- Wednesday 7th January 2009, 8:51pm
- Newcastle Upon Tyne, England
- 159 posts
Quote: Timbo @ January 7 2009, 3:27 PM GMT
Interesting discussion. A thought that occurs to me is that older shows were often more linear than most modern sitcoms, with a single central premise being twisted and turned, rather than separate plot lines being intertwined. Galton & Simpson are masters of this, though capable of more complex plotting as well. Clement and La Frenais would sometimes come up with a premise and just riff on it without any plot twists (Bob and Terry trying not to hear the result, Fletcher trying to get some peace and quiet).
Even shows with an ensemble cast such as Dad's Army tended to rely on "Group Plots".
I wonder whether the current emphasis on subplots owes something to the influence of American shows such as Taxi and Friends, where ensemble casting and star egos meant everyone had to have equal screen time.
The influence of farce may also be a factor, earlier writers having come up through music hall and radio, and perhaps being less influenced by the theatre.
Good points, Timbo. Now that I think about it, yeah Dad's Army was pretty much a group plot show. Funny how the idea of a Group Plot is absent from so many how-to books, especially when most the one's I've read make a big deal out of older 'classic' sitcoms being much better than new ones.