There’s a new sitcom archetype. Though it has roots in classic television, this specific characterization has become especially prevalent in the last decade or so. I will call characters that fit this archetype “Zoidbergs,” after the alien coworker from Futurama. Futurama was far from the first or only show to utilize this type of personality, but Dr. John Zoidberg is particularly distinct — an incompetent and penniless lobster doctor — which makes him emblematic in a helpful way. So, Zoidberg it is.
What exactly do I mean by a Zoidberg? Essentially, it’s a loser, but it goes further than that. To begin, it might be useful to define what a [...]
Welcome to our column Sketch Anatomy, where we ask some of our favorite television writers to choose any sketch — one they personally wrote or one from history they find particularly hilarious, notable, or underappreciated — to learn from a writer's perspective what separates a successful sketch from the rest.
For this week's Sketch Anatomy, we're breaking the rules a little to go behind the scenes of a classic '90s sitcom episode with Andy Cowan, former writer for Cheers and 3rd Rock from the Sun and the mind behind the acclaimed 1994 Seinfeld episode "The Opposite." Ranked at #1 in our own list of every Seinfeld episode, [...]
"Laughter is such a strong spice, it’s hard to taste anything else. If you write something funny enough, you can get away with murder."
– Former Seinfeld writer/producer Peter Mehlman wrote a piece for this month's Reader's Digest Magazine called "How to Write a TV Show," and it's full of Seinfeld anecdotes and great advice for aspiring comedy writers.
The big TV networks are continuing to buy new shows to develop for the 2014-15 TV season, and NBC just purchased a pair of comedies from two well-known actors: Justin Long and Meg Ryan.
Justin Long's untitled sitcom is being written by him, his younger brother Christian Long, and The Office writer Graham Wagner, Deadline reports. Long hasn't officially signed on to star, but he's expected to play the lead character: a guy in his early 30s who's dating a woman 10 years older than him while dealing with everyone else's judgment about their relationship and helping the woman raise her teenage kid.
Meg Ryan's show, which she will [...]