Column: Why are TV’s two big fantasy shows so epically humorless?
I have never been a fan of TV. I watch enough of it to know what shows will leave me laughing and what will leave me rolling on the floor.
If you were to tell me the last two TV shows I would watch were How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, I would not believe you. This is what I found to be the key to my own love/hate relationship with TV. I am not in the camp of people who would say The Big Bang Theory is just as funny as any other sitcom episode. My problem is that I find the show to be a poor fit with real life events. The events in a Big Bang Theory episode are typically funny because the characters are just very funny in their own right, whether they are going to the gym, trying to make a living or dating.
While I like How I Met Your Mother, all the events are more often than not based on events in real life.
Last night I was watching the Super Bowl, and just before the big game it showed the halftime show (I did like the second half of the song, but I didn’t know who sang it) and a guy on the side of the stage with the big camera was doing some sort of parody of himself. It was very funny, and the fact that the people in the front row who were rooting for the team weren’t laughing really drove home the absurdity of the whole situation. The reality is that the halftime show was an obvious parody, yet the people in the front row seemed to accept it as real.
One of the reasons I really liked The Big Bang Theory is that it was based directly on real life. Every episode was about a real person in a real life situation: a couple making a living, raising a child, or just living a normal life. The characters are not caricatures, and they are not just funny because of the circumstances they are in. They are funny because of the way they behave.
Now, when I saw the characters on The Big Bang Theory, they were funny because of the circumstances they were in, not because of the people they were with. With How I Met Your Mother, the characters are not laughing at the circumstances, they are laughing at the absurdity of the situation. The Big Bang Theory, on the other hand, is a parody of the