Monday, September 24, 2012

Zazzles is a Kick-Ass Cat Name

The sitcom is nearly a lost art these days. Or maybe it is that television comedy has "evolved" into a new species. According to the Wiki, sitcoms evolved from variety sketch comedy shows, the identifying trait being that sitcoms maintained a regular cast of characters and setting, and employed "running" jokes.

One of the only true sitcoms I watch anymore is The Big Bang Theory (aka TBBT). From the first notes of its Barenaked Ladies theme song ...

... to the final punchline of its stinger scene, the geniuses of Pasadena never fail to entertain. And for a show that began with a central foursome of men, Bill Prady and his dauntless team have created some fabulous female characters to balance the gendering of the show.

A running joke in TBBT is that when someone is sick, according to Dr. Sheldon Cooper, they get to have "Soft Kitty" sung to them like his MeeMaw did when he was young. My friend Lesley found this t-shirt for me on ThinkGeek (see, everyone I know shops there eventually) and it's one of my favourite shirts to wear to bed or on a do-nothing-feeling-sick-read-a-book-or-hope-for-a-TBBT-marathon day. Today was the first day of the first "Spirit Week" of the school year - PJ Day. Since I rode transit to work today, I split the difference and wore this as a salute to sleep shirts.

What I left at home, silent and deadly, on its shelf with my other talking toys, is my singing Soft Kitty Doll. Press its paw and you are immediately regaled by a full volume, slightly off-tune, low-quality recording of Kaley Cuoco's Penny singing the lullaby. Merchandising, thy will be done...

So, reader participation time! Topic: SITCOMS

What qualifies as a sitcom in this day and age of television? What criteria, if any, would you set? Does it have to have a "live studio audience"? A catchy theme song? A token ethnic minority? Does it have to be funny? endearing? moral? surreal? What is your favourite sitcom memory? Mine is probably watching "Three's Company" with my mom. And I'll argue that the most brilliant season finale ever was Newhart which managed to create a running joke between TWO completely different sitcoms, from totally different decades. Any takers on that debate? And while we're on this generalist topic? Does M*A*S*H count as a sitcom? or Modern Family even (that one hour format eliminates it for me)? Where are the parameters today?