It’s not easy writing a good sitcom script. A bad one, on the other hand, seems to come naturally for many writers.
Ergo, "Hank." (Or should that be, "R.I.P., ‘Hank’"?)
One of the hallmarks of a crappy comedy episode is the inclusion of at least three cliched sitcom fallback lines. You know, those cliches you’ve heard repeatedly on multiple shows and even in movies.
Like when a character states something glaringly obvious ("Hey, that rain outside is getting pretty heavy") and another character shoots back a snarky, "Ya THINK!?")
Thankfully, one Hollywood writer/producer has begun a rebellion of sorts against such hack writing. At the very least, he’s admitted his peers have a problem.
The brave soul is none other than Dan Schneider, who first shot to fame as one of the smart-aleck kids on 1980s sitcom "classic" "Head of the Class."
Schneider, avoiding the Adam Rich/Danny Bonaduce track, morphed into a super-successful TV producer by specializing in kiddie and tween-centric shows (latest hit: "iCarly") after he grew up. He also likes to Tweet and blog.
Recently, Schneider — writing on his DanWarp blog — posted the following list of 16 fallback phrases he wishes would be banned in 2010.
At one point, some of these were probably funny. Now, they’ve been worn into the ground like a Black Eyed Peas song.
By the way, Schneider’s post isn’t condescending towards his fellow scribes whatsover. He even admits he might have trouble avoiding some of the lines on the list (specifically, the word "really.")
(Thankfully, those of us who toil in print never use cliches. Nope.)
Anyway, here’s Schneider’s hack hit list… along with four more phrases we’d like to see banned, too.
1. “Not so much" and its even more tired cousin, "Eh, not so much."
2. "Too much information!”
3. "And by [that] I mean [this]."
4. "I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit."
5. “Good times.”
6. “Did I say that out loud?"
7. "______ much?" (e.g. "Jealous much?" "Angry much?")
8. "Hey, stop eating my dinner, Eatie McEaterson!" (or any similar phrase that ends in Blank-y McBlankerson).
9. "Really?!" (this one will be the hardest for me to stop using).
10. “It’s like a party in my mouth.” (in reference to food or drink that tastes good).
11. “Hey, don’t go there!"
12. “Burn!” (spoken after someone has delivered an insult).
13. "Alrighty then."
14. "Ya THINK?"
15. “Thanks for sharing."
16. Best. _____. Ever.
The MoJoe additions:
17. "Why don’t you tweet that/post it on your Facebook?"
18. "I don’t think so!"
19. "Don’t make me…" (followed by a character promising something bad/crazy to someone).
20. "That’s what she said!"/"Blurg" (applies only to "The Office" and "30 Rock," respectively).
BONUS: Searching the words "sitcom cliche" on Google produced this modestly amusing anti-hack rant from a British (Australian?) sitcom fan/hater. Good times!