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  1. #1
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    11.25.17 @ 09:06 AM
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    Default The Decline Of Television Writing

    First off, This is just an observation, I don't stress over what's on the boob tube, and I realize what generally passes for entertainment on TV for quite a while has been hit or miss, which is why I pretty much stick to channels like Nat Geo., History, Discovery, etc....but I gotta tell you, over the past month when I've been getting home later and the wife is watching the regular networks, I am truly shocked just how bad the major network's shows are...Not just bad, REALLY BAD! Not just poorly written,(which many are) but poorly acted, especially the live audience recorded sitcoms. I mean, I caught some of that Two Broke Girls show my wife was watching...(No offence to those who watch the show...Maybe I just caught a bad one) but every line sounded like they were reading direct from a teleprompter, and there was no chemistry at all. Thought, "How could this get a second season???"
    Then the other night, we heard that new Matthew Perry show would be on....Ok...Liked him in friends.......Again....Awkward writing, It was just a heavier, older Chandler in a different unbelievable situation. Even the promos suck.
    Those are just two examples, but it seems like most of the new crop of shows these days are just awful beyond comprehension. Again...No offence to those who watch some of these shows, it's just two peoples opinion, but they all seem to be very alike, complete with cutaways, flashbacks, stunted, fast dialogue etc. like they're all produced by the same team despite what network you're watching.

    The only real laughs even the audience gives is when they make some random left field sexual or hard drug comment, (I'm no prude mind you) like that 2 Broke Girls any jokes that landed were about the skinny blonde being convinced her boyfriend was gay because:"I think he's into me, but I don't think he wants into me!"
    The other chick ends up all horned up over a couple Amish dudes on vacation from the community for a weekend of debauchery (breaking Amish reference maybe? Ya think??) that she convinces to build a barn for their horse...Which I think lives in the city in their back yard....Yeah...I can't make this stuff up! The real hilarity begins when one of the Amish dudes get's hard-ons everytime he checks out a nice pair of boobs, which he promptly has to cover with his hat....numerous times. Yep.

    Now there are some good shows, I've seen modern Family...seems okay, nothing I'd mark on my calender, but I was really astounded at how dumbed down the bulk of the "comedy/sitcoms" have become.
    Now I know it's just TV, and frankly I have better things to do with my time, but I was really disappointed how poor the standards are now. Compared to shows like Cheers, AITF,, even Everybody Loves Raymond, there IS no comparison at all.
    I know these days reality is king with many folks I suppose, but if these shows are their competition you can see why...Sadly enough.

    Anyone else notice an even steeper decline in the lineups out there?
    Last edited by we die young; 01.30.13 at 08:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Good Enough VH Wahoo's Avatar
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    Exhibit A, your honor....



    Bumper sticker on my rocket's ass...

  3. #3
    On Fire Eddie's Littler Monster's Avatar
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    Default

    It all depends on what you're watching. If you're watching CBS "comedy" or police procedural "dramas" then yes is sucks. On the other hand there are some really great shows on cable that no one watches, where the writing is fantastic or at least not lowest common denominator.

    Mad Men, Walking Dead, Community, Breaking Bad, Archer, Justified, Parks and Rec, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Louie, and yes even Parenthood are all great shows with a level of thought put into character development, plot, action, humor and drama etc.

    Get away from CBS if you enjoy good TV. Or, you sit and watch the SAME goddamn sitcom jokes again and again and again just like you have been for the last 30 frigging years.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie's Littler Monster View Post
    It all depends on what you're watching. If you're watching CBS "comedy" or police procedural "dramas" then yes is sucks. On the other hand there are some really great shows on cable that no one watches, where the writing is fantastic or at least not lowest common denominator.

    Mad Men, Walking Dead, Community, Breaking Bad, Archer, Justified, Parks and Rec, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Louie, and yes even Parenthood are all great shows with a level of thought put into character development, plot, action, humor and drama etc.

    Get away from CBS if you enjoy good TV. Or, you sit and watch the SAME goddamn sitcom jokes again and again and again just like you have been for the last 30 frigging years.
    Yeah....That's exactly my point.. Much of the cable stuff is great.One show I never missed was The Soprano's, at least for the first 4 or 5 seasons. It had it all, drama, comedy, great characters, and storylines. Again, that's my point. The big 3 networks seem so out of touch these days, just phoning it in. Why even bother with putting together a sitcom if it's a dead format? On the other side, if you're intent on making an "edgier" sitcom touching on more current issues, at least hire actors and writers who can pull it off convincingly. That's all I meant, and like I said, it was just an observation on the current lot. I'm not even sure why we decided to check them out...My wife usually likes something light after a hard day, me, I'm more History, Discovery...Guess we just wanted to give them a chance...Some coworkers talk about the shows and seem to like 'em, but I just don't get it. Some of them end, and I don't even know what the hell I just watched, or if any of the story actually resolved! Haha.

    ....Honey Boo, Boo, I heard that show has HUUUUGE ratings too! Holy!
    Last edited by we die young; 01.30.13 at 09:19 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by VH Wahoo View Post
    Exhibit A, your honor....



    Uhhhh a testimonial?...Well, now, That there Honey Boo Boo.... Yessir, That show's really great.
    Last edited by we die young; 01.30.13 at 09:32 AM.

  6. #6
    Sinner's Swing! Heisenberg's Avatar
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    BOSS, starring Kelsey Grammer. It doesn't get much better than that for me. Along with, Breaking Bad, Homeland, and Boardwalk Empire.

