If you thought something seemed familiar about Fox’s new sitcom “Traffic Light,” which aired last night, maybe it’s because you’ve been watching the new NBC series “Perfect Couples.”
Or seeing commercials for the forthcoming CBS show “Mad Love” (launching Valentine’s Day, of course).
Or reading about the buzzy pilots “Love Bites” (NBC), “Friends With Benefits” (NBC) and “Happy Endings” (ABC).
Seeing a pattern here? Networks are currently in the throes of a huge crush on relationship-themed sitcoms — shows that revolve around people in love. These comedies are a bigger gambler than they sound like — because, well, couples are boring.
And not just let’s-stay-home-tonight boring. When a television series’ starting point is an ensemble whose romantic lives are pretty much figured out, it eliminates the number-one way to keep an audience long-term curious. Would “Friends” have made it 10 years if Ross and Rachel had settled down together in season one? Doubtful.
But that doesn’t mean lovebirds never work. One thing that’s convincing networks to put happy pairs front and centre is the success couples are currently delivering in top rated shows.
At its outset, this show stirred up controversy over its focus on a plus-size couple. But 'Mike and Molly' has been delivering solid numbers for CBS ever since.
BET's 'The Game,' which stars Tia Mowry as the woman behind a famous athlete, is one of the hottest series on cable right now.
Sure, ABC's 'Modern Family' has plenty of kid action -- but the heart of its success are the quirks and antics of these three committed relationships.
On season three of MTV's explosively popular series, the fireworks between this guido-guidette power couple has been the main storyline, overshadowing The Situation's phrase-coining and Snooki's beach face plant/subsequent arrest.
It's always been a critical favourite, but 'How I Met Your Mother' has grown its ratings slowly over six seasons. Marshall and Lily have helped that cause -- as their marriage has progressed, so has the show's popularity.
After a lull, ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy' is having a moment, recapturing some of its old magic and surging again in the ratings -- all this despite the fact that it's been a while since showrunner Shonda Rhimes brought these central on-and-off again characters together for good. It just goes to show that definitively answering 'will they or won't they?' isn't always a bad thing, which is certainly the case with...
With plenty of mockumentary-style comedies on the airwaves now, it's easy to forget how radical 'The Office' seemed when it started out on NBC. The one supertraditional thing it had going for it was the perpetually unrequited love between Jim and Pam -- and plenty of critics worried that their engagement would take some life out of the show. But the show's writers infused their marriage and pregnancy with plenty of twists and laughs, keeping both events from feeling like business as usual.
They might be broken up as of the holiday episode, but 'Glee' pair Finn and Rachel have all the mismatched chemistry befitting of a couple at the core of what's essentially the biggest-budget musical in history. Setting their romance at a high school -- and surrounding them with an ever-expanding ensemble of peers -- gives the Fox series' writers plenty of chances to break them up and make them up again and again.
Let's face it -- it's not every day you hear someone say their favourite show is 'Rules of Engagement.' But the creators are doing something right: even repeats of this CBS sitcom regularly crack the top 25 rated shows. Are you taking notes, all new couple-centric shows?
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