Has Comedy Changed on Television
By Bob Branco
If you are old enough to remember what television was like 30, 40, or even 50 years ago, ask yourselves if television comedy shows are as humorous today as they once were.
I have been listening to comedy shows for more than 50 years, and I have reached my own conclusions. I don’t laugh as much at comedy as I used to. Like many other types of programs, comedy seems to be more watered down, and the acting isn’t the same. Either the characters talk too fast or act more juvenile, or they are just too bland for my taste.
Specifically, I enjoyed The Jeffersons, I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and other classic comedy programs. The jokes were more noticeable, and they fit right into the show’s plot very nicely. We understood what was going on, and our interest was always there. There was nothing else like it. We television fans talked about the actors and actresses who played lead and supporting roles, and we couldn’t wait for the next episode.
Today, when I hear about comedy shows that are advertised, I yawn and say, “Who cares?” With rare exception, I simply can’t be enthusiastic about today’s comedy. Perhaps if I went to see a popular modern comedian, I would be proven wrong, but I’m talking about television right now.
Another aspect of today’s humor which I don’t find very appealing is the use of questionable language. I don’t think prime time television is the place for such language. It belongs on HBO or any other mature network, but during prime time, children are up. Today’s kids will find ways to see these types of shows, especially when they have more opportunities to get away with it. Let’s face it, the modern generation has more resources available to them, so they can defy their parents and watch television anyway. There are smart phones and other modern devices which allow this.
I don’t know what the future holds for television, but I am concerned. I know society has changed, but I haven’t. As a result, I just stick to sports, news, the weather channel, Judge Judy, and other more conservative programming.
(Originally published in Word Matters)
This essay was taken from my book, Weighing Things Up, Book Two; More Essays on Trends, Technology and Present-Day Society. For more information, go to www.dldbooks.com/robertbranco/