Big Bang Theory

The Non-Conformist View of TV Characters

When you look at the popular sitcoms; Friends, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory etc., you can instantly say which characters from these respective shows are the most adulated. For instance, I can say with confidence that of the aforementioned shows, Joey Tribbiani, Barney Stinson and Sheldon Cooper are the most popular among the masses. But why does the common viewer find them so engaging?

Popular… Joey is one of TV’s most favoured characters despite his many personality flaws.

If I run with the three characters I’ve already selected then we can see huge flaws in each’s personality. Starting with Joey, he is moronic, selfish and gluttonous. He often acts with little thought for consequence and goes in to Monica & Chandler’s apartment with the sole intention of gorging himself on their inventory.  Barney Stinson is similarly self-centered. He also shows signs of narcissism not to mention his horrendous promiscuity, a characteristic he shares with Joey too. Sheldon is not comparable with either predecessor in that way, but from what I have seen of The Big Bang Theory (which isn’t that much), he is conceited and cold towards people, even his friends. For all their criticisms, these characters each have positives to go with them but it certainly does make you wonder whether the average viewer would warm to them as much if they knew them in real-life. I do actually like Barney’s character for the most part and can see why people are drawn to this larger-than-life, abnormal persona that they present – entertainment. But at the same time, isn’t it kind of irresponsible to promote such negative personality traits?

Authentic… Lynette’s palpable realism is not rewarded in fans.

Like I say, I do like some of these popular characters but in all honesty, I tend to favour the underdogs of television. A list of some of my favourite TV characters in recent times consists of Super Claire Dunphy, Lynette Scavo, Edie Britt, Jane Kerkovich-Williams, Robin Scherbatsky. What do you notice? All female, all usually unpopular. Now, I don’t really think gender has any dictation on my preference of TV character – it’s merely a coincidence. But what I do see from this list is realism. These could all be real people. If I walk down the street, I could easily bump in to one of these characters. I’m not going to come across a suit worshipper, a ridiculously imbecilic lothario or a big-headed physics snob. Personally, I like to be able to relate to the characters on screen, I like to see myself and others in them. Lynette Scavo and Claire Dunphy are frighteningly realistic and could represent 70% of mothers in Western society, something that cannot be said of their eccentric co-stars. Other characters such as Edie Britt and Robin Scherbatsky, although presented as strong independent women have so much depth and vulnerability especially for two shows that rely on comedic elements.

To be frank, I can’t really fathom why these brain-dead, offbeat types are preferred to the brilliantly observed realistic characters on the box. I think you have to appreciate how much harder it is to write a character in a relatable way. It’s easy to exaggerate mannerisms and actions of a character to the point it becomes ridiculous but to pair the dramatic twists and turns of the small screen with believable characters is well and truly skillful. In fact, it’s a surprise in a generation fascinated by reality TV that these characters are less welcomed but maybe it’s because we hate the fact that these characters remind us… of us.

Advertisements

Why I Love Modern Family

I usually find obsessive fans of anything quite irritating but I have to say that’s rather hypocritical of me. Especially when it comes to Modern Family. I know the show like the back of my hand and given the amount of time I spend watching it, that should be no surprise. After covering the characters, the best episodes, predictions for future seasons and a review of the show as a whole, I was at a loss as to what to write about Modern Family next. So I’ve settled on a shameless list of praise for my favourite TV programme of all-time.

So here are just some of the reasons why I adore it so much.

The Family

Loveable… Modern Family is the sort of programme that makes you wish their life was yours.

In truth, I’m quite a family-orientated person. I spend a lot of time with them and like the extended Pritchett clan, my family is big, loud and loving. My family aren’t quite as hilarious but in a general sense, they do remind me of my loved ones.

It’s actually funny

There have been plenty of comedies to have graced television in the past that have simply not been funny (Scrubs). A lot of sitcoms are simply nice to watch, they’re easy going and they make you snigger occasionally. Whereas, Modern Family is relentless. I often spiral in to fits of laughter watching the programme, even episodes I’ve seen before and not many comedies have made me do that.

The characters

The diversity is fantastic. They’re all very unique and offer different forms of comedy that against all odds, blends very well. I’ve already written about how much I love the characters and I’ve recently update my character ranking so you can view and VOTE on that here; https://thechriswhitingshow.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/modern-family-my-favourite-characters/

It’s very successful but not too popular…

Steamroll… Modern Family has accumulated an average of 4.5 Emmys per season

Sometimes things become a victim of their own hype – thankfully, Modern Family doesn’t. It achieves good ratings in the USA, around the 12 million mark and around 1 million in the UK. It has won a colossal 18 Emmy awards in 4 short years, already surpassing Friends and Seinfeld, leaving it just three behind Cheers. But it isn’t too popular, like the incredibly over-rated, Big Bang Theory. And thankfully, it’s modest fanbase makes it all the more loveable.

The kid stars

I tend to find kids quite awkward to watch in TV shows, because they’re younger they tend to lack awareness and obviously experience of how to behave on camera but you wouldn’t know that with Modern Family’s child stars. From the Pilot, they have performed at the highest level that can be expected. It’s extremely impressive in to just what talented actors Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and Sarah Hyland (yes, I know she’s not actually a kid) are. And it’s exciting to see where they’ll go from here.

It’s rewatchability

Biggest fan… Inaugural #MOFY of the week, Chris Whiting

Building on what I said earlier, not only is Modern Family, side-splittingly hilarious, it is seemingly ageless too. I’ve cycled through all four seasons on several occasions and even after the thirty seventh viewing, I’m still laughing at the jokes and even noticing a stolen glance or snide remark, I hadn’t noticed previously that makes me laugh even more. A timeless classic, without doubt.

They care about the fans

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by a producer at USA, the network where Modern Family is syndicated, to help promote the show before it airs every weeknight from September 24th. I was tracked down and chosen as an honorary #MOFY , to help build the #MOFYNation. I was even given the inaugural Modern Family fan of the week award and sent a limited edition t-shirt for free! What an honour!