Confession: I don’t enjoy American sitcoms. I hate the laugh tracks, the halogen lighting, the goofy scene changes, and the heartwarming music that always plays when Betty learns an IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON. I do not like “Friends,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Seinfeld,” or “Frasier.” The hilarious hijinx and capers characters get up to just aren’t my thing, and the family-oriented format of most TV doesn’t allow writers to tackle subject matter that’s interesting to me. It took until college to realize I hate the series format, in which one episode doesn’t lead to the next. I prefer the serial format wherein you can’t miss an episode without completely losing track of the show’s trajectory. Luckily TV has changed drastically in the last few years, seemingly to fit people like me!
There are exceptions to the sitcom rule, of course. I don’t mind watching “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and if “Scrubs” is on I won’t change the channel. “Roseanne” is one of the best written sitcoms out there, and I’ll fight you on it. Despite Roseanne Barr’s obnoxiously nasal voice, those were reasonable characters who lived a middle-class life and responded to situations the way, you know, real people would (I also related to Darlene the same way I related to MTV’s Daria). “Community” is hilarious (also, notably doesn’t feature a laugh track). Good writing + Danny Pudi + Joel McHale = a winner.