apr 4

Watching TV Watching You

Just because 30 Rock sucks this season (oh shush, it does), doesn't mean we can't talk about self-reflexive sitcoms, postmodernism and those crazy millennials.

Also - not mentioned in the essay but worth discussing: NBC's Community is not only a better show than 30 Rock this year, it, along with Arrested Development, might be among the first 'post-postmodern' sitcoms. -NA


YES. Community is the only show on NBC I watch anymore -- although the last couple of episodes have not been so good.

posted by Chris__ at 7:16 PM on April 4, 2010

Yes to community. But can you really just say "it, along with Arrested Development, might be among the first 'post-postmodern' sitcoms," without any explanation or anything?

Sponge Bob Squarepants.

posted by alesh at 10:27 AM on April 5, 2010

Whoops! You're quite right. Sorry 'bout that.

I guess what I'm thinking is that while the Simpsons, Family Guy and 30 Rock use all that winking irony to return to stable or familiar ideals: the family in the animated shows and the pursuit of success or love in 30 Rock.

Community does the whole self-reflexive thing too, but not in the service of returning to what we know; instead, it's about finding a non-traditional family and making do at a community college. So instead of upending 'master narratives' by playing with them, it actually suggests new narratives - which is what I think the thing after postmodernism has to do. In a sense, art/entertainment have to return to being sincere without being naive -i.e. have to actually state a belief in something without trotting out hoary cliches about 'fundamental truths' or whatever.

And now that I've typed it out, it seems sorta' silly and full of holes - but there ya' go.

posted by Nav at 11:15 AM on April 5, 2010

What about Modern Family?

posted by marrina at 3:50 PM on April 5, 2010

Never seen it, but I hear it's pretty similar in tone/vibe? Do tell.

posted by Nav at 7:37 PM on April 5, 2010

Nav, right on. That's why it seems so refreshing to me. Even when episodes don't work, it's still not the point-and-laugh circus sideshows that now pass for TV. Its constant references to the 80s are appropriate -- if it came out in the mid-80s, it'd fit in nicely ... now, the aw-shucks tone of the series seems revolutionary.

posted by Chris__ at 11:06 PM on April 5, 2010

Modern Family is well constructed, funny, and has great characters. It's not as.. pretentious, I guess, as 30 Rock which is actually what this article talks about as well.

posted by marrina at 11:04 AM on April 7, 2010

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