British Comedy Guide

State of the Arc

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Thursday 1st October 2020, 2:19pm
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,273 posts

The whole series Arc, the single series Arc, the little two or three episode mini Arc, any other kind of Arc if there is any, are you fans of them, or moreover God forbid, do you use them Angy in your works?

Personally I can't stand the little bastards, not in Sitcoms, no, no and no! They're everywhere in so-called sitcoms now and it's making them look more and more like soaps to me. Not good! Sick

If you do, then please say why you like them, and why you use them? (Although I know this is because they're a handy little cop out for those who can't be bothered to think up whole new storylines every week).

So, the increasingly popular narrative arc, is it a good'n Angelic or a bad'n Pirate ?

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Billy Bunter

  • Thursday 1st October 2020, 3:51pm
  • The Sussex Coast, England
  • 1,379 posts

I'm looking forward to the Arc on Sunday at Longchamp. Enable going for a record third win.

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Lazzard

  • Thursday 1st October 2020, 4:34pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,780 posts

Stories are arcs.
Drama is all about arcs.
Every a single episode of any narrative piece has an arc.
The difference is that, essentially nothing is learned in a sitcom, so the character doesn't grow but instead re-sets so that they can repeat the same mistakes in the next episode.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Thursday 1st October 2020, 6:19pm
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,273 posts
Quote: Lazzard @ 1st October 2020, 4:34 PM

Stories are arcs.
Every a single episode of any narrative piece has an arc.

Yes yes. As I said, Series Arcs or part series arcs. I don't mind the odd double episode that we got in OFAH or Porridge or the odd reference to an event from an earlier episode, but the patent building of a whole Sitcom series around a continuing narrative arc is Not the domain of the Sitcom, that's what Serials and Soaps are for, not the unique little Sitcom.

Quote: Lazzard @ 1st October 2020, 4:34 PM

The difference is that, essentially nothing is learned in a sitcom, so the character doesn't grow but instead re-sets so that they can repeat the same mistakes in the next episode.

Exactly. You seem to be agreeing with me then that most new 'sitcoms' are not true sitcoms, as I've been whingeing on about for yonks now.

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Lazzard

  • Thursday 1st October 2020, 6:50pm [Edited]
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,780 posts
Quote: Alfred J Kipper @ 1st October 2020, 6:19 PM

You seem to be agreeing with me then that most new 'sitcoms' are not true sitcoms, as I've been whingeing on about for yonks now.

Probably true.
But I don't really mind.

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kate to the party

  • Thursday 1st October 2020, 8:20pm
  • England
  • 56 posts

I like arcs in sitcoms where the central characters remain incapable of change throughout, but you see the secondary/recurring characters go through really drastic, permanent changes over time (e.g. Sophie in Peep Show, Cricket in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and the comedy comes from the trail of destruction the main characters have wrought.

Definitely agree that sitcom characters have to reset/should be 'trapped' in some way, but I think you can be creative with it -every series of Alan Partridge has a different setting/arc/family dynamic but he never really learns anything and so remains trapped just by being himself, and the characters surrounding him in each series are still always unable to escape him/each other.

I feel like the story arcs that seem soapy and unnecessary feel that way because they've been really obviously shoe-horned in and just aren't believable enough. But as long as your arcs reinforce how consistent/well-written your characters are, you can do pretty much whatever you want.

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Lazzard

  • Thursday 1st October 2020, 10:19pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,780 posts

I think the terrible truth is, I like comedy a lot more than I like sitcoms.

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Chappers

  • Sunday 4th October 2020, 7:29pm
  • Surreyish., England
  • 31,272 posts

The best sitcoms are those where it doesn't matter if you've missed the previous episode.