    But you pretty much have to watch cable, YouTube, or dvd too see anything worth while these days, as the regular networks have definetly gone from bad to worse.

    Hopefully Larry David will do another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
    Last edited by Heisenberg; 01.30.13 at 10:18 AM. Reason: add something
    " On a scale that ranges from deep dark depression to rip roaring fun ... most people idle between pissed off ...and not too pissed off " DLR 1997

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    12.13.17 @ 12:57 PM
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    I honestly don't know who they get to write these shows. It's hard to imagine that someone went to school and got a degree to write this stuff. Maybe I have an over-inflated picture of myself, but I think...nay...I know I could write better stuff than this. Especially the dramas.

    My favorite show of all time was LOST. Great writing for the most part. It seems like dramas now have characters with no motivation, act unreasonable, and create chaos for no other reason than to further the story.

    As for comedies....I've watched multiple episodes of the Big Bang Theory thinking that maybe, just maybe I've missed something and this show is actually as smart as it claims to be. Actually, it's fucking dumb. I don't know why people watch it, but I guess when you compare it against its competition, it looks like a winner.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  8. #8
    Good Enough JakeK21's Avatar
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    I think there's still plenty of good stuff on TV. I'm not going to list all my favorites right now, but there's still smart, funny writing. Of course you're going to think there's a decline because the TV market is so saturated with programs that much of it is going to be complete garbage.

  9. #9
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    Penny! Penny! Penny ! * knocking on door *

    How is that not funny. Love that show. The Big Bang Theory. Great stuff.
    " On a scale that ranges from deep dark depression to rip roaring fun ... most people idle between pissed off ...and not too pissed off " DLR 1997

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeK21 View Post
    I think there's still plenty of good stuff on TV. I'm not going to list all my favorites right now, but there's still smart, funny writing. Of course you're going to think there's a decline because the TV market is so saturated with programs that much of it is going to be complete garbage.
    Oh, True. No argument. Like I said, I watch specific networks, and lets face it, most shows that have been on for numerous years (well...maybe 2-1/2 Men excluded) have to have something going for them, but I was just in awe of the new ones this season and last that the regular networks could actually think they have a winner on their hands. Speaking of 2-1/2 Men... I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but those first couple of seasons were very well written, and the characters were great. Fast forward to the past few years, Allan is completely unrecognizable from those first couple of seasons.
    I know it's all subjective though, but some of the dialogue as well as the delivery of it in some of these new shows. It's really astonishing. I mean, I've seen non-profit community theater presentations that appear more professional.

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    Bring back Deadwood asap! It ended when it was just getting good!

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk
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    I'm far from a prude, but sitting in the living room with my wife, 17yo daughter and 13yo son while 2 Broke Girls crack anal sex rewards makes me cringe...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  13. #13
    Sinner's Swing! Heisenberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    I'm far from a prude, but sitting in the living room with my wife, 17yo daughter and 13yo son while 2 Broke Girls crack anal sex rewards makes me cringe...
    Say Wha ?

    I'll have to check that show out now.
    " On a scale that ranges from deep dark depression to rip roaring fun ... most people idle between pissed off ...and not too pissed off " DLR 1997

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    I'm far from a prude, but sitting in the living room with my wife, 17yo daughter and 13yo son while 2 Broke Girls crack anal sex rewards makes me cringe...
    Yeah! Damn! That was a line in 2 Broke Girls both me and my wife looked at each other sideways. The blonde chick asks something to her friend, like "what's a classy first date thing to do?" and the other girl says "Anal....but them I'm a classy kinda girl!" Seriously. I mean usually I'm pretty easygoing, but both of us looked at each other like WTF??? Guess it's all about the shock value these days.
    I saw the Anger Management show out of curiosity, and it was about Charlie and his "Slump buster". I don't know what it was about it, and trust me, I can be pretty raunchy when I want, but somehow that show made me feel fucking horrible and wanting to wretch after watching it.

  15. #15
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    If Modern Family is just okay, then I'm not sure what sort of comedy writing will impress you when you take into account the broad audience a show needs to succeed on network television. Levitan and Lloyd (and especially Levitan), the show runners, have a history of writing on great, smart shows.

    I'm not sure that the 4-camera format is dead, but the writing has to be smart and snappy. NBC is in the process of changing Up All Night from single cam to multi-cam w/ live audience, so they still believe in it. That format is also more efficient. Levitan and Lloyd did Back to You with Kelsey Grammer--a multi-cam show w/ audience--and it was really funny, but the writer's strike killed it. So their next project was MF.

    I can find clips if you want, but Adam Carolla often talks on his podcast about his experiences in the pilot process. If I were to condense it as much as possible, basically it's all about the executives, not the writers. When you hear his stories, these execs make TERRIBLE decisions and have no idea what they're doing. One example, after getting his pilot tested, they brought him the data and said, "See where this spikes? The audience likes this. But right before, there's a dip. How do we tighten this?" Carolla says, "That's called the set up. It's what makes the punch line work. If I take that out, we don't get the spike". Exec says, "What we need is for you to tighten this up, understand?"

    That's just ONE example he has of major network execs having zero clue about comedy. Another thing that's telling is this: execs want likable, not funny. Likable is much, much more important to the major networks than "is this funny?"
    Last edited by lovemachine97(Version 2); 01.30.13 at 11:58 AM.

 

 

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