Extraordinary that no-one has produced an ironic comedy about Woke which, let’s face it, is so inherently funny, that it would be an immediate hit
Sadly, Hugh, I suggest cowardice rules the day in the rarefied world of commissioning editors. They simply don’t have the cojones.
What the Babylon bee (on YouTube).
Perhaps someone can have a go with a sitcom for Titania McGrath? Set, I don’t know, on a university campus?
That could be pretty funny.
Nice idea though Titania has been surpassed by reality; Andrew’s creation started out as a parody, now she looks moderate.
Wokesters have no sense of humor. They would take it as a documentary about themselves!
You’re right. One of the characteristics of the Woke crowd is the total absence of irony.
” Little Britain” was a frightening predictor of where nu britain hewkay was heading, ten years ago, as we all laughed…. little knowing that it would come true.
South Park does a little (OK, it can be extremely) crude, but they pretty often poke fun at this lot. Actually Family Guy does too.
Huh, anyone else remember when The Simpsons was good?
You beat me to it on Family Guy. And the entire “PC Principal” season of South Park, from about 7 years ago. (Many anti-wokesters, and even some of the woke-sympathetic, may find it hilarious if they can withstand they crudeness you mentioned).
With the exception of a few episodes, I’d say The Simpsons has been running on fumes for over a decade.
I read that John Cleese is working on it!
To everyone on this thread, the world of Rousso awaits you:
Who could have guessed that youngsters might eventually realise that life is better when “comedy” is written to make you laugh.
For the sake of the younger generations, I sincerely hope that someone has the capability to develop the next Cheers – and some broadcaster has the intelligence to screen it.
When a fair number of zeitgeisty Gen Z kids think humour is in and of itself oppressive (someone has to be the victim of the joke, right?) I don’t see a golden future for anything but nihilistic memery.
I dunno; my daughter is Gen Z, and she and her school chums have quite a sense of humor, and seem to get the idea that comedy involves poking fun at human foibles. Of course, they’re in a private school that is mercifully un-Woke. And she has a dad who was raised on Monty Python, Mel Brooks, and other un-PC comedy!
“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” is very much a 21st century cousin of both Seinfeld (Four friends, all with terrible personalities) and Cheers (set in a US bar). And very funny.
Thanks – I just noticed that this started in 2005 – which is a few years before the wokery started to ruin everything. I’m looking forward to it already.
Update – just watched the first 5 episodes – fantastic – so thanks again
Yadda, yadda, yadda 😉
“Here’s to feeling good all the time”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLmuyFLKfmk
An observation is that alcohol and other substances were rarely partaken of. Oh, and REVENGE is a motif that runs throughout. Mainly Elaine and George.
I am still waiting for the teenage rebellion against all this. Surely now that pronouns and virtue signalling are force fed to them in school they will push back. I can’t understand how they tolerate this treacly nonsense. When are they going to just state obvious things like men in skirts are creeps, worshipping billionaire do-Gooders is lame, and my pronouns are $&@& and $&&$! Come on kids – get cynical.
Thank you. People bang on about kids being brainwashed at school affecting future elections. Surely kids are not that daft and must wonder who the hell would want to be a teacher? Men amongst boys, boys amongst men etc. Is the revolution so won?
As a teacher and mother, I can tell you those that speak out are bullied.They are told they are in the wrong. So they come home and whisper about it to their parents.
“When George does get engaged, he spends the bulk of a season regretting it and trying to break it off.”
One of my favourite scenes is when George comes up with the genius idea to demand that his fiance signs a prenup, the intended outcome being that she’ll react badly and angrily end the engagement. Instead of course she bursts out laughing, telling him she’s got more money than him, “Sure, bring me the prenup, I’ll sign it” amid fits of derisive giggling.
George’s expression of weary defeat was pure gold.
I watched ‘Friends’ (actually a Gen ‘X’ comedy, not Millennial) primarily because (a) I fancied Jennifer Aniston and (b) the writing was sharp. I wonder what Nicholas would make of ‘Black Books’, a British comedy which makes Seinfeld look like an episode of ‘The Brady Bunch’.
I’m not saying America doesn’t do great sitcom (it does), but I think the UK is better. America, OTOH, does far better drama. Give me Toast, Darkplace, The IT Crowd, Father Ted, Black Books, Spaced (etc), basically anything prior to the 2016/17 Woken-Krieg. Surreal, cynical and funny.
I think you’re right – look at the League of Gentlemen for chrissakes – it’s a whole other level of messed up.
