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Author Topic: What's the greatest TV comedy show?
Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by katdog42:
MASH, without a doubt, is my favorite comedy series ever.

*high-fives*
MASH is one of those shows that you can show in syndication and almost any episode is going to be good enough to justify leaving on for an hour.

On top of that, there are maybe 20 or 30 episodes that are just stand out excellent television that will never be topped, only matched. I went through a period of loathing when I was younger because my mom watched MASH obsessively, but now that I've had time away from it, it's one of my favorite shows.

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SteveRogers
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I wish MASH was on Netflix.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
MASH is one of those shows that you can show in syndication and almost any episode is going to be good enough to justify leaving on for an hour.

That depends what's in the second half-hour. [Wink] (The episodes run 30 minutes with commercials.)

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I disagree about a 50 year shelf life. I have been finding late night showing of the Burns and Allen Show to be quite charming.

Never heard of it.
Possible responses:
1) And you call yourself a historian!
2) Next you'll tell me you've never heard of their radio show, either.
3) Say goodnight, Lyrhawn!

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
I wish MASH was on Netflix.

You mean streaming, right? Because you can get all the episodes -- including the finale, although separately -- on DVD from Netflix.
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SteveRogers
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Oh, yeah, I meant streaming. I don't have a mailbox right now at school, so I don't pay for the DVD rental service.
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rivka
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I'd get rid of the DVD bit if I didn't keep using it just barely enough to keep it.
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SteveRogers
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I have had a lot of problems with streaming the instant stuff on my Wii, so I haven't been terribly pleased with the service. But my roommates and I use it so often that it's worth the pricetag even with the problems.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
That depends what's in the second half-hour. [Wink] (The episodes run 30 minutes with commercials.)

I'm so used to them running for hours at a time that I forgot you can actually stop after an hour. They're like the Pringles of comedy.

quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
1) And you call yourself a historian!
2) Next you'll tell me you've never heard of their radio show, either.
3) Say goodnight, Lyrhawn!

Shows...on the radio?

I'm afraid I don't follow.

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rivka
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*suspicious look*

You have to be pulling my leg.

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GaalDornick
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The Simpsons. Including the new seasons. Hands down.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
*suspicious look*

You have to be pulling my leg.

Of course I am. [Smile]
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Foust
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quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
The Simpsons. Including the new seasons. Hands down.

Troll.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
*suspicious look*

You have to be pulling my leg.

Of course I am. [Smile]
For how many posts?
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Annie
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Mr. Bean, though flawed, is the greatest pure physical comedy series.

The only flaw in Mr. Bean is that there is not more of it.
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Annie
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And the reason Parks and Recreation is the best show out there now is that so many of the characters are so likable. They're flawed, but likable, and that's really refreshing. You find yourself actually caring about what happens to them, which Arrested Development and The Office never achieve. (Well, Michael and George Michael are likable but everyone else is so absolutely detestable they get cancelled out.)
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Samprimary
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beef did make note of the excruciating transparency of bay's interaction and, uh, 'direction' of fox
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Annie:
And the reason Parks and Recreation is the best show out there now is that so many of the characters are so likable. They're flawed, but likable, and that's really refreshing. You find yourself actually caring about what happens to them, which Arrested Development and The Office never achieve. (Well, Michael and George Michael are likable but everyone else is so absolutely detestable they get cancelled out.)

I'm super fond of Lindsay, but I think 90% of that is carried over from my fondness for her character in Better Off Ted (where she is one of the best characters in the show by far), who was just similar enough for the affection to stick.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
beef did make note of the excruciating transparency of bay's interaction and, uh, 'direction' of fox

Wow, really? Didn't know that.
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Teshi
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quote:
I cannot for the life of me understand how people enjoy it even beyond the stilting laughtrack pacing. It is a nerd minstral show. They dress them up in nerd face and throw them up on stage to sing songs of the long forgotten days of toiling in the nerd fields. If you're an actual academic nerd or whatever the sensation of watching it is usually analogous to being a computer sciences major watching CSI:Enhance.
Agreed, although I've been known to watch it. I think the major problem is that most people who enjoy it are not the nerds depicted but know one. My mother loves it because it reminds her of my Dad. The audience is Penny and this is the impression she gets.
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GaalDornick
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quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
The Simpsons. Including the new seasons. Hands down.

Troll.
I started watching Simpsons again few months ago and have loved every episode since. Watch the the newest episode about the social network and tell me it's not brilliant.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
*suspicious look*

You have to be pulling my leg.

