Ever noticed that most, if not all sitcoms feature storylines, characters, and jokes that all follow the same formula? If you haven’t, then I really would be surprised. If you have, it shouldn’t surprise you that much, since the sitcom is the single most repetitive genre in TV history. Every cliché of character and plot development in sitcoms is part of what I call “sitcom logic”.
Despite me having seen numerous sitcom episodes over the past three years (for reasons I still don’t understand), this is something that’s actually quite hard for me to explain, because sometimes it doesn’t seem that way, but I think I can break it down.
The most glaringly obvious trait about sitcom logic is the depiction of men. According to every sitcom ever made, men are idiots. Not only is it flat out insulting, but it’s also terribly sexist. It’s not as though sitcoms treat women much better. In fact, sitcom writers always seem to make women look vacuous, self-indulgent, controlling and/or shallow, but in every sitcom, they have to get their way, or else it seems sexist. Even The Simpsons isn’t immune to this inane false logic, because in every episode where Homer and Marge have some sort of dispute, it ends with Homer and Marge getting back together under the most impossible circumstances, and with Marge always being right.
Whenever a sitcom centres around a family, it always tries to promote familialism (a.k.a. “family values”) even if they portray an unrealistically dysfunctional family. I don’t think the doctrine of familialism even has a place in this century, and yet there are still sitcoms that still have the nerve to insist that normality can only exist in the outdated patriarchal family unit, and that’s in spite of every time they portray even a shred of dysfunctionality within said family unit.
Another aspect of sitcom logic is that everyone who’s open-minded about sex is a pervert with psychological issues. In Two and a Half Men and in the newer episodes of Family Guy, the womaniser always has a psychological issue which, according to the dumbass writers, is being compensated for by chasing after pretty girls with daddy issues. Did it ever occur to people that you can be a womaniser without it being just a way to hide deep psychological issues? I guess that’s just a way of demonizing anything other than a traditional family lifestyle, because according to sitcom logic, the traditional, patriarchal family is the only acceptable lifestyle.
One thing I really hate about sitcoms is that they’re almost always from the perspective of an idiot. Are they saying it’s cool to be stupid? That’s sitcom logic, dumbing down the populace since the 1950’s. You’d be very naive if you think that sitcom logic has changed in any way. The only difference is that people’s tastes have changed, and we now have vacuous garbage like Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Modern Family and Mom, all of them tailored for an equally vacuous society. The thing they have in common is that they all embody the same awful stereotypes and sitcom logic as all the older sitcoms do.
At this point, I should probably wrap up this rant on sitcom logic. I find it baffling that it still even exists, even more so that it goes unnoticed. If sitcoms can’t survive without that lazy false logic, than I say sitcoms are doomed, and may they rest in agony.