The dark side of 21st century television comedy


And, of course, there are many exceptions to the comedy’s turn towards obscurity in the 21st century. 30 Rock had a cynical and satirical side to it, but was, at its core, a traditional workplace sitcom – and a series with more jokes per second than perhaps any show in history. Parks and Recreation offered a downright sunny view of local politics for the Obama era. And Schitt’s Creek first struck a mocking pose – look at these obnoxious once rich people forced to live in the middle of nowhere – then challenged that image at every turn to create a utopian view of small town life that accepted. everybody.

The real question is not whether darkness or light will win in comedy in the 21st century. BoJack Horseman is a prime example among many of how true pure comedy – silly, punny, wacky, animated comedy – can turn into a delicate meditation on the meaning of life … and come closer to the answer to the biggest questions than any prestige drama. has in its much more publicized finale. In the series’ finale scene (spoilers ahead), BoJack, released from prison for the day on a pass to attend a wedding, sits on a rooftop with his friend Diane, the closest he can be to find a soul mate. He tells her a little about life in prison, then he shrugs his shoulders. “Well, what are you going to do?” he says. “Life is a bitch and then you die, right?”

“Sometimes,” she said. “Sometimes life is a bitch and then you go on living.” Pause. “But it’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s nice.” The title of the episode is Nice While It Lasted.

This raises the expected question: when will the distinction between comedy and drama become irrelevant? When will we be ready to admit that life is funny and sad, beautiful and tragic, and that the best of any art form reflects all of this? Even, and perhaps above all, television.

The 100 Greatest TV Shows of the 21st Century:

The 100 Greatest Television Series of the 21st Century
Who voted?
How the way we watch television has changed
What makes The Wire such a big number one
Twenty-five series that define the 21st century

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