HowTo:Start your own Sitcom
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“I used to have my own sitcom called Wet and Wilde. Oh wait, that was just amateur porn.”
Let me guess: you're a bigwig television executive producer and you only have five minutes to come up with a new show to fill the empty slot on Tuesday night. There are no good ideas for reality shows left (Except maybe one where people compete to get hired as a farmer! No, one where up-and-coming models have to live in a mansion with Kramer! Wait, what?!). There's only one solution left - you have to learn how to start your own sitcom.
This is the tricky part. It's hard to come up with a storyline that works. Not because it has to be good. It just has to be slightly different then every other sitcom that's been cancelled. The characters can even be the same, they just have to have different names. To help you decide on the premise of your sitcom, just fill in the blanks below (just like Mad Libs!).
- One crazy stupid womanizer named __________ is forced to live with his (brother/friend/love partner) , named __________ who is a giant nerd... with hilarious results!
- A redneck country bumpkin named __________ must move to the city... how will (he/she) ever survive with (his/her) new city-slicker (co-workers/roomates)!
- Two lazy parents, a fat loser father named __________ and his wife named __________ who is obviously too hot for him have to raise their crazy teenage children in the suburbs. Optional: a crazy relative (preferably a grandfather or uncle) moves in
Of course, if that fails, just come up with some cliche saying and turn one of the words in it into the main character's name, and make up crap from there. I've completed some examples for you:
- Knock on Wood, about some dentist named Keith Wood who has to move in with his black gay cousin.
- The Grass is Always Greener about some bimbo named Cynthia Greener who's a complete street whore who wins the lottery and moves into a rich neighbourhood.
There's one last method, but it is only to be used as a last resort. Just jam two people from different ethnicities together and make sure that one of them can't speak English. Done!
If you can't come up with a decently creative name for your show, just pussy out and name it after a hand from poker, like Royal Flush or Three of a Kind.
There are two kinds of plots that need to be figured out for a television show: short term episode plots, and long term season plots. However, sitcoms don't contain long term plots, which saves you a lot of work. You see, sitcom writers only have a memory span of 10 seconds, just like goldfish, so they don't have the mental capacity to worry about useless things like character development or season finale cliffhangers. There is a simple solution to figuring out plots for each episode simply make an episode using each point below:
- One character gets a new job, they deal with it, at the end of the episode they're fine.
- Another character deals with a fear they have, and after being a pussy for a while, another character forces them to face their fear.
- A new person enters the show that everyone likes, but one character knows they're a phony. By the end, everybody else finds out and they send that Slick Rick packin'!
- Christmas episode! Extended family of one character gets caught at the airport in a blizzard, one character's snotty kid stops believing in Santa, another character dresses up as Mr. Claus to solve the problem, then all characters realize that Jesus was super cool, and are glad that there aren't any Hannukah or Ramadan specials on this here sitcom.
- One character asks out the principal of another character's school. Hilarity ensues!
- Enough joking around. Insert a serious episode about drugs/racism here. A nice touch is to end the episode with a PSA by the actors. That makes it look like the actors actually care.
-4 month hiatus-
- Sparks fly between two characters. The characters have to be hetero though. Save that gay stuff for the next serious social issue episode!
- Things get serious when the two characters go to elope. Find out how it ends next season!
That concludes season one. For season two, just copy the same episodes, but mix around which characters get in which situations. We in the business call this the "Screech-Slater Switcharoo".
edit Success of Your Show
Don't worry - as the creator of a sitcom, you'll never have to deal with success.