In yet another article about the networks’ attempts to resurrect comedy, I didn’t read anything that gave me much hope that they’ve learned anything yet. There’s a reference to how Desperate Housewives is the most successful comedy is recent memory, which is rather irritating. Though I like the show, it’s not a pure comedy. It’s simply been placed there by execs because of award show competition (another reason why award shows are idiotic).
One thing that is worth modeling from dramas and reality shows is the idea of consequence, which is something few comedies have. I think network comedies biggest problem is that the characters are never affected by what happens to them on the show. They shrug off insults and embarrassments in as unrealistic manner as action heroes shrug off bullets. Perhaps more unrealistic.
I think the notion that we watch comedy for escapism can be very true. But this has traditionally been translated as likable characters who resolve their problems within a half hour. But as reality TV has shown, seeing unlikable people continue to be angry for insults both real and imagined is highly entertaining and very escapist. Constructing comedy with Omorosa-style villains might be exactly what works now.