If life was a TV sitcom

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Column by Robert Villanueva

By Robert Villanueva


What would life be like if it was like a TV sitcom?

More than likely it would be more exasperating and annoying than it would be funny.

Not that I think about this very often, but sometimes when I watch a TV show I begin thinking about how ridiculous the plot and characters are.

Sure, it’s supposed to be funny, and the idea is to laugh at such an absurd situation. But sometimes I can’t help but shake my head and give thanks very few of those in my life are like characters in a TV sitcom.

I think that would get old real fast.

One of the best examples is when a TV character goes to extremes to cover up a lie, thereby creating a worse situation than just being honest in the first place.

I call it the Cousin Larry Syndrome. (Yeah, that’s right: I’ve referenced the ancient TV show “Perfect Strangers,” mainly because it became a perfect example.)

It always seemed Cousin Larry got himself into trouble by lying despite the warnings of his cousin, Balki. Inevitably, the truth would be discovered anyway, so what was the point?

Some years ago I heard about an observation by someone who said all sitcoms are built upon the basic premise that its characters must ask, “What are we gonna do?”

This is amazingly accurate.

In fact, shortly after becoming aware of that concept, I began noticing that some form of that question — ie., “Now what do we do?” or “How are we gonna get out of this?” — is literally asked during any given TV sitcom and even some dramas.

If life was a TV sitcom, you’d have to get used to obnoxious characters who apparently you consider friends, despite insulting and verbally abusing others on a regular basis.

Then there are characters who are just plain dumb that seem to be entrusted with fairly important tasks on a regular basis. Disaster ensues, but the character is forgiven. Then the situation is repeated the following week.

That is known as the Gilligan syndrome. (Yep. I’ve reached back to reference an even more ancient TV show than “Perfect Strangers.”)

No matter how many times Gilligan got the opportunity to save the castaways he invariably messed up their chances. It was a wonder the castaways didn’t throw him into the lagoon with cement shoes.

I’m just saying.

But then there would be no basis for the show. And let’s face it, sitcoms are all about the ridiculous and absurd.

Ultimately, all of life’s trials and follies can be ridiculous to the point of being absurd depending on how you look at them. I know my life is not free from the occasional ridiculous or absurd situation, and I know it includes a few characters that might be suited for a sitcom.

In fact, I remember referring to a friend as Cousin Larry when he decided lying to his girlfriend about some fairly inconsequential accident was the best course of action. He got caught.

Fortunately, those ridiculous or absurd situations are not weekly episodes, and most of the sitcom-like characters in my life are like the extras or supporting cast who just add a bit of levity without going to extremes.

That’s a good thing because my life as a TV sitcom would be relatively boring.

And happily so.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com or (270) 505-1743.