Uncle Jesse vs. The Huffington Post???

Recently, a Huffington Post blogger criticized the distorted reality of ’90s TV situation comedies, such as Friends and Full House. This provoked a rebuttal from actor John Stamos, who played Uncle Jesse on Full House.

I can’t disagree with Annelia Alex’s observations…but I don’t think it’s limited to the 1990s, or to sitcoms. I remember watching The Waltons with my parents back in the ’70s. Dad would often make this statement at the end of the episodes: “Dirt poor, but they had that big house and owned the whole mountain!”

Personally, I’ve found it surprising that some characters have such nice homes, given the circumstances they’re supposedly in….

My mother’s gripe was against a popular nighttime soap, Dynasty. When Joan Collins joined the cast as Blake Carrington’s scheming ex-wife, Alexis, and moved into a house on the Carrington estate, she made a habit of entering the main house without invitation and doing whatever she pleased. Mom always found this annoying. Perhaps because, like Blake’s then-wife, Krystle, Mom was a second wife. “I’d send her ass flying back out if she barged into my house!” Mom declared on more than one occasion.

Soaps are guiltier of stretching reality than most shows. The Bold and the Beautiful is an example. The show’s current resident scheming shrew, Quinn Fuller, has gone to some pretty ridiculous lengths to make sure her son Wyatt wins the hand of clueless blonde heiress Hope Logan, even coming close to killing Wyatt’s half brother/romantic rival, Liam Spencer…and Liam’s the only one who sees through her lies.

I guess Mommy doesn’t think her son is wonderful enough to win the girl on his own charms.

But getting back to sitcoms…my favorite, The Big Bang Theory, is chock full of “that would never happen in real life” moments. Most of them involve resident genius/pain in the butt Sheldon Cooper. Sheldon may be a genius in physics, but he’s hopeless in the everyday world. Sarcasm eludes him. He believes the world revolves around him and drives everyone around him nuts–yet they allow him to rule their lives, always choosing where they eat, what movie they see, etc. He has a schedule for everything–including bowel movements! His roommate, Leonard, also a physicist, had to sign a detailed (and absurd) roommate agreement to move into the apartment. He’s not only a roommate, he’s Sheldon’s personal chauffeur.

Sheldon and Leonard have been roommates for seven years. In the real world, Leonard would have either moved out or murdered Sheldon within the first month!

Last week, in the show’s season finale, Sheldon was upset at the news that Leonard is going to marry Penny, the aspiring actress/waitress who lives across the hall.”You’re putting [her] happiness above mine?” Sheldon demanded incredulously.

“Well…yes,” Leonard admitted.

Sheldon couldn’t believe it. Seriously, he was baffled that Leonard wouldn’t put him first.

I’m not quite sure I believe it, either. Beyond her looks, Penny’s not much of a prize. She drinks too much and has been a bit of a tramp. On occasion, she’s made comments that would indicate she thinks she’s too good for Leonard. But the good-natured, neurotic physicist with painfully low esteem happily overlooks that…okay, I guess some guys would put up with anything to get the girl….


28 responses

  1. Never watch the other shows but I do watch the Big Bang Theory.
    Sheldon drives me crazy but I have dealt with some people like that and they do think the world revolves around them. Several were extreamly mean so Sheldon is better than most. Plus I love his Mother.
    They one who bothers me is Penny. She has no redeeming qualities and is getting by on her looks alone and the fact for a few drinks she will have sex with anyone. (Ragis) In may ways she is worst than Sheldon. The world does revolve around her.
    The one line she said that was the last straw for me. In the show Leonard didn't believe in astrology, palm reading blah blah… but he need to be fine with her ideas but she couldn't even listen too or read one book for him. She was right and no other thought was right.
    He could do better. Even Sheldon is starting to look much better .

    I love your Rants and Raves.
    cheers, parsnip

  2. I agree, but seriously would I ever watch a show that didn't have unrealistic experiences. Never. I get that everyday in my own sitcom. John and I have our funny moments, but it is not a laugh a minute. I watch TV because it transports me to the fictional lives of the non-boring.

  3. Sheldon does demonstrate a good heart at times. I suspect his need for order in his life comes from growing up with battling parents.

    I agree with you on Penny. Her only limit is that she won't have sex with Howard!

  4. I had to whizzzzzz past the Big Bang one because we don't have regular TV, we just do NetFlix, Amazon, YouTube and DVDs. Anyway, I don't mind the distorted views. Or how things aren't so real on TV. Doesn't bother me. Just make me laugh and all is good.

  5. That soap needs to have the entire cast assembled in one place at one time… just as a meteorite crashes to earth, wiping out every single one of them.

    From what you've said of Sheldon, one of these days he'll be the subject of a murder investigation being carved up by one of those coroners who'll tell the detectives that he can't understand how someone got a medical flask that far down his throat.

  6. Must admit the BBT didn't catch my attention in the first series, then I thought I'd watch to see what all the hype was about and got totally HOOKED! Love it and the good thing is that when they play reruns of the first season it's all new to me! Am in love with Sheldon, such a shame he bats for the other side 🙂

  7. “Bats for the other side”–I love that!

    I watched BBT from the start, but my son didn't get hooked until the sixth season. Now, he never misses an episode, whether it's the current season on CBS or the past episodes that air in syndication. We've also bought digital episodes from Amazon!

  8. You know what? I think you were at my blog about the same time I was at yours. I love turkey and bacon together. Goes so nicely.

    Have a great weekend. We're now into our 9 day staycation.

  9. I never like B&B – nothing ever happened and it was always so ridiculous… as for the big bang I love that show. It always makes me laugh and I do love Penny with Leonard. I agree it isn't realistic, nor are most TV shows. But that is part of what makes me enjoy them… a total escape

  10. B&B gets more ridiculous every day, Hilary! It's reached the unwatchable point now. I've actually fallen asleep–sitting upright–when it's on! I was amazed it got so many Emmy nominations–but then, most of the soaps are long gone, and there's not much in the way of competition left!

  11. I was always annoyed by Sex & the City's main character, Carrie Bradshaw, who seemed to only have a weekly column (which I know from personal experience pays well enough to allow one to live in a cardboard box), yet somehow manages to own an NYC apartment, spend $500 each on hundreds of shoes, has an elaborate wardrobe and is constantly wining and dining at New York's most expensive establishments.

    But, I think that's part of the allure of any movie or TV show – they aren't realistic, but they allow us to dream and escape our potentially humdrum realities.

  12. Gosh – reality in TV land is pure fantasy! LOL! I've heard so much about the Big Bang Theory but never watched it! I loved Fraser though! Take care

  13. @ Carla: That's what everyone here gets but the Huffington Post blogger missed–that the popularity of these shows is the fantasy that a weekly columnist could live like Carrie Bradshaw…that the awkward geek could marry the girl of his dreams…that a girl running low on brain cells could have two hot guys fighting over her….oops! That last one happens in real life every day!

  14. Frasier was a great show, Old Kitty! Talk about stretching reality–it was hard to believe a guy like Martin Crane, so down-to-earth, had two stuffy sons like Frasier and Niles!

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