Television has grown into one of the ultimate pastimes for the American public. Some tune in to watch their favorite dramas, comedies, reality shows and game shows.
Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics "American Time Use Survey," provided by the A.C. Nielsen Company, show that 99 percent of Americans own a television in their home, and the average person will spend a total of nine years of their life watching the tube.
One of the most popular genres of television is the situational comedy, also known as a sitcom. It is sad that the quality of sitcoms has declined recently. I feel that once this new wave of sitcoms retires, the genre may be lost forever or confined to endless TV Land reruns.
The sitcom genre dates all the way back to the 1950s, with shows like "I Love Lucy" and "Mister Ed." These sitcoms established the tempo for many shows that came after, such as "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Jeffersons" and "The Andy Griffith Show."
However, the best sitcoms premiered in the 1990s, gaining inspiration from its predecessors and taking the genre to a whole new level.
Sitcoms such as "Friends," "Seinfeld," "Frasier," and "The Larry Sanders Show," brought a new edge and spunk to television, epitomizing the ‘90s as a whole. The comedy was fresh, the scripts were well written and quite humorous, and the characters were well developed over time. Some characters’ actions were unpredictable, while others’ actions were so predictable it was funny. These shows put a new, more comical spin on what we all see as real life.
However, the golden age of sitcoms has officially ended. "That 70s Show" was the last ingenious sitcom on television, ending its eight-year run in 2006. Nowadays, we are subjected to "Two and a Half Men," "How I Met Your Mother" and "2 Broke Girls," with the lone acceptable sitcoms being "The Big Bang Theory" and "Modern Family."
Both "Two and a Half Men" and "How I Met Your Mother" have overstayed their welcome. Though they had some interesting schemes during their first few seasons, the comedy has become dry. "2 Broke Girls" is full of sarcasm, but sarcasm does not make a quality television series by itself.
As a society, we have decided to accept the lack of quality put into these sitcoms, rather than demand the quality we once enjoyed back.
When we watched "Friends," for instance, we were always longing for the next episode and what misadventures and challenges were presented at every corner. The show provided a great laugh for 10 seasons, a feat none of the currently airing sitcoms will ever surpass.
I long for the days when sitcoms were consistent every episode, and the humor was always on point. I want to watch the loveable and quirky characters who seem to be fading out of sight nowadays. The ‘90s was when the situational comedy genre and television itself were at their height. If only we had a time machine.