Everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure genre is getting funnier, weirder and more authentic. Here’s why we’re seeing it happen on TV.
Deciding to stick with a TV series is no small commitment. It demands a certain level of trust, as week after week (or, in the era of binge-watching, hour after hour) we invite characters and their stories back into our living rooms. As a relationship, it’s interactive. It’s volatile. And most importantly, it’s intimate.
In that sense, TV would seem an ideal medium for romantic comedy. After all, from “Mad About You” to “How I Met Your Mother,” sitcoms have been delivering romantic stories with good humor for decades. But the beats and aesthetic of the rom-com as we know it — think “You’ve Got Mail” — has long been the domain of studio movie-making.
Eventually, the “You’ve Got Mail” formula turned into a trend. The trend turned into a trope. And as for where we stand now, the 90-minute rom-com is a far cry from what it used to be. (For an abridged version of this history, scroll through Katherine Heigl’s filmography from the mid-2000s on.)
The indefinite nature of series television presents an immediate challenge to this closure-friendly genre, but it also presents a unique opportunity. And you might say that the opportunity has been seized: As the classic rom-com has diminished in stature on the big screen, in have come diverse reimaginings in TV, from FX’s “You’re the Worst” to FOX’s “The Mindy Project” to Amazon’s new hit “Catastrophe.”…
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