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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

what would the sitcom about your life be called?

Dave Itzkoff, the New York Times’ resident geek, tweeted this recently:


Which I think it a great jumping off point for a Question:

What would the sitcom about your life be called?

Maybe it’s The Something of Life. Maybe it’s something else entirely.

Mine would be a one-camera dramedy, sans laugh track, and it would get great reviews but low ratings. It would be called Continuity Errors. Everyone, even those who like it, would agree that it’s just not funny enough and actually kind of sad.


(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)

  • Stephanie C.

    Shaken and Stirred. The story of a bartender with epilepsy who starts her own business selling syrup supplies and garnishes when it becomes obvious that she can’t deal with the late nights of bartending. It’s more of an ensemble cast, Sets in her rental kitchen, a market where she sells things, and her best friend’s apartment. Running joke that no one is sure she actually has an apartment, because no one ever goes there. I tend to word play and one liners, so probably a bit schticky, with a Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place vibe. So much so that in the third season, the lead will go to the pizza place nearest her house, Theo’s Pizza, and it will be ‘remarkably similar’ to Beacon Street Pizza, because it is.

    (no, really, that is the pizza place closest to me, though there’s a greek place with pizza closer, and yes Two Guys was based on it; the writers worked there while they were at Tufts).

    The special episode with the cast of Two Guys will be a sign of a lack of new material, and the show will be on hiatus for the start of the 4th season, used as a midseason replacement doing thirteen episodes before being cancelled.

  • RogerBW

    “Who was that guy?” An internet fossil with twigs in his beard who doesn’t do social media, and yet somehow manages to have friends. Cut after four episodes because the audience didn’t find the setup plausible.

  • It could only possibly be called something like “The Crazy Gardener”. I suppose it would be similar to the old Paul James(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_James_%28gardener%29) show Gardening by the Yard. The world doesn’t need another gardening show so it would be cancelled before the first episode ever aired. I’m ok with this, as I prefer to garden alone anyway.

    : – )

  • Jonathan Roth

    “The Art of Doing Nothing.” watch an animator fritter away his dreams as everything interesting happens off-camera.

    (Sorry, having a grim period of self-reflection/self-doubt at the moment)

  • bronxbee

    mine would be a very ala Sorkin’s style, a workplace set up (like Sports Night — no laugh track) where the main character is increasingly irrelevant at work, and counters with bitter and literate one-liners that no one gets, lots of drinking with friends afterwards and all kinds of complaints — no despair, but perhaps bitter resignation. it would be called Black Out, and would be highly praised but only last one season because sponsors would be offended by the irony and sarcasm and atheistic overtones.

  • Froborr

    It would be called “Ex Box,” and it would be about a fat sack of crap sharing a studio apartment with his ex-fiancee, who has recently started dating again. Most of the humor would derive from their unusual friendship, partial reversal of gender roles, and constant teasing of one another/ridiculous play-fights over meaningless things. It would be widely panned as yet another ugly-guy hot-girl show and for the utter lack of romantic chemistry between the leads and get canceled after only a couple of episodes.

  • Danielm80

    My show would be called Everyone I Know is on Medication.

  • Lynn Reynolds

    “Oh, No, Not Again.” And the logo would be a bowl of petunias. Enough said.

  • Jess Haskins

    Possibility Space. It’s about a game designer trying to make it in the big city by discovering the hidden rules and systems that govern all of life’s interactions, from apartment hunting to education to networking to dating.

    Season 1 sees our hero in school, with a supporting cast of wacky classmates, working on a group thesis project, learning to network, running a game club, and fighting the administration that Just Doesn’t Get Games. Season 1 cliffhanger: Graduation! Thesis show! Will the project be finished in time?

    In season 2, our hero has landed a job at a small, chaotic indie company with a supporting cast of wacky coworkers (including some of the cast from Season 1!) Season 2 cliffhanger: After a year of work on the new game, it’s launch day! And there’s also a hurricane!

    Season 3 further develops the themes of season 2, with the emphasis shifted from developing a game to dealing with its wacky supporting cast of online players, some of whom become interns and drop into the office for hijinx. Season 3 cliffhanger: well, I don’t want to spoil it, but there’s some major character development and a cast shakeup in store…

    Tagline: “When life’s a game, work is play!”

  • “The Always Sober Never Sane World Tour”. It’s with puppets.

  • Overflight

    My So Called Life. Wait, that’s taken. Uh…The Perks Of Being A Wallflower…Wait, that too…How Not To Live Your Life…no, taken as well…I’ll get back to you.

