Thursday, February 09, 2006

On A Completely Different Note

For any regular readers I'm curious to know what people think are the funniest television shows ever. Now this isn't confined to traditional half-hour sitcoms, although I can't think of any hour long shows I would nominate for funniest ever. (And for now, let's exclude sketch comedy, which is fundamentally different from traditional tv- We'll also exclude the O'Reilly Factor, no matter how much fun it is to laugh at Bill O'Reilly.)

Besides the obvious nominees of Seinfeld and the Simpsons from this generation, or there any others that should be considered on that level? Popping in to my head is South Park, Curb Your Enthusiam, and Arrested Development. I'm purposely leaving out shows such as Friends- Yes it was a great sitcom, but it was never anything more than that. I can think of numerous funny older shows, but none of them seem to pass the level of a Friends (perhaps because of the simplicity, at first, of the medium of television.)

The other question I would ask is what sort of funny show makes for a better funny show? Family Guy is funny, but it's approach makes me think of 50 different Farside cartoons thrown in to a half-hour show. (In other words, there are more memorable jokes from Family Guy than there are memorable episodes themselves.) Every show on my list (perhaps excluding the Simpsons, which at least for it's first decade or so was delightfully satiric) takes more of the building approach- That is, what's funny is even funnier because of the way the jokes and the situations build upon each other.

One final question would be, is the traditional sitcom dead? I would answer with a whole-hearted yes.


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