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Optimistic Comedy, Still in Trying Times

by Hülya AFAT

As the world goes through many changes, the world of comedy transforms as well. Abandoning the jokes made on vulnerabilities or other people’s expenses has led to a new sense of comedy. Last year’s Emmy Award Record Breaker Schitt’s Creek is the prime example of the fresh perspective of television. 


The first and most significant difference of Schitt’s Creek from any other TV comedy is that the universe they created is free from discrimination and homophobia. There are many other comedy series that include Queer characters; such as Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, One Day At A Time; however, those shows also include their struggle with discrimination due to their identities. Secondly, since Schitt’s Creek focuses on a dysfunctional family who re-learns how to be a family and how to navigate through the real world after losing their fortune, their own journey on how to love and show affection to one another takes up most of the plotlines. Another approach that is unorthodox compared to the rest of the TV shows is the happy ending that the gay couple had instead of the usual painful finals or break-ups. 


Despite the fact that the pilot of the series was aired in 2015, the show's popularity expanded when the show debuted on Netflix in 2017. The transformation of the Rose family as they learned to love and respect each other throughout 6 seasons was the most intriguing part of the show. Schitt’s Creek becoming a fan-favorite in its last 2 seasons was unfortunate, however, the sudden popularity did not affect the Showrunner Dan Levy’s plan for 6 seasons total for the show. 


This year’s Emmy Awards also had a highlighted Comedy Series with 7 awards won. The show is called Ted Lasso and revolves around an American Football coach getting hired as a coach for a football team in the UK. As silly as the premise of the show, we quickly discover the main character Ted Lasso is a very kind and loving person whose primary goal is to make the players the best versions of themselves instead of prioritizing winning matches. The character Ted Lasso was originally created for a commercial series for NBC in 2013, however, the show was created 7 years later. We can interpret this fact as the need for a positivity boost on TV and in the world during the last couple of years. Even though the more emotional turn of the second season is rather unusual for a comedy series, the show does not stop being the fan favorite. The only issue we need to address about the series is that it is produced and distributed by Apple TV+ which is not a company known for its ethical business practices globally.


You may call this popularity of feel-good comedy series an escape from reality or re-fueling the hopes for a better future and society, regardless of the name, we have to acknowledge this is an improvement for both TV and its watchers. Giving these two TV shows as examples for the current popular feel-good TV series does not mean that we do not acknowledge the process of the comedy series getting rid of the offensive humor and becoming more inclusive in the last decade. We can only hope to see more of this transformation and more of the comedy shows that promote love and kindness while continuing to make us laugh.

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