Most probably the number of comedy TV services has been rising immensely during the last decades. The demand for comedy content has always been high. No wonder the profession of comedy sitcom writers is so widespread nowadays. Every aspiring writer wants to repeat the success of the writing teams that made sitcoms like Arrested Development so popular.
The plot of the Arrested Development series made it easy for the writing team to come up with funny scenes. The premise is already very funny if you think about it: a rich family has to adapt to the new reality where they no longer have enough money to continue their comfortable existence. All the writers needed to do is to let their creativity go.
Around 18 writers worked on this masterpiece (with Barbie Feldman Adler, Brad Copeland, Richard Day among them). It is important to remember that there are no bad ideas during the brainstorming sessions. Every idea can be turned into a real masterpiece even if it seemed strange at the beginning.
Still, there have to be some secrets to writing a successful sitcom. Here are some tips that can help you create something great.
Characters are responsible for generating stories. As you know, the stories in The Arrested Development are centered around the Bluth family. Every character there has a unique combination of features that help the writers create funny scenes. The main approach is to juxtapose the features of characters to the environment they get into. The best-case scenario is when you don’t even need any additional decorations to make the interaction between the characters funny. If they can be in one room and create a series of jokes, you’ve done everything right.
Do not change the characters too much. If your sitcom turns out to be very successful, you will need to think about the development of the characters. The key here is to choose one or two specific features that you want your characters to improve. For instance, those who stay cold and unemotional can demonstrate more feelings. Just don’t try to change the main characters too much. The viewers get used to them and want to see the same picture again and again when they turn on the TV. One of the most popular approaches is to put your characters in situations where they can learn something and improve.
Have a clear understanding of every scene’s point. Do not generate random funny scenes just for the sake of it. Every scene that you include in the sitcom should have a point. It may let the viewers see their beloved characters from a new perspective. Alternatively, it may help you create major plot twists. Decide if the scene you write is going to have a continuation in the next episode.
Think about the big point. Every TV series needs to have a big idea, a big point in the background. Decide what you want to explore from one episode to another. Love, friendship, jealousy, and other big ideas have been successfully explored in many famous sitcoms. Choose something that you are interested in and have experienced in real life. Remember that every scene should seem genuine. You can take something from your personal experience and adapt it to the tonality of your sitcom.
Allow unexpected twists. Even though your sitcom will be about humor and comedy, it does not mean that you can’t include some dramatic (or relatively dramatic) twists in it. Sometimes the most unexpected plot twists can turn your sitcom into something unforgettable. Maybe do not kill your key characters but think about other interesting options.
Hopefully, these tips will help you start moving in the right direction. Who knows, maybe you will create the next big thing after Arrested Development, How I Met Your Mother, and The Office.
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