Of course I am. [Smile]
For how many posts?
Sadly, just the radio thing. I think I vaguely recall hearing of Burns and Allen, but I have no idea what it is or what medium it was shown on. And I can't even check Wikipedia today to find out. [Frown]
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kmbboots
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George Burns and Gracie Allen were a comedy team and married couple (rather a sweet married couple) that started in vaudeville and then went to radio and then TV. You might remember George Burns - he lived to be quite old despite his trademark cigar. Gracie Allen's character was cheerful and prone to misunderstanding. Their act generally ended with the catchphrase, "Say, 'goodnight', Gracie."
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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Annie:
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Mr. Bean, though flawed, is the greatest pure physical comedy series.

The only flaw in Mr. Bean is that there is not more of it.
No, the first movie is also a flaw. Too bad it was comprised of recycled jokes mashed upon a frame of a bad tv movie. The second movie, Mr. Bean's Holiday, was the send off it really deserved.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
George Burns and Gracie Allen were a comedy team and married couple (rather a sweet married couple) that started in vaudeville and then went to radio and then TV. You might remember George Burns - he lived to be quite old despite his trademark cigar. Gracie Allen's character was cheerful and prone to misunderstanding. Their act generally ended with the catchphrase, "Say, 'goodnight', Gracie."

Ohh, that's where that comes from. I know who George Burns is, and I know the catchphrase. When did the show run?
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kmbboots
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I thought you might. The TV show ran in the 1950s. You can catch it late nights on the nostalgia channels.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nAesuInmU0

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SteveRogers
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The Three Stooges? Looney Tunes? These aren't sitcoms, but they're comedy. And their influence is undeniable.
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Darth_Mauve
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First--Blackadder

Although the original English version of Coupling had perfect comic timing.

and the original English version of "Who's Line Is It Anyway" has made me laugh more than most shows. But that is more hit or miss.

Second--Burns & Allen is more than just a cute couple show.

Gracie Allen was perhaps the best comic genius of her generation--and that generation included Bob Hope, Jack Benny, and Will Rogers. She created radio memes, much like an internet meme--but in 1920's. She went looking for her lost brother during an early episode of their radio show. She asked everyone, "Have you seen my brother." Soon every radio show, from other comedic shows to serious dramas, would include the line, "Have you seen Gracie's brother?" This included shows on every network--not just their own.

And 70 years before Stephen Colbert decided to run for President, Gracie Allen did so. Not only did she run on TV, but she ran a whistle-stop campaign throughout the west--and received a good number of votes.

I forget the name of her "Party" but she had some wonderful answers?

"Gracie, what do you think of the national debt being amongst the largest in the world?"

"I believe that America is a special country. And if we can't have the biggest national debt in the world, why, we shouldn't have one at all."

Also--her marriage with George Burns ranks in the top 10 real love stories of all times. I dare you to read George Burn's book about her with out crying. (or laughing).

Finally. THEY NEVER SAID "Say Goodnight, Gracie." "Goodnight Gracie." That is as truthful as the Casablanca non-line "Play it again Sam."

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jebus202
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The Office (US).
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kmbboots
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Darth_Mauve, you will note, that I included only George's part of the dialog, not the imagined response. George, did say what I quoted. Gracie would then generally respond, "Goodnight" as they backed up to behind the curtain line (well, not on the radio presumably).

But I was just trying to jog Lyrhawn's memory, not give an exhaustive description.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
THEY NEVER SAID "Say Goodnight, Gracie." "Goodnight Gracie."

Are you sure they didn't do it one of the final radio shows? I grew up listening to them (one of the local news stations plays (played, anyway) old radio shows every night; Saturday night was Jack Benny and George & Gracie), and I really thought they did it, but just once.
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Annie
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
quote:
Originally posted by Annie:
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Mr. Bean, though flawed, is the greatest pure physical comedy series.

The only flaw in Mr. Bean is that there is not more of it.
No, the first movie is also a flaw. Too bad it was comprised of recycled jokes mashed upon a frame of a bad tv movie. The second movie, Mr. Bean's Holiday, was the send off it really deserved.
OK. I can agree with you on this.

For some reason, the scene in the second movie where he's on the train and the coffee girl compliments his French left me laughing for days.

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Willster3282
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Unfortunately, I'm only 23 so I don't have a wealth of comedy sitcoms, but to think of a quick list that I think you could sit down at any point and crack up at it, best TV comedies are:

Fresh Prince of Bel Air
The Office
Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Seinfeld
Everybody Loves Raymond
Friends

There are others that I enjoy watching, but don't think are on the same creative level as some of these shows. I instantly think of Two and a Half Men, which is a funny show, but I feel like the comedy/humor gets overused and is telegraphed too early (I know which joke is coming).

