Sitcoms often don’t get attention for their ongoing story arc’s. Usually when you think of story lines you think soap operas of dramatic series. But sitcoms do story arc’s also, and sometimes they are really good. And sometimes not so much. The story lines are either not interesting or just plain ruin the show!
Here are five sitcom story arc’s which I never liked.
Murphy Brown-Eldin is rich, so what?
This is a small one. In the third season there was an episode which ended with Eldin the house painter selling a painting and getting rich. The rest of the season every time we see Eldin we are reminded he has the money and informed he of the trouble it is causing. Problem is these scenes were always short and we never really got invested. In the final episode of the season we are told Eldin got rid of the money, and the whole thing is forgotten fast.
Fresh Prince of Bel Air-Will gets engaged and the show jumps the shark
I guess this wasn’t so bad, but for me it was the point where the series jumped the shark and I stopped watching. Will gets a girlfriend named Lisa, and through the course of the season they get engaged. In the final episode of the season, Will and Lisa realize that maybe they are going to fast. So, not only did this ruin the show (who wants a mature Will?) but it is totally forgotten the next year.
This one was just plain dumb. In “The Parking Garage”, Kramer mentions he got a jacket he is wearing at his mothers house. In “The Cafe”, we find out the original owner of the jacket wants the jacket back. In the end he gets it back. In “The Nose Job” we discover the owner is in prison, so Kramer asks Elaine for her help to require the jacket. Here is the question-WHO CARES ABOUT THIS STUPID JACKET! Not sure what the thinking was, but the story of the jacket sucked. In “The Cheever Letters” Kramer ends up giving it away to get some Cuban cigars, so what was the point???
Friends-Joey and Rachel,Â WHY????
Yeah, this again. I had no problem with Joey falling for Rachel. It made a little sense and was played out just right. But the creators apparently ran out of ideas, so they went back to the well. Our of nowhere Rachel decides she has feelings for Joey. But that is interrupted when Joey falls for Charlie, a woman Ross was interested in. After going back and forth it all comes out in Barbados. Joey and Rachel kiss, and no one cares. I did like the episode where Ross is fine, and I do admit that this whole waste of time ended very nicely when Joey and Rachel realize they don’t want a physical relationship after all. But still, why even go there? Rachel falling for Joey made NO sense and just felt like the creators were getting desperate.
Night Court-Season 7 & 8!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, I have been waiting to go on this rant for a long time. Night Court was a fun little slapstick show. I fell in love with the re-runs and became a real fan. But somewhere around the 6th or 7th season, the show started to lose focus. Suddenly the show became more about the people and less about the courtroom. For some reason, the show got serious. Harry fell in love with a woman who causes him to stop being silly and fun. He becomes boring and she ends up breaking his heart when she leaves him to enter the witness protection program. Later he gets stuck teaching a night class which was boring and made no sense. Christine gets pregnant after a one night stand with a guy she barely knows. When the guy goes off on assignment she goes through the year worrying about how she will be a single mother and it’s boring. Christine tries to marry Tony but ends up divorcing himÂ and raising the child alone while going through a depression. Meanwhile, Dan goes through a HORRIBLE arc after another character named Phil gets killed. Dan becomes a happy person, totally unlikable by the way, and after he gets taken advantage of he ends up a bum on the street.
This is a little hard to summarize, I realize. Thankfully, the next and last season brought the show back to form. For the most part. It was funny again, and these dramatic stories were done away with. Mostly. Dan was returned to his lecherous ways in a hilarious scene. A woman slaps him, and suddenly his old self emerges. If I could find a clip I would share it because it is a fantastic moment! To bad the show was basically DOA by that point.
Yes sitcom story arc’s do work. Seinfeld had two, and Friends had several. But very often they are boring and drag the show down. When that happens the show usually never fully recovers.