Are There Limits for a Sitcom Premise? A Pretty Much Pop Culture Podcast (#47) Discussion and Quiz

Sit­coms pro­vide a form of escapism that does­n’t take one to a mag­i­cal world of pos­si­bil­i­ty, but instead to a basi­cal­ly unchang­ing, cozy envi­ron­ment with relat­able char­ac­ters engaged in low-stakes con­flicts.

So what are the lim­its on the type of premise that can ground a sit­com? While most of the longest last­ing sit­coms have sim­ple set-ups involv­ing friends or co-work­ers, stream­ing has led to more seri­al­iza­tion and hence wider plot pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Does this mean that the era of sit­coms has come to an end? Or has the genre just broad­ened to admit entries like Ricky Ger­vais’ After Life and Derek, Har­mon & Roi­land’s Rick & Morty, Greg Daniels’ Upload and Space Force, and Arman­do Ian­nuc­ci’s Avenue 5?

In this low-stakes, feel-good dis­cus­sion, Mark, Eri­ca, and Bri­an also touch on the Parks & Recre­ation reunion spe­cial, Curb Your Enthu­si­asm, It’s Always Sun­ny in Philadel­phia, Com­mu­ni­ty, Mod­ern Fam­i­ly, Red Oaks, The Simp­sons, Last Man on Earth, WOOPS!, the stain of Chuck Lorre, and more. Plus a quiz to guess which weird sit­com premis­es are real and which Mark made up.

Incor­po­rate these arti­cles into your sit­u­a­tion:

If you enjoy this dis­cus­sion, check out our pre­vi­ous episodes on Friends and The Good Place.

Learn more at This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.