In television, mediocrity finds a way to survive. Time and time again,
the TV world has proven that innovative, clever sitcoms will typically
fail while the perfectly ordinary ones will thrive. They're the
cockroaches of TV, practically indestructible.
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Take, for instance, Rules of Engagement
on CBS which, according to The Hollywood Reporter
, has been renewed for a sixth season. I have nothing against the show and I'm sure there are plenty of people who enjoy it (it's averaged over 8 million viewers per episode this season). But from its generic title to its cast of former wacky sitcom sidekicks (Just Shoot Me
's David Spade and Seinfeld
's Patrick Warburton), it's not likely to be topping critics' lists or winning a ton of Emmys any time soon.
The show's continued success despite very little excitement or pop culture buzz is nothing new. Mediocre sitcoms like Rules of Engagement
have a proven track record of outlasting better ones.
On ABC, According to Jim
and George Lopez
both lasted more than 100 episodes, with According to Jim
going on for eight seasons with 182 episodes. That's two more episodes than Seinfeld
had, which might be the most depressing statistic in the history of the universe.
Meanwhile, underrated ABC gems like Better Off Ted
, Samantha Who?
and Sons and Daughters
were quickly canceled. If you have no idea what Sons and Daughters
was, seek it out, because it was every bit as brilliant as Modern Family
. And now solid ABC comedies like Mr. Sunshine
and Happy Endings
are in serious danger of early deaths.
FOX let Til Death
run for four seasons and 81 episodes, crushing the survival of the Emmy-winning Arrested Development
. And now FOX has quickly canceled Traffic Light
and Breaking In
following the death of Running Wilde
Being ordinary is better than being good when it comes to sitcoms, although there are exceptions to the rule (Modern Family
, The Office
and The Big Bang Theory
). But for Rules of Engagement
, it's good to be a harmless, generic sitcom that no one really notices but which continues to get a solid amount of viewers. It might not be the best, but it's lasted a lot longer than most shows. Ironically, the mediocre comedies get the last laugh.(Image courtesy of CBS)