Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Thrill is Gone

I was watching The Office tonight when I realized that something happens to television shows that is (shocking) nothing like it is in real life. While this episode was pretty good and juicy, I loved the show so much more before Jim and Pam together. Why is it that tv shows wherein the best dialogue and plot draw from sexual tension between the main characters suck once said characters get it on?

Don't believe me? Think about Northern Exposure. Great show before Maggie and Fleishman hooked up. But fast forward a half a season and the show is so awful, Rob Morrow leaves the show only to be replaced by Paul Provenza. No more jokes about trying to get a decent bialy in Juneau and definitely no more furtive glances between our two stars.

Of course, the patron saint of "will-they-or-won't-they" plot lines was Cheers, which featured not one, but two examples of the plot devise. Cheers avoided some of the doldrums of other shows because Sam Malone was such a pimp. First, we had the brawn versus brain chemistry between Sam and Diane. When that tension fizzled the producers and Shelley Long were smart enough to trade the less charismatic character and brought in Rebecca. Though after they got hot between the sheets, Cheers grew cold in its Thursday night time slot.

I'm undoubtedly neglecting other examples of this unfortunate side effect of sitcom character nooky that I'm hereby dubbing "The Third Season Slump." If you know of a show that proves my theory or can offer a corollary, please leave a comment!

1 comment:

Matt said...

My first experience with this was Mork and Mindy.

And while it's hard to blame their demise on it, Friends was a good example of how writers tend to put themselves in positions where relationships are the end of the story. More poetic friends of mine say there are only two real endings - marriage or death. Sitcoms are wierd because they have to put off any sense of ending lest they end.

(Also: hi! nice blog)