Tanaquil2 at Tanaquil2 at
Sat Dec 11 21:49:00 EST 1999

In a message dated 12/11/99 4:59:36 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
Jacob at writes:
>On Sat, 11 Dec 1999 01:36:26 EST, Courtney M Eckhardt wrote:
 >I can totally understand this as well... I *hate* sitcoms with a royal
 >purple passion equal to my hatred Barney

        Barney....hee hee hee!  There's a sort of evil fascination about that 
show.  Just when you think it can't get does!

 >I cannot *stand* any entertainment where humor is
 >derived from the constant and repetitive humiliation of the characters
 >one is supposed to be empathizing with... for a variety of reasons.
 >The first is that I never had any patience whatsoever with people who
 >could not learn from their own mistakes.  The second stems from the
 >fact that frequent acute humiliations comprise a large number of my
 >most vivid childhood memories, and I cannot watch a sitcom without
 >reliving every dumb thing I have ever done like a horror movie in my
 >own head.  

        "America's Funniest Home Videos" makes me cringe.  I can't laugh at 
people falling off ladders onto concrete, or children being terrified by 
tarantulas.  I don't know why they call them funny.  If I was very young, I 
think they would make me cry.

>Jacob at writes:
>I enjoy most sitcoms, I'm afraid.

        I like some of the old ones like Mary Tyler Moore.  It wasn't until I 
had lived in the US for a while that I 'got'  "Archie Bunker", or "Barney 
Miller," or "Taxi, "or even "MASH."  But I liked them after a while.  I don't 
watch many of the current ones--mostly because we cancelled our cable a few 
years ago so we could get our life back.  But I confess to watching "Boy 
Meets World," and "Sabrina," on network tv, on Friday night, and claim Emma 
as my excuse!
I miss what they call Britcoms here: "One Foot in the Grave," "Ever 
Decreasing Circles," "Bread."  Never cared for Benny Hill, but did love 
"Fawlty Towers."  I think because in all of them, the situations arose out of 
the characters' personalities and foibles and obsessions.  In "Fawly Towers" 
especially there's a sort of dreadful inevitability about Basil's fate in 
each episode, that's painful to watch but somehow mesmerizing.
I used to like "The Comic Strip Presents" especially the one called "Five Go 
Mad in Dorset" that parodied Enid Blyton.  I like "Chef!" with Lenny Henry.

>And I laughed myself silly at "Something
>about Mary" which is very much based on the pain and suffering of the cast.
>The humor of humiliation can be too broad, and I dislike the modern trend to
>make everything very crude.  That said, I'm a typical male in my movie
>tastes and love shows like "Better off Dead", "Dumb and Dumber", and
>"Something about Mary".

        I don't know these, sorry; but I don't care for 'very crude' either, 
especially if it's a lazy cop-out for strong writing.
>The reason I like them is because I *do* see myself in the characters, in an
>odd and distorted way.  I would never go to the extent of the characters,
>but I recognize the capability for silliness in myself and appreciate the
>predicaments and find humor in them.

        I think that's what does it for me in stuff like "Fawlty Towers," and 
particularly "Ever Decreasing Circles."  Oh!  and "Open All Hours" and 
"Porridge."  "One Foot in the Grave" makes me laugh till I hurt.

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