I implore you, I use the word sitcom incredibly loosely. With that out of the way, time to address the drivel developed by Nickelodeon and Disney in a sadly successful attempt to appeal to immature teenage minds. Each show, I suppose, has its own “premise”, but they boil down to about the same basic elements:
- Laugh Track – Every couple of seconds, canned laughter is added in to each scene through the magic of post-production. This is probably because there’s no way an audience would want to sit through an entire episode in a studio. There is a reason that none of these shows have had a “Live” episode yet.
- All Parents Are Idiots – Done to appeal to the viewer’s sense of disagreement with the values of their upbringing, and also a comedic convenience. Parent characters in these shows seem to lack basic common sense, which would have easily developed long before in their character’s life.
- Unrealistic Protagonists – Before you jump all over me and say that “Well, you know, Superman is an unrealistic protagonist, too” or some kind of backwards logic, let me explain a bit. The protagonists usually get involved in situations where, in the real world, they’d be dealt with by common sense (which is missing) or by people in power. Instead, the shows lend themselves to having the protagonists having a perfect idea at the right time so everything turns out okay. Usually, there are no loose ends by the end of the episode’s 22 minutes.
- Paper-thin Plots – Tween does something they’re not supposed to do thanks to parent’s idiocy, hilarity ensues, problem is solved by end of show. Repeat until canceled or booted by similar, differently themed show with same elements.
- Marketing – Oh, yes. Hannah Montana is the biggest offender, thanks to Miley Cyrus. Concerts, apparel, the growing misconception (and bad joke) that Montana’s capital is Hannah…all borne from a TV show. In fact, people died due to this. Well, okay, just the tour bus driver, but, still. Sickening. Fortunately, Miley Cyrus has recently been voted as one of the worst current celebrity role models, and that warms my heart a little.
- Crossover Specials – Some contrived plot that makes all the characters meet up is set in motion, they have some experience based upon the aforementioned elements which is still wrapped up by the end of the special time slot, and the characters never mention the experience again. The magic of television.
Did I mention how there may only be 20 or so episodes of the series, yet they get played constantly, in marathons, and can be the same from day to day? Yeah, unless you have a misguided devotion, you gain nothing from multiple re-watchings so closely to one another.
I hope I’ve been able to aid you aspiring TV producers on to an easy gold mine. Good luck with your endeavors, but I won’t be watching your shows.
Let Tween Sitcoms Die
Photo Credits: Here