Idiot Plot Discussions

Idiocy in Sitcoms

August 15, 2017

Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to watch much television. I overcompensated for that in grad school where I binged and watched several hours a night. Mostly, it was to have noise in an otherwise silent and lonely apartment.

In the process, I watched a lot of sitcoms both in syndication and freshly aired. Friends, Night Court, Cheers, Fraser, and a bunch of others made the regular rotation. Sometimes I caught other shows like Three’s Company. Eventually, I got fed up because of a common comedy plot.

The plot is simple. An event happens that will upset Character A. So characters B and C concoct some story or plan to keep the information about the event from Character A. Shenanigans and hilarity ensue. At the end of the episode, Character A finds out anyway and usually forgives Characters B and C.

For example, Character B is walking Character A’s dog, and the dog gets off the leash and runs away. Characters B and C conspire to hide this information from Character A while they look for the dog. The hilarity is how Character A keeps almost finding out and how finding the dog gets more ridiculous and more ridiculous as the episode continues.

But this is not how the world works. Most people I know would be far angrier upon learning that Characters B and C were trying to hide the truth than if they had just owned up to it immediately. That’s what adults do–take responsibility.

However, if the characters did that, there would be no “hilarity ensues.” The entire plot collapses if Characters B and C aren’t idiots.

Needless to say, I don’t watch a lot of sitcoms these days.

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