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Aros
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I can't sit through an episode of Two and a Half Men. One of the TV websites said that the only purpose of the show was to "tell dirty jokes to your mom". I'm inclined to believe them.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Willster3282:
Unfortunately, I'm only 23 so I don't have a wealth of comedy sitcoms, but to think of a quick list that I think you could sit down at any point and crack up at it, best TV comedies are:

Fresh Prince of Bel Air
The Office
Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Seinfeld
Everybody Loves Raymond
Friends

There are others that I enjoy watching, but don't think are on the same creative level as some of these shows. I instantly think of Two and a Half Men, which is a funny show, but I feel like the comedy/humor gets overused and is telegraphed too early (I know which joke is coming).

Willster, how can you be 23 and not put Community on your list? I think you're in its target demographic. And compared to shows like Everybody Loves Raymond...
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Olivet
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I really like Community, The Office (U.S. though it can be uneven) and Parks and Recreation.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
THEY NEVER SAID "Say Goodnight, Gracie." "Goodnight Gracie."

Are you sure they didn't do it one of the final radio shows? I grew up listening to them (one of the local news stations plays (played, anyway) old radio shows every night; Saturday night was Jack Benny and George & Gracie), and I really thought they did it, but just once.
George Burns said that they didn't though it was such an obvious response that others (Rowan and Martin for example) did.
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rivka
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He has been known to misremember details, though. *shrug*
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FoolishTook
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South Park
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by katdog42:
MASH, without a doubt, is my favorite comedy series ever.

*high-fives*
MASH is probably the only long-running TV show that I've bothered to watch every episode of. I can attest that it is the greatest TV entertainment I have ever consumed, though, since I don't watch much TV, that's not saying much. Also, I watched them on DVD, not on TV, and the commercial-free and laugh-track-free perks to that probably helped.

There are some things that annoy me about MASH. Frank Burns devolved from someone you love to hate to someone you just simply hate depressingly fast. His character was a sore thumb amongst an ensemble of greatness, and it really tore at the show, especially in seasons three and four. Winchester took a while to settle in, but in the later seasons, he assumed a wonderful role as the aloof and arrogant gentleman who nevertheless had the capacity to perform the occasional tear-jerking act of decency. Hawkeye and Trappers' frequent debauchery and adultery got tiresome in the early seasons, but the addition of Potter and B.J. gave more balance to the cast, showing people who were fundamentally committed to family values alongside the more reckless Hawkeye. Sometimes the show got a bit too pretentious and artsy, like in Dreams, but most of the artsy episodes were actually really good, presenting insights to the characters and depicting tense and all-too-real wartime situations that the characters had to cope with. To say the least, I love this show. It starts out good, sort-of dips around seasons 4 and 5 with enough diamonds in the not-too-rough rough to merit watching, and then becomes absolutely classic as the writers realize Winchester doesn't have to be the antagonist for everything and that nobody liked watching Hawkeye mess around with random women for 20 minutes. Where the show really shines is where it gives every character an off-screen family and history, which gives context to their actions as they struggle day-to-day in a hostile setting far away from home. Every major character besides Frank Burns has depth, and it's moving to see them not only survive in the horrible environment they've been forced into, but make light of it and crack jokes.

Tangentially, I've recently watched almost all the Futurama episodes with my roommate, and while it isn't the same kind of show as MASH, I'll put it up there in my top comedies. I have the same complaints about Zapp Brannigan as I do about Frank Burns, though. He exists solely to act as an antagonist to the main cast through his character flaws and outrageous stupidity, and this gets tiring fast. He does, I'll admit, have some genuinely funny moments at the end of the day. But I really do get annoyed with these comedy characters who have no motivation except a legion of character flaws that only get in the way of the heroes.

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Lyrhawn
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Frank had his funny moments, and for that matter, the pranks they pulled on Frank could be funny, but Winchester absolutely blew him away and fundamentally improved the show in a number of ways. He was interesting, he had depth, he was highly skilled, he was the perfect foil for Hawkeye, he was hilarious, and he could easily and believably shift between insufferable prig to heartwarming doctor from episode to episode without making you feel it was out of character.

I like B.J. for the same reason. Trapper was funny, but he was only funny. B.J. was funny and actually had more going on.

