Saturday, May 25, 2013


It’s May, which means the networks are finishing up their seasons with needlessly dramatic finales, canceling shows that don’t deserve it, renewing shows that reallydon’t deserve it, and announcing next fall’s lineups, which happen to be carbon copies of shows from other networks that got renewed for another season.

It’s all made me think about how easy it is to create a network show. They follow very specific formulas (yes, I’m using formulas instead of formulae…deal with it).

Family Sit-Com
1 Happily Married Couple. He will be fat. She will be thin and way more attractive than him. Husband will also most likely get involved with crazy schemes wife has to put up with.

1 Friend Couple. May or may not be married, may or may not be happy together. Will spend most of the time going along with crazy schemes because they never have anything going on in their own lives.

1-3 precocious children. Must be combination of sickeningly cute and strangely knowledgeable about pop-culture references for television shows/movies viewers will be familiar with but no child should be watching.

Office Sit-Com
1 Male Lead. Relatable office drone, twenty five to forty, who says what every viewer wishes they had at work. Will have crush on Female Lead but will always be interrupted if he tries to ask her out.

1 Female Lead. Will be attractive, in her late twenties, and clearly out of Male Lead’s league, but interested in him anyway.

1 Crazy Boss. Will do things that would get any real person sued or perhaps arrested.

1 Ensemble Dark Horse. In an ensemble cast, will be the most popular. Will leave after 1-3 seasons for movie career.

1 Creepy Guy. Will bother Male Lead, try to screw up his chances with Female Lead and get him in trouble with Crazy Boss. Displays behavior that one usually sees with stalkers.

1 Male Lead. Must be handsome, strong, and righteous, but willing to break the rules when it’s really important/sticking it to The Man. The last is especially necessary because most of the viewers are baby boomers who will be looking for a “rebel” to identify with.

1 Female Lead. Must be attractive and no older than forty (much older and no one’s going to want to see the cleavage she’s sporting through her professionally inappropriate low-cut tops). Being blond is not a must, but if not there must be another blond woman in the cast.

1 Black Man. Will in all likelihood be the male lead’s best friend. Will be the tough guy of the group, but have some sort of heart-wrenching backstory (poverty, abuse, etc.).

1 Old Guy. Will be the supervisor of the leads, and if anyone on the main cast is married (or divorced with kids), it’s him.

1-4 Quirky Side Characters. They’ll end up being liked better than the main cast and added to the opening credits after one to three seasons. 


  1. Wait... so what's your point?
    Recipes are good? Recipes are bad?
    Every once in a while there is a new recipe. That Office one is relatively new, after all.

  2. Yep. Which is why I look for more interesting shows. That go on to be cancelled...

  3. You know, when I think of the shows I enjoy and what I enjoy about them, I think it's the quirky side characters that always keep me coming back.
    Thanks for the analysis.
    Yeah, if I wore some of Dr. Cuddy's suits to work, I'd get a stern talking to.

  4. Yes, those sound just about right.

    Of course, the family sitcom with the fat slob of a husband and a hottie wife formula... the guy doesn't have money, maturity, or brains to compensate for his shortcomings, so what's there left for her in the first place? The worst offenders would be According to Jim, Everyone Loves Raymond (I triple infinity plus one hate that show), and that one with Kevin James....


Please validate me.