Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #961: Life As A Sitcom

Sitcoms are really big on TV right now, and the networks are looking for "real life" for inspiration. Too bad they're looking within Hollywood for that inspiration.

One project at ABC is based on the teen years of super-model and TV host Tyra Banks, while NBC is developing a sitcom based upon celebrity dresser Rachel Zoe.

I think this calls for a look at the PROS AND CONS!!


1. Tyra Banks is famous and her reality show America's Top Model has run for a long time on the CW network.

2. Rachel Zoe is sort of famous for dressing famous women who are infamously skinny. Plus she had a reality that ran on the Bravo channel for 4 seasons, which means that gay men know who she is too.


1. Sitcoms "based" on or inspired by the lives of real people tend to only work if that real person is a comedian. That's because a comedian is someone who is willing to look both normal and ridiculous.
Normal in the way that their lives as presented as being decidedly non-glamorous, and ridiculous in the way that their "character" is frequently and regularly put square in the middle of embarrassing, outrageous, and silly situations that are usually fueled by some sort of character flaw.

I don't really seeing them go that way with these shows. The subjects must be made to look good and glamorous and right all the time, which does not make a good sitcom. Sitcoms are based on bad decisions.

2. For the most part the audience doesn't give a flying fiddler's fudge about shows set in, around, or about Hollywood or celebrities. Shows like that tend to do better on cable where smaller audiences are more acceptable. 

One rare instance where such a "Hollywood" show works with both critics and audiences is Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. That's because Hollywood's role in the series isn't as some sort of model lifestyle, but a place full of rich yet extremely neurotic and touchy people. The fact that everyone takes everything so seriously, especially when the topic of all the ire is trivial and nonsensical. 

I don't see the shows going in that direction, because unlike Larry David, the people setting themselves up as the foundation for the shows are not comedians. Larry David's character, despite his success, is still basically an outsider, unable to fit in with the "beautiful people" around him.

The two shows being set up by ABC and NBC are about those "beautiful people," and I don't think you can milk much comedy from that.

My money is that these shows will either fizzle out in development, or have extremely short runs.

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