“I recently found myself reminiscing about an incident that occurred almost thirty years ago. I had just landed my first job as a prime-time sitcom writer and was sitting in a room ‘punching up’ a script with a few other young writers and a couple of old pros, when one of the gray-haired, comedy mavens grumbled that the mediocre joke we were trying to improve was “good enough” and that we should “move on.”
He rationalized this by saying, “No one will know the difference” and, “It’s just a sitcom.” I remember being offended. I quietly promised myself that if I ever got a chance to write and produce my own series I would never think that way. I would never become so jaded and cynical that I squandered the opportunity to entertain people by assuming they “won’t know the difference,” and by sneeringly regarding what I do for a living as being “just a sitcom.” And I never have. But I have wondered what exactly is this thing I do. And I think I’ve finally figured it out.
A sitcom is an extended conversation between writers, actors, directors and the audience. In success, the conversation goes on for years. Pre-internet, the viewers responded simply by watching or not watching. Now their opinions are loud, immediate and fully articulated. And it’s great. And it’s scary. But it’s a real conversation between real people with real feelings. So we all need to choose our words carefully.”
– Chuck Lorre, #492