I’ve heard from many writers and professors, “You know you’re talented when you can write comedy.”
Making someone laugh is a rewarding thing, but difficult to do on the page. I won’t say I can’t write comedy. I’ve never really tried. Don’t get me wrong. There are several comedy films I love. But as a writer, I prefer serious stories. However, I’ve been meaning to crack down and attempt a comedy, just to see how talented I am.
I mention comedy tonight, because I was wondering… if successful comedy is good writing, could we pinpoint a really, really well-written show? The answer is yes. It’s a sitcom. The show is dated, most of the cast has died… but the show still airs in syndication because it’s damn funny.
What show am I talking about?
THE GOLDEN GIRLS of course.
Just in case you have no idea what that is… “GOLDEN GIRLS” began in the 80s. It follows 4 older women as they room together in a home. Their personalities conflict and make life extremely interesting.
The show went for 7 seasons.
Now, I’m positive I have many readers shaking their heads. They’ve probably never heard of the show and they are wondering why anyone would be interested in a show about 4 old ladies? It’s simple. THE WRITING.
At least in my opinion, sitcoms today are dead. They rely on cruel jokes or a character farts or falls down. Stories are one-denominational and forgettable. Minus “THE BIG BANG THEORY” I think it’s safe to say most sitcoms made nowadays suck.
THE GOLDEN GIRLS was different. The premise was solid. Each CHARACTER had a clear, direct motivation, and the actresses hired were the hottest tickets at the time. Lastly, the plots were often cumulative and often memorable. But, the most important thing about this COMEDY was that each episode was guaranteed to make you laugh.
You can’t explain comedy. Jokes from THE GOLDEN GIRLS aren’t knock-knock jokes. They rely on the characters and stories to make them funny. But, what I can explain, is one of the characters and how she was the blunt of most of the comedy.
Rose Nylynd, played by Betty White, was an extremely naive woman. Viewers of the show might call her “stupid”. But the idea was that Rose was so naive, she simply didn’t understand a whole lot of things from a logical perspective. Rose’s lack of understanding leads to many situations where you burst out laughing because she’s the only one who doesn’t get it. Rose also came from “Saint Olaf” where the townspeople were strange and stupid. In almost every episode, Rose would tell a “saint olaf” story. The story was meant to help one of the other women with an issue. But the joke was that the story never had a point or never made any relevant sense to the other women.
The point is, THE GOLDEN GIRLS, if not the best, is one of the best written television shows. If the premise doesn’t interest you, still give it a shot. Save it for a night when you really need to laugh. Cause you will. I mean, when you consider the show is from the 80s and is still being shown on reruns… that must be a clue, right?
BONUS: Watch this short clip from the first episode and see what I’m talking about: