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Characters hook up = series becomes worse


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16 hours ago, Fierce Poodle said:

No one mentioned Moonlighting yet?

 

That went off the rails more due to Shepherd being much more difficult to work with and pregnant, didn't it?

 

17 hours ago, Stigweard said:

 

The attempted Rachel and Joey relationship was even worse.

 

Nah, not even close. Again, Ross & Rachel were always meant to finish together, so that was just something to add to the drama. Besides, it was much more self-aware because they regularly addressed the awkwardness for the group (and, by extension, the viewer) and it was a bit more restrained. Plus, crucially, they didn't last long so it didn't become a constant burden on the show (nor did it ever get mentioned all that much ever again - like Ross's kids :P).

 

Monica & Chandler became a drag on things as they had to stick with their roles within the relationship and it was just rubbish.

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On 09/10/2020 at 18:24, Uncle Mike said:

I feel like the Brooklyn 99 example in the OP doesn't really belong; the show wasn't predicated on the will they/won't they formula in the first place, and it's such an ensemble (and nice) comedy in the first place that you can just have the relationship. Same as Leslie Knope and whatshisface in Parks & Rec. Or Andy and April.

 

But yeah, all the will they / won't they programmes are, I reckon unavoidably, ruined once they do. That was the gimmick! You do need to seal the deal, but you should just build to it, do it then stop making the show.

 

I rewrote my original post and didn't put it back in, but I did intend to say that the ensemble cast does help with Brooklyn Nine Nine because most of the characters do have their own stuff going on which means the focus doesn't need to be on Jake & Amy so much. But with that said, they did establish the attraction between them both quite early on and from that point it was only going to go one way. As you say - and I agree - the show doesn't hinge on that the way a number of other examples in here do, but all the same it has changed both the dynamic of the group and the tone of the show ever so slightly for the worse.

 

It's still good, of course, but I'm less enthused about it than I was.

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On 10/10/2020 at 16:10, Vimster said:

Only Fools And Horses. Initially it was about a few inept men struggling through life, then Delboy met Raquel and Rodders met Cassandra and, barring one or two exceptional episodes (Rodney having to pretend to be 14 on holiday for instance) it never worked after that. Raquel was far too sensible and tended to hamper Derek Trotter's wilder business dealings. Rodney turned from a dim-witted foil for Delboy into a mopey henpecked husband, the relationship felt like a tedious middle-class sitcom had somehow invaded the show, and it got worse as their relationship got more acrimonious.

 

Just when it couldn't get any worse Damien was born.

 

 

And when Cassandra had a miscarriage on an Xmas Day episode I realised that the whole show had forgotten that it was a sitcom and had become a soap opera with occasional jokes.  The strongest episodes of OFAH are the ones where Del and Rodney get up to shenanigans  and the later episodes like To Hull and Back and Miami Twice really shine through because they leave the family at home and go back to their original character dynamics. 

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Cheers was amazing and I don't think it counts to be in this thread.  The ongoing plot was that Diane hated everything that Sam stood for but was attracted to him. The show was built around the on-off relationship. They genius of the show writing was that when Shelly Long left the show they didn't try to keep it going. They brought in Rebecca who seemed to be the only hot woman that didn't fancy Sam.  All his best lines didn't work on her and the show went into a different direction.  It so hard to choose a favourite period of the show, it's consistently fantastic.

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On 09/10/2020 at 09:44, Gabe said:

Most TV shows will have some central characters where the sexual tension plays a big part in proceedings. In many (most?) cases, those characters will end up getting together and becoming a couple, thus robbing the show of that undercurrent which has usually been used as a plot device in previous episodes and then having to be this thing that can sometimes smother anything else happening in that world.

 

Has this ever worked for the benefit of a show and improved it

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Though undercurrent isn’t really the thing on that show. It’s more raging waters.

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On 09/10/2020 at 10:31, BossSaru said:

I think Seinfeld did it really well. There was mention of a previous relationship between Jerry and Elaine, but that was off-screen rarely got in the way of the story. It worked well that, as the series progressed, they became increasingly insular and cut off from their other friends who were settling down with marriage, families and the like, to the point where they end up with each other and nobody else.

