I have to concur with ALL of your choices for best shows. Eerie. I'd add Family Guy to the mix.

MissAllycat said...

I dig your list - looks like we have similar tastes.

You should check out Flight of the Conchords. Good stuff.

From the Conchords song "Part-Time Model":
Looking 'round the room
I can tell that you
Are the most beautiful girl
In the room.
...
You're so beautiful
You could be a part-time model
But you'd probably still have to keep your normal job

Okay, so it's not so funny in print. But seriously, you should check it out.

e said...

I, too, am a "30 Rock" and "Weeds" fan. But, may I also throw in "Entourage" as a non-shitcom?

Xenia said...

I'm a fan of Vicar of Dibley (UK comedy) and Scrubs, but mostly the earlier seasons--the last two have been rather 'eh'.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

The New Adventures of Old Christine makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs...feel free to put that one on the list since like a vampire, it seams really hard to kill.

Just not a lot of good comedy these days.

sRod said...

Eh, I don't watch much TV so I'll have to take your word for this.

The Laminator said...

I'm with sRod on this one. Apparently I'm too busy blog-chasing down Boston bandits to watch any good television.

Em said...

Ab Fab and the Office for me (UK version, as I've sadly never seen the US version)