Yet Another "stupid things about sitcoms" Thread

Forgive me if this was included in that lengthy one about TV cliches…but this was brought on by watching one too many episodes of Geena Davis:

Nobody on a sitcom has a real job in a real office. They’re all caterers, or public relations officers, or fashion designers, and work in funky converted lofts and warehouses.
Only 3 or 4 co-workers will ever be seen; at least one of whom will be such a moron with so few discernible skills that s/he would’ve been fired within moments in Real Life.

My explanation for this is two-fold: Real Life is boring. And sitcom writers have never held a real job, so they don’t know how to write about it. Which is one of the things I loved about the movie Office Space–they pretty much nailed the working world environment.

I must point out that Chandler in Friends works in an office, as does George in Seinfeld (admittedly at the Yankees stadium)…

I thought of Chandler; they actually do a fairly good job with him and the WEENUS. To call Yankee Stadium an office is a bit of a stretch…

Surprised no one has mentioned Drew Carey; he works in an office, and many scenes are set there. Going back aways, didn’t the original Bob Newhart Show feature Bob working in an office as a psychiatrist? Not to mention Dilbert, although that show is animated.

Elaine from Seinfeld also works in an office.

And I don’t think anyone would deny that Newman has a fairly average-Joe job. Same with Rachel from friends.

Lois from Malcom in the Middle has a less than average job. And there are no obvious idiots on the show.

The kinda dorky guy she works with that has a crush on her is kinda an obvious idiot.

I watch too much Aminal Planet to contribute here.

The question isn’t, “Do they work in offices?” the queston is, “Do you ever see them actually working for any length of time?” If so, there’s only that brief time when they’re sitting in their chair bent over papers then they raise their head when the door is openened/someone is standing in front of their desk/or the phone rings. I’m thinking of Murphy Brown here more than anything (yes, I know it’s been cancelled for a few years, but I watch a lot of reruns).

Or take the show Taxi. When did we ever see them really work? The only one who really worked was Latka, but even he was interuppted. They mostly sat around the little table.


Anake (changed user name)

This is a feminist view on sit-coms, but most women (if they even work) have typically girly jobs.

 Janet- Florist
 Chrissy- Dinky little secretarial jobs
 Terri- R.N. who runs around in tight little white              outifits
 Rachael Green- Waitress and then fashion buyer
 Monica Gellar- Super-skinny chef who can't keep a job             (probably because she wouldn't dare to get food               near her mouth)
 Phoebe Buffay- Masseus(sp?), not massage therapist, and also a caterer with Monica for a while
 Grace (from Will & Grace)- Interior decorator
 Designing Women- All interior decorators, obviously

Food, clothing, and making a house a home… HMM…
I know there are exceptions like Elaine, Murphy…funny I can’t think of anymore.

If the question is:
The question isn’t, “Do they work in offices?” the queston is, “Do you ever see them actually working for any length of time?”
Then the answer is never. What could we possibly watch in a half hour sitcom about someone just working? A sphincter adjuster in a whoopie cushion factory?

Of course, the situation in a sitcom is usually elsewhere (although it would be possible to set a sitcom entirely in a workplace), with only occasional settings at the star’s place of employment.

So the question isn’t: do we ever see them working? It’s:, when they do depict work-- does what they do, where they work and who they work with even remotely resemble anyone in the real world?

The problem is that real jobs generally aren’t interesting or entertaining enough to watch. But you don’t need to go as far as “sphincter adjuster” to get something interesting. The original Dick van Dyke show actually showed Rob, Buddy, and Sally working at their job as comedy writers. Of course, the show is written by comedy writers, so they’re writing about something they know, but comedy can be intrinsically entertaining, and it’s a real job.

I promise not to take you too seriously but…

With the phenomenal success of the game, “The Sims” (I know! Let’s have a game that allows our customers to escape their humdrum workaday lives by playing characters with humdrum workaday lives! We’ll sell a MILLION!) I think you just might be able to put me on camera and get some decent ratings.

Even in TheSims when the people go to work they leave the screen. You never see them working.

Homer Simpson has a regular job, though I’ve noticed that they’ve been showing less & less of it lately. IMO, that’s a real shame. Mr. Burns has always been my favorite Simpsons character.

Inanna has a point. I’d like to add that, while women who have non-girly jobs do exist, they have to act all whiny & airheaded. Here I am thinking of Ally McBeal, in which there are several women who ostensibly are lawyers, despite the fact that they seem to possess the emotional maturity of seventh graders.

Sitcoms are sucky & unrealistic for any number of reasons, not just because nobody does any real work.

Since the sitcom which prompted this thread was Geena Davis, I feel compelled to point out that the show which Geena replaced, the inimitable Sports Night, portrayed exactly the type of consistently realistic work environment we’re discussing. And it was spectacularly funny, heart-warming, creative, and well-acted. So of course it had to be cancelled–can’t have shows which subvert the sitcom stereotypes; goodness, no!

Also, Newsradio was a show entirely set in the workplace, though its depiction of such wasn’t as naturalistic as Sports Night. Then again, both shows were about people who work in the media, so this may fall under the Costanza-Yankee Stadium exception: jobs too interesting to be considered “real” work.

My two favorite sitcom heros.

Ralph Cramdon and Ed Norton.

Granted their offices are pretty exciting, but we members of the teeming millions like to see what the true American royalty are like.

(For those who don’t know, probably very few, Ralpie Boy was a New York City bus driver, and Norton worked in the sewer. Now there’s glamour!)