 

They addressed relationships, but largely by having a guest star every few weeks as the love interest of one of the four. With the result typically being that their own neuroses and the actions of the rest of the group spoiled it.

 

If they had started having Elaine coupled with one of the three male characters the show's dynamic would have been destroyed.

They did have an episode in season 2 where they got back together, under pressure from the network. No one involved in the show had any interest in doing this so they completely subverted the whole concept in a really funny way to get NBC to fuck off, and never mentioned it again. Larry David got an emmy nomination for it! 

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I think this is always going to be the case with shows from the past.

 

Across culture, the end game for characters is to settle down and have a family. The characters that begin the show enjoying being single become 'fixed' over time, and settle into traditional patterns.

 

I think in the future, as it becomes more normalised to not want those things, we'll see characters that are less defined by the pursuit of another person. And fewer shows that get shit as a result of the goal being met without anything else to keep the laughs coming.

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A really bad example of that is Big Bang Theory (I know, I know). Penny is introduced to us as a carefree individual who likes to party, is promiscuous, but doesn't have much of a future. 

 

In comes Leonard, one of the main characters, uber-geek and essentially the exact opposite of both penny herself and the people penny typically dates. 

 

Long story short, over the course of the show, Penny is basically harassed by Leonard until she agrees to go out with him. She makes it clear she isn't interested in marriage, but he keeps pestering her until she agrees to marry him. She isn't interested in having a career outside of her aspiration for acting, and Leonard pesters her until she gets a well-paying job (eventually earning more money than he does, something else he isn't happy about). She isn't interested in children and he pesters her over that, too and, just when you think the show is finally going to let Penny be who she wants to be rather than who Leonard is trying to make her and he seems to finally accept that she doesn't want children...wouldn't you know it, Penny is pregnant. 

 

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Amy and Robert in Everybody Loves Raymond worked really well. They were on-again-off-again for series after series and even when they were finally married it was still compelling. They were two great characters and generally really funny people though. Also, the introduction of Amy meant they could include the brother who was a good baddie, and Fred Willard and his wife, who I maintain is one of the most hilarious characters in sitcom history. 

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On 09/10/2020 at 12:31, squirtle said:

Friends. Monica and Chandler was the worst thing that happened in that show.


No, there were loads of great eps and jokes as a result of their relationship.

 

It coincided with the show getting gradually less funny before it plummeted in the latest seasons, but it wasn’t a watermark.

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18 minutes ago, Art Vandelay said:

Amy and Robert in Everybody Loves Raymond worked really well. They were on-again-off-again for series after series and even when they were finally married it was still compelling. They were two great characters and generally really funny people though. Also, the introduction of Amy meant they could include the brother who was a good baddie, and Fred Willard and his wife, who I maintain is one of the most hilarious characters in sitcom history. 


I can’t believe you slated Friends and have a fan’s knowledge of Everybody Loves Raymond!

 

That’s like slating Arrested Development and then revealing you think Mike and Molly is worthy of academic study.

 

Although I do think Robert is funny.

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19 minutes ago, ZOK said:

I can’t believe you slated Friends and have a fan’s knowledge of Everybody Loves Raymond!

 

That’s like slating Arrested Development and then revealing you think Mike and Molly is worthy of academic study.

 

Although I do think Robert is funny.

 

I'm a complicated soul. I do think Everybody Loves Raymond is a powerhouse though. Like properly good. Not your grade A sitcom level perhaps, but bothering it.

 

I'm not sure why Friends annoys me so much. I can think of loads of quotable funny things that happened, but I can't sit down and enjoy an episode of it. 

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14 hours ago, dumpster said:

And when Cassandra had a miscarriage on an Xmas Day episode I realised that the whole show had forgotten that it was a sitcom and had become a soap opera with occasional jokes.  The strongest episodes of OFAH are the ones where Del and Rodney get up to shenanigans  and the later episodes like To Hull and Back and Miami Twice really shine through because they leave the family at home and go back to their original character dynamics. 