I prefer Potter to Blake, but there was nothing wrong with Blake.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
I love the Big Bang Theory. I tend to agree that they really overdo the audience participation, but I still think it's hilarious. The only thing I'd chance other than the laugh track is to either delete or downplay Howard a lot more.
I cannot for the life of me understand how people enjoy it even beyond the stilting laughtrack pacing. It is a nerd minstral show. They dress them up in nerd face and throw them up on stage to sing songs of the long forgotten days of toiling in the nerd fields. If you're an actual academic nerd or whatever the sensation of watching it is usually analogous to being a computer sciences major watching CSI:Enhance.

I also probably hate on BBT more than I usually would hate it just for being bad, because I can't stand that it's successful at the expense of things that aren't bad pump'n'dump joke comedy based on formula generalization mockery. BBT being bad in a vacuum, I don't care much about, I just don't watch it. But when someone reminds me that ten times as many people prefer BAZINGA to "You are the AT&T of people." I just want to call for a tv crusades, spearheaded by the segway Gob cavalry.

Anyway, I'm not prepared to put an Ace High on anything on this list, but at least in terms of contemporary tv comedy, it's Arrested Development, Community, Parks and Recreation. If you can't stand the sensation of verguenza ajena (I wish there was an english version of this word; it's basically that cringing ugh feeling you get when you watch characters like the Bluths act completely shameful and inflict cascading dysfunction on their own life due to their own stupidity, ignorance, and striking lack of composure, decency, and good sense) then strike Arrested Development, as genius as it is, from this list and avoid it like the plague (or, I guess, like the american Office)

First of all, this should be on every page of this thread for truthiness.

Second of all, my partner just watched a 3 minute clip of BBT for the first time ever and sent me a text saying "Ugh gross I'm watching a clip from the big bang theory and it feels so ingenuinely nerdy."

Sam, I had to find your post to share it with her immediately.

Edit: I originally typed it as "Big Band Theory."

... That would be such a better show.

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Bokonon
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Probably the greatest on a cost-hilarity ratio would be Sifl & Olly. i don't think they spent more than a couple hundred bucks over the course of 20-30 episodes.
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capaxinfiniti
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Did no one mention That 70's Show? The first 4 seasons were great, especially seasons 2 and 3.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally from Dan_Frank:
Edit: I originally typed it as "Big Band Theory."

... That would be such a better show.

I type that almost every single time I try to type out BBT, I don't know why.

But I think it'd be an awesome show. Like a cross between Glee, Drumline, and the Glen Miller Story, only without the sad ending.

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Destineer
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Louis CK's HBO show, Louie, is extremely good. Probably not the best ever, though.
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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by C3PO the Dragon Slayer:
But I really do get annoyed with these comedy characters who have no motivation except a legion of character flaws that only get in the way of the heroes.

I could probably make a decent argument that all of the main characters are in fact in possession of a legion of character flaws which get in the way of the heroes. They constantly get in their own way and in the way of each other for the sake of comedy. Bender is one of the most celebrated characters, and he's almost entirely characterized by his flaws.
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The Black Pearl
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quote:
Originally posted by LargeTuna:
I admit there are a lot smarter shows around, and I like a lot of shows mentioned earlier, but It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is the most laugh out loud show I've ever seen.

Agreed.

Also, Louie's new show on FX is super solid.

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scifibum
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The new FX version is some of the best TV ever, IMO. It's not formulaic, it's generally pretty honest, and it's funny.
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Uprooted
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This proves that I am ancient, but The Carol Burnett Show had moments of truly side-splitting hilarity.

And as for sitcoms, I agree with the MASH fans. I haven't watched a new sitcom in years so can't comment on any of the current ones.

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Traceria
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I'm no expert or anything, particularly for the reason that I don't watch a lot of television programs, but my husband and I really loved the Canadian sitcom Corner Gas . A Canadian friend of mine gave us the first season, and we completed our collection as they DVDs became available. Many friends and family members have since become fans, too.
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
quote:
Originally posted by C3PO the Dragon Slayer:
But I really do get annoyed with these comedy characters who have no motivation except a legion of character flaws that only get in the way of the heroes.

I could probably make a decent argument that all of the main characters are in fact in possession of a legion of character flaws which get in the way of the heroes. They constantly get in their own way and in the way of each other for the sake of comedy. Bender is one of the most celebrated characters, and he's almost entirely characterized by his flaws.
The difference between Frank Burns and Bender is that Frank was created for the audience to hate, whereas Bender was created for the audience to love.
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