Posted in Television

The One About The Sitcoms

I’ve only ever really watched 3 sitcom series end to end, Friends, How I Met Your Mother and Brooklyn99. The American ones are way better than the crappy British ones (looking at the overrated Inbetweeners).

Naturally Brooklyn99 is the most recent and in so many ways it has made me realise how poorly written the likes of Friends and How I Met Your Mother are. I have watched other sitcoms but none as chronologically as these.

They raised the bar, but maybe got away with it a little bit.

Now Friends needs no introduction and is probably the most iconic sitcom ever made. Whether its the best will be a matter of opinion. It certainly for me was the best until last year.

How I Met Your Mother is probably on the other end of the spectrum since its series finale. Going down as possibly one of the worst conclusions to such a good show after 9 series.

I probably stand out a lot of the time as I don’t always agree with where these shows end up.

Ross was bad for Rachel. He never supported her and was always obsessive over her, like a possession. They never really seemed like a happy couple. However Joey and Rachel seemed well matched. He was everything Ross neglected to be, but is cast aside by the writers as a sexist womanizer than can’t find happiness.

The same can be said for my opinion for How I Met Your Mother. Robin and Ted? No thanks. She was always better with Barney. They seemed to be everything Ted whined on about. I mean How I Met Your Mother has a much bigger problem than my opinion of Ted and Robin.

How I Met the Worst Ending.

How I Met Your Mother leads with its plot, it is the title. We are guided by the story of how Ted meets the Mother. We’re led to believe for the 9 years that this story would end in a tale of destiny, fate and a meant to be love story that would hold true for years.

Is it cool if I bang a stranger?

What we were served was a ‘is it cool if I go bang a stranger to you?’ story.

What really gets me about this is not just that the story doesn’t end with the ‘mother’ but that its a bit of a slap in the face.

By the time we ‘meet’ the mother (if we really do) she is killed off. Killed? Are you fucking kidding me?

But what about the Yellow Umbrella? The chance encounters that never happened at the parties and the class? All these things painting this character that we already love and can’t wait to see how it Is .

Thing is, her death isn’t that impactful. Sure there’s a moody score but who is she? She has some one liners here and there and comes across that she’s a great addition to the show. She gets less than Mikes 20 episodes in Friends but are expected to like her more.

Anyway, lets me move on from that (everyone else did).

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?

So Friends is the Good, How I Met Your Mother is the bad. Does that make Brooklyn99 the Ugly?

Oh contraire, Brooklyn99 has shown these shows up completely.

We all know about Friends. Based in the 90’s and Rachel gets of the plane to her obsessive, bad for her partner, Ross. Everyone gets a happy ending. But what did we watch for 10 seasons?

Rachel was the only character to show growth. She enters the show naive, immature and dependent. When we finish she is the opposite. She is a role model for females to beleive in yourself and have confidence to rise in your career, love can wait.

Joey is the same throughout (bar a couple of relationships). Ross is the same throughout. Chandler and Monica, well, you guessed it the same throughout. There’s no growth. There’s actually very little story for 10 seasons.

How I Met Your Mother is the same. Barney, Lily, Marshall, Robin and Ted all remain the same character throughout. Moreover they parallel their Friends counterparts. Joey and Barney, Lily and Monica etc.

How I Met Your Mother parallels Friends counterparts.

How I Met Your Mother would get credit if the series finale was a whole series. Barney a dad? Ted losing the supposedly love of his life. Lily and Marshall with a new start in the suburbs. These are moments of growth for these characters that was chosen to be wrapped up in 20 minutes.

Why is Brooklyn99 different?

So all this leads me to why is Brooklyn99 the exception to this rule.

Well we’ve had 7 seasons and we’ve seen more character growth for 6 characters than the other 10 mentioned (Rachel not included).

What we’ve seen in Brooklyn99 is the stupidest, most silly character in Jake Peralta mature to become a role model for those watching. We’ve seen Santiago face a power struggle in a male dominated industry. We’ve seen Rosa struggle with her sexual identity.

Furthermore the stories told make sense, mostly. Boyle maybe a little on the elaborate side. But in any sense this show is written to actually show us the development of these characters as we move through years of their lives.

The show tackles serious issues such as racism…

Brooklyn 99 really deserves credit for it’s approach to serious issues.

The show tackles important issues such as racism, sexual harassment, parenthood and discrimination. Not only does it tackle them, it becomes part of these characters in a way only a sitcom could be.

All in all Brooklyn99 shows a quality that is actually lacking from its predecessors. Sure maybe those before it we’re just there to give us 20 minutes of escapism but they’re also shows we probably relate to the most. Yet it’s so easy to out grow them.

What am I trying to say then? Be like Brooklyn 99. Have silliness that belongs on a children’s show. But at the same time, let the characters grow with its audience. Show them to face the issues not only in a funny way that life gives, but in a serious nature that life hits us with.


Just as a side note. I have watch The Big Bang Theory and its like a bridge. Half of it suffers from the same symptoms of Friends and How I Met Your Mother and some of it is like Brooklyn 99. It ran so Brooklyn 99 could fly.

Author:

Media grad trying to use it for, well, something...

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