 

This. OFAH was at its best when they were on the pull, trying to outdo each other and failing miserably. 

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Everybody Loves Raymond is easily better than Friends. Easily. 

 

It was mentioned earlier, but Parks and Recreation is a good example that actually got better when its characters got together. I think it really helped that you got to know Leslie for 2 series before Ben turned up, and by that point you were really invested in her happiness. Almost all of the characters (with the exception of Andy and April) ended up in relationships with people that weren't even in the series at the start, and that felt more realistic to me than a cast that never changes apart from the odd guest star making a recurring appearance. 

 

Ironically though, I think it was a happy accident that Parks and Rec ended up this way, as I think it was originally intended that Leslie would end up with Mark, until he unexpectedly left in Season 2. Weirdly, this is the exact moment that the show gets really good...

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It also gets better precisely when they realise it works better as a "nice" comedy than as an awkward Office-style one. Leslie spends Season 1 as an unlikeable Brent person, and no-one else is very sympathetic except maybe Ann and Mark (who I'd guess are the Jim and Pam analogues, as opposed to Leslie and Mark) and everyone else is a horrible dick. When they figured out that they're much better writing about nice people having supportive times, which I'd say is S2 onwards, it really finds its place and voice. Which is why that last season doesn't really work.

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2 hours ago, jon_cybernet said:

Everybody Loves Raymond is easily better than Friends. Easily. 


ELR is one of the very worst US sitcoms (and you can make reasonable arguments for it being the very worst of them all), and is a useful guide as to why the result of the American century is the destruction of our planet.

 

But as I observed, Robert is funny.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, ZOK said:


ELR is one of the very worst US sitcoms (and you can make reasonable arguments for it being the very worst of them all), and is a useful guide as to why the result of the American century is the destruction of our planet.

 

But as I observed, Robert is funny.

 

 


This will never be true in a world where  King of Queens exists. 

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4 hours ago, ZOK said:


I can’t believe you slated Friends and have a fan’s knowledge of Everybody Loves Raymond!

 

That’s like slating Arrested Development and then revealing you think Mike and Molly is worthy of academic study.

 

Although I do think Robert is funny.

I bought the Everybody Loves Raymond box set on the strength of one episode. Raymond and the other two guys go dog racing instead of visiting a therapist. It's brilliant and so far all the other episodes have been shit.

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1 hour ago, dumpster said:

I bought the Everybody Loves Raymond box set on the strength of one episode. Raymond and the other two guys go dog racing instead of visiting a therapist. It's brilliant and so far all the other episodes have been shit.


That is a good episode! I’ve seen it myself. 

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On 11/10/2020 at 13:32, makkuwata said:

The Only Fool's talk is valid enough. But the hook up was the money.

 

Let them walk off into the sunset with the gag about being billionaires this time next year. THE END.

Should have stopped when they sold that watch.

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18 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:

I can't think of a single example of where a "will they, won't they...oh they have" hasn't ruined the show in some way, if not totally. 

Peep Show. The trick is to make the getting together make the characters less happy than before. 

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I know it’s not the greatest of shows, but I quite enjoyed Not Going Out in its early days. It ended up shitting the bed in many ways, but top of those was the two leads getting together. It wasn’t funny, or particularly believable, and ruined the whole structure of the show.

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9 hours ago, schmojo said:

 

I think in the future, as it becomes more normalised to not want those things, we'll see characters that are less defined by the pursuit of another person. And fewer shows that get shit as a result of the goal being met without anything else to keep the laughs coming.

In some ways I think we are there in a lot of ways. Things like Fleabag are fairly contrary to the shows listed above and seem to cast the "right ones/normal ones" as the outliers in the story.  I would probably say that US shows are worse for it than UKs but then I am fairly biased on that front.

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I didn't feel like Fleabag was the end of her journey though. Just a snapshot. In fact, the end felt like her transitioning from a reckless, promiscuous and destructive phase.

 

If it had kept going for a couple more series, and the trajectory had continued, I think she'd have become more conventional.

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