Space Ramblings

Do Not Disturb the Death of the Sitcom

The oddest thing about Do Not Disturb is how conventional it used to be. Do Not Disturb was the sitcom, the common kind of sitcom with a collection of mildly bland characters who all have generic attitudes and identities, there’s the gay guy, the sassy black woman, the flashy womanizer. who exchange sharp canned lines and complain about their lives. What’s so uncommon about Do Not Disturb is that it reminds us of how rare conventional sitcoms have become.

Yes CBS, the oldest network on television, is launching a moderately aggressive sitcom lineup, ABC has its lingering shows, though some like Samantha Who may have sitcom lines and characters, but aren’t sitcoms. NBC, once the king of the sitcom that appealed to the young yuppie professional audience, is dead last and mostly sitcom free. That’s why seeing the few minutes of Do Not Disturb that I saw in this year of the YouTube viral video feels odd. It feels odd because in seeing it you realize that something which was once all around you and so much a part of life that it was taken for granted has become some sort of antiquated form right up there with the rough and tumble cop show or the black and white cleaner than clean family shows and the rest of the stock of TV Land, which itself is going Reality TV.

Don’t get me wrong, Do Not Disturb is a bad show, or rather just a lame one. It reminds me of the kind of generic lame effort at making a New York sitcom by filling it with local types such as Union Square (from the Producers of Friends!) Except that Union Square was better than this. But there is something sad about the sitcom, the workplace sitcom at least, turning into a relic. I’m sure TV will keep on barraging us with family and couples sitcoms, though in decreasing doses and on older skewing channels. No one expects Do Not Disturb or Worst Week to save the sitcom. Not when The Office is riding high and the networks order things like Cavemen the sitcom in response. But it would be nice if the sitcom which ruled television not so long ago could at least go out on a high note.

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