Or ‘Bottom’ for that matter – I can’t imagine any US sitcom having a character called Eddie H*tler…but then that sort of thing is probably a bit ‘problematic’ these days…Seinfeld seems to me just safe enough to be acceptable
I can’t see you obviously, but I bet you’ve all got smashing blouses on.
I bought you that coca-cola in good faith!!
I don’t know about that.
Archie Bunker raged about Jews and Blacks and Pollacks long before it was going on anywhere else.
Till Death Do Us Part?
Written by the same crowd as Cheers – not dark comedy – just clever.
All human vanities and weaknesses laid bare
Frasier, Seinfeld etc. all funny, but the best ever American sitcom was obviously M*A*S*H, because it was funny (black humour) but also had a heart. Those characters could make you laugh, they could make you cry at the same time. Some may think it was schmaltzy, but I prefer to think of it as just having a lot of humanity. Hawkeye and Hotlips Houlihan are immortal.
Love that show, the 90’s really were great weren’t they?
Fraser was great!
At its best British comedy is as good as the best American comedy. Fawlty Towers and the Office are absolutely the peak. Toast and Darkplace and the IT crowd are 2nd Tier, they are fun but not great, they will not last. Seinfeld is up there as well, if you haven’t managed to get into it is very much worth the effort, it might be cynical but it is also very very funny. What the Americans do better even with their great comedies, is to make 10 seasons rather than 2.
I’m not sure it’s a matter of which country does better sitcom, because the best American sitcoms travel well to the UK, while UK sitcoms don’t travel west nearly so well. The Americans therefore are better at creating a sitcom that both Americans and Brits enjoy.
Although I share your love of the almost surreally clever and side-splittingly hilarious Black Books, I would still have to say that the best sitcom ever is Frasier, in my opinion.
I understand that Kelsey Grammar is in the middle of reviving it though, to include Nicholas Lyndhurst of all people, and I predict sadly that this might end up knocking the show off the top spot in my personal sitcom hall of fame.
I’m on my 5th rerun of Seinfeld…. I am so shallow.
5th? Lol. I’m probably on my 555th!
Well I watch certain clips more often!
The author should try On The Buses next.
Then he could apply his particular brand of illiterate pretentious drivel (boiling away the paraphernalia, forsooth!) to “Love Thy Neighbour.” Or the “Carry On” films.
That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think, Geoff? The ‘Carry On’ films were comedy gold compared to what’s coming out now.
My point – aligning with Matt M, I thought – was that the writer of the article would run screaming from the simpler and harsher fare on offer in days of yore.
The “Carry On” films are sometimes re-run during the day on one of the commercial stations here (I live outside the UK). The best point of comparison I can think of in that era is “Dad’s Army,” which admittedly isn’t very apposite, because it started later, and it was TV series, and one of the very best (the film they made of it was rather disappointing).
I appreciated this take, perhaps because mine is different, so it made me think constructively.
I’m an elder Millennial who disliked Friends as a teenager and only recently discovered Seinfeld myself (my family was like that — but now we all like it). Harris talks about Gen Z’s “preoccupation with moral sincerity,” with its “iterative performance of goodness.” This struck me because lately I’ve been seeking what I would have called moral sincerity in reaction to the what seems to me an obvious performance. Granted, I’ve gone more toward exploring an earnest virtue ethic in response to all this sanctimonous, performative crap, but the author made me consider whether I might be in a smaller cultural space than I had thought.
At any rate, humor is essential in life. People’s reactions to good-natured teasing about their foibles tells us something quite important about them. And this certainly does say something about the path of the golden mean and a truly moral life.
Thanks for the thought-provoking piece!
The best thing to come out of Seinfeld was Curb Your Enthusiasm.
“We inspect artists and writers for actionable wrongdoing.”
Artists and writers must as a matter of critical emergency engage in as much actionable wrongdoing as possible.
Lots of opinions about other TV shows and their merits or lack thereof but not a lot of opinion about the article itself. I thought the piece was very well written and perceptive. I kept wondering where this stream of insight was coming from. If original thought, then congrats to the author.
British fans couldn’t even watch it reliably when it was airing, if I recall correctly. The BBC used to put episodes on erratically at odd times after 11. Hard to imagine in the days of streaming.
Single-camera sitcoms, and especially The Office US, killed the game for 90s sitcoms in my opinion. As a former Friends fan, I shiver at even trying to re-watch these overstated jokes with long pauses and tracks of imaginary audiences somehow choking of laughter after every utterance from the main characters, and remember I once thought these were the funniest things in the world.
Humour has a life-cycle I guess.
Preferred Larry Sanders tbh.
Gotta love it…..Once again GenX is leading the way past all this woke BS.
Seinfeld IS our generation.
