Other Ten Percent 5/14/13

May 14 2013

Man I…kinda wish I’d waited to do the Daft Punk thing AFTER they started streaming the whole damn thing but I guess that’s really just an excuse for me to try and do something else…again drunk, at 11:10 at night…guys I’ve made some bad decisions. I guess since I spent most of the evening watching How I Met Your Mother now’s the best time I can come up with to discuss the concept of puzzle box comedies.

I’ve been holding off because I’ve desperately wanted a really strictly accurate third example for this concept but I…don’t really have time to do that at this point so we’re doing this with just the two major examples. The idea behind puzzle box comedies is that you’re already structurally familiar with the sitcom and so what makes the comedy funny is the dialogue it’s having with the traditional sitcom.

How I Met Your Mother and Community are the two examples that really exemplify the form. What makes both shows work is that both of them see like they are hangout shows in the vein of Friends or late-season Cheers but when they try and be a hangout show in that vein they fall flat on their face which is maybe best exemplified by season 4 of both shows. I’m not sure why these aren’t hangout shows but I am sure what they are instead.

The fact that Suzan gets an awesome new job and the new Daft Punk album and gets to actually meet the mother with the season finale all at the same time should qualify today as a pretty amazingly awesome day.

…okay it’s now 11:40 and I’m nowhere near done with this so I guess I have to really boil this down to the bare essentials which is that these shows are built around playing with the form in a way that’s worth watching even when I find the character dynamics (and Jeff Winger and Barney Stinson have some similar problematic things as breakout characters) what keeps me coming back to bother shows even when they’re in a slump is that they love to screw around with the kind of Sitcom story to…guys this entry is a failure and I’m super sorry. I promise I’m going to extend this one out to be an actual entry tomorrowy…maybe I’ll throw in what I meant by temporal empathy just to be generous.

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