  • amanohyo

    Now I’m curious, which one are you? If you are the ex-fiancee, you truly do have an interesting friendship with the uh… sack in question. Otherwise, dude, I think it’s time to move out maybe. A studio with an ex… the only first world environment more hellish than that is the interminable cacophony of a “casual” office meeting at Buffalo Wild Wings. *shudder* That place makes me want to puncture my eardrums with chicken bones. I guess I should be happy we weren’t forced to meet at Hooters.

    I’m still on good terms with my ex-wife, but if I had to keep living with her in a studio apartment I’d go insane in less than a week. I don’t know how you two make it work, but you have my respect (and sympathy).

  • amanohyo

    I want to go to there.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I am tempted to call my sitcom I Myself Am Strange and Unusual but I’m sure Tim Burton’s lawyers would be all over me if I did so.

    Besides, I am not really that strange and unusual. Compared to most people, that is.

    At least I would like to think so…

  • amanohyo

    “Berkeley High” – Four geeky slacker housemates and the steady girlfriend of one of them (gotta have a smurfette) are undergraduates at Berkeley. The POV character is a major in the newly formed Bioengineering department, takes a wide range of classes, and meets a variety of interesting people. The other characters are: Brilliant Electrical Engineering major hacker with an equally bright English Lit major girlfriend who runs a popular website. Silly, insecure pothead Anthropology major. Paranoid womanizing Philosophy major. Mainly about the dorky adventures they all have in the Bay Area. Seinfeld + Big Bang Theory + Girls (no laugh track).

    “Special Needs” – A documentary style dark comedy about an underfunded special education department at a large high school. The focus is on the children and the ways they manage to squeeze out some moments of joy and silliness out of a system that talks down to them. The POV character is a very intelligent girl left almost completely blind by a disease that struck in early childhood who dreams of being a writer. Other characters: Goofy boy in a wheelchair who is physically unattractive and awkward but has a quirky, poetic sense of humor. Incredibly sharp girl with Asberger’s and ADHD who builds remote controlled airplanes for fun. Hypersensitive, adorably naive boy with bipolar disorder who becomes confident and charismatic during manic phases. Degrassi High + Freaks and Geeks + My So Called Life.

    “Concessions in the Dark” – A sexy comedy about the projectionist in a small movie theater back in simpler days when films reels were still passed from theater to theater in metal cans – when the ice cream bars were cold and the nacho cheese was dripping hot. Other characters: Gay head manager who has an intense fear of clowns and is studying to become a professional masseuse. Sarcastic redhead night shift manager studying psychology in her spare time who is also a nymphomaniac (seriously, the woman would snatch random homeless guys off the street). Insolent dashing cashier who is the lead singer in a local punk band. Shy ticketbooth girl who paints and has a side job as an exotic dancer. Bisexual British theater cleaner who makes extra money selling weed and acting in amateur porn movies. Sex and the City + Cheers + Pornography.

    “Science Friction” – An Office style comedy about a science department at a large middle school. Main Characters: Ex-hippie, lesbian Department Chair who teaches Biology and is obsessed with forensics and crime scenes (frequently reenacts famous murders). Nerdy Physics teacher who teaches in the same room where he first met his wife (true story) and sponsors the Japanese Animation and Puzzles Clubs. Sarcastic Chemistry teacher who was once an NFL cheerleader and coaches field hockey. Hardcore Christian Ned Flanders-ish Earth Sciences teacher who hilariously reconciles his literal interpretation of the Bible with his love of Geology and Volcanoes. A little dark – lots of poking fun at students, parents, and the clueless administration. The Office + Are You Being Served + Community.

    “Bravo Airspace” – An absurd satire of the US government and military based in the control tower of Andrews Air Force Base. Lots of cameos by world leaders and politicians (impersonators of course). I’d tell you about the characters, but this is probably being read by some intelligence agency flunky right now (please don’t fire me sir or madam), so I’ll just say that crazy stuff happens, shit so insane that I could write a script for several episodes that were 100% factual and no one would ever believe that I didn’t make it all up. Mash + In The Loop + Catch 22.

    My non-work life isn’t funny or strange enough to make a cool sitcom. It would just be a bunch of reading, writing, sporadic gaming/traveling, and movie watching. I’m telling you though, that air traffic controller series would be comedy gold… stupid security clearance ruining all my fun again. Uh… wait I mean, security must always trump transparency to preserve the common good. Yay America!… I’m fired aren’t I?

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