Friends was too, but it was our younger sisters. No…in reality, Friends is what we hoped for and Sienfeld is how we actually lived.
Its why our stomachs turn watching all the virtue signaling, fake niceness, posturing for selfies. It makes us sick to our stomachs watching all these people put on airs and try to feed the world their performative happiness and virtue when we know that they are no less fucked up that the rest of us and no more virtuous either.
Say what you like about GenX, we do not have a lot of tolerance for fake.
HBO’s ” Curb your enthusiasm” and Larry David was a predictor of woke to come, and is similar TV genius…
Seinfeld was great because it didn’t teach any lessons on morality.
My favourite Steinfeld episode was the one where Jerry gets lumbered with a dog left abandoned when its boozed-up dog-loving English owner dies on a plane flight. As someone who loathes dogs and their doting owners it was satisfying to see these animals getting some well-deserved satirical contempt for once.
It’s the owners who anthropomorphise their pets. Dogs are just animals that fit in a house. You don’t loathe giraffes or wildebeest do you?
Just the kind of silly commeint I should have expected. Dare to criticise ‘man’s best friend’ and out come the dog apologists with their blame-the-bad-owners trope.
I keep track of dog attack stories whenever I can find them in the news. You might be surprised to know how often these attacks come from dogs with responsible, dog-loving owners who are surprised to find that their precious pet could suddenly become dangerous and inflict serious (often life-changing) injury. There is no need for anyone to keep a large potentially dangerous dog as house pet – especially in an urban apartment. So why do people keep dogs which are large enough and aggressive enough to seriously injure an adult or even kill a child?
There are issues other than the threat of violent attack. Consider, if you will, dog faeces! There ar an estimated 11.1 million pet dogs in the UK depositing an average of 340gm of faeces each per day. That comes to almost 3,800 metric tonnes per day. Even if responsible owners bag it up where does it go? I guess that dog-lovers don’t want to know. (That comes to 1,387,000 metric tonnes of toxic faeces per annum, by the way). Then what about dog urine? Every dog owner has to wait while their precious pet does its territory marking bit by squirting its pee up against any convenient vertical surface. As far as I know the long term consequences of all these urine deposits have not been studied.
I know from experience that dog owners are deeply resistant to criticism – I have been threatened with violence when criticising dog owners face to face. The trouble is these pets give their owners the irrestistable feeling that they are loved and lovable. It’s a form of addiction.
If only… If only…
In my teens I looked on in wonder at my Dad in hysterics watching Dad’s Army. Eventually I came round and learned to love its cleverness. The never seen Captain Mainwaring’s wife, the anticipation of Fraser’s eyebrows signalling ‘we’re doomed.’ Seinfeld used similar repeated jokes, you knew you were going to laugh. ‘Cheers’ for me lacked that, it spoke to my kids but I’d become too old to empathise, they were just silly neurotic kids where The Big Bang Theory recaptured it for all. They were clever neurotic and, bar Penny, could afford to live in a brownstone. You had to wonder at the Cheers finances.
I don’t really know anything about these programmes, but this was an excellent sharp piece of writing
Yeah. Think about when The Honeymooners in the 1950s, with Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, was about a bus driver, a sewer worker, and their wives.
So glad the younger generation is discovering Seinfeld.
Seinfeld has actually stood the test of time rather well. Friends is still cute but the wit falls a bit flat.
I read a book on this topic when it came out in 2000: “Shows About Nothing; Nihilism in Popular Culture from the Exorcist to Seinfeld,” by Thomas Hobbs. Given that the phrase “about nothing” was in quotes in the third paragrah, one would assume the author was aware of the work and has decided not to credit it. But one of the books central themes involved nihilism and degeneracy, both of which are missing in this article, so I’m not so sure. The article makes some interesting observations butwould have benefitted from more background.
Seinfeld remains a timeless piece of comedy for it’s realism, and I would disagree with the notion that it is postmodern in any sense. It never held pretensions to an ideal (like Friends, which provided a sterile and naive picture of the world) but wrote it’s characters as real people. I’ve often felt that is the key to enduring art – real human beings dealing with the paradoxes of life. I remember reading David Foster Wallace and thinking, “Who the hell are these people?” All the while, Jerry and George are in all of us.
In general, I’ve noticed a trend of people rewatching old sitcoms as a form of escapism from the current cultural landscape. I totally get why. It’s almost impossible to get through a modern show without being force fed woke virtues.
Reading the comments here of the “unwoke” in their little circle jerks are pretty hilarious.
So you are woke are you ?
So you never thought to think for yourself ?
That’s what’s really sad.
Thanks for dealing with the tuat.