Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sitcoms

I had a great idea for a blog post, but it was right before bed, so I didn't write it immediately. Then I remembered it while messing around on Twitter. So I just tweeted about it instead:







And now it's a blog post too because I'm too lazy/sick/whatever to come up with something else.

If you don't know, Eddie Huang is a chef whose memoir was turned into an ABC sitcom. He's mad because the network sitcom version of his life leaves out the domestic violence he experienced, his grandfather's suicide and his grandmother's bound feet. (Read his tweets about it here, if you're so inclined.)

My own childhood wasn't as bad as Huang's, but this isn't a contest. Mind you, some people think my parents should have their own sitcom, but my brother and I both know there's more to it than the wacky bickering they do in front of company. So I understand the impulse to call the sanitized comedy family a sham. And we forget that the characters on a sitcom aren't enjoying living through each week's crisis as much as we enjoy watching it. It's only funny with distance. 

But Hell, I'm half tempted to write a sitcom pilot about my own family just so I can see us all without the psychological scars. It wouldn't be us anymore, because your baggage forms you, but it would be comforting to visit that world. 

Kind of like how 9/11 didn't happen in the world of any sitcom airing in 2001. The characters of Friends and Will & Grace didn't discuss 9/11, not because they were so self absorbed that they took no notice of it, but because it didn't happen in their New Yorks. Those characters weren't living in a nervous, jumpy, scarred NYC, but in an alternate timeline NYC where 9/11 never happened. It was such a relief to watch that alternate NYC. 

I'm not saying that Eddie Huang should stop complaining and enjoy Fresh Off the Boat for what it is. But I am saying that in his position, I would say, "It wasn't like that. This is better."

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