Huffpost Entertainment
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Earl Pomerantz Headshot

Blind Spots

Posted: Updated:

I imagine every show has its "blind spot," the thing they never mention, because if you did, the show wouldn't work anymore. I'm not experienced in hour shows, though I imagine they have them too. I'll stick to the stuff I know.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Richards was a smart, funny, strikingly attractive woman. Yet through the show's seven-year run, she never got married, or was involved in a serious relationship.

Blind spot.

Why did it happen? Because, creatively, it was better for the series if Mary remained single. Her not being "with someone" left Mary open to a neverending onslaught of hilariously disastrous dates. So that's the way they kept her, even though, as the series wore on, Mary's remaining single made no reasonable sense whatsoever.

More examples of sitcom blind spots:

(Note: I will not offer an explanation for each show's blind spot, though I suspect the answer would invariably be the same -- "The show works better that way." Or more honestly, "If we brought that up, there wouldn't be any show at all.")

Taxi

They drove cabs all night, and when their shift ended, they went out for pizza and beer. Pizza and beer? For breakfast?

I once wrote a Taxi episode entitled, "Nardo Loses Her Marbles." The story involves Elaine Nardo's having a (television style) nervous breakdown, resulting from the fact that she drove a taxi at night, worked at an art gallery in the daytime, while, at the same time, raising two young children alone. Given the twenty-four hour day, and needing some time in there to sleep, I don't think this can physically be done. So I wrote about it. (Unlike others, especially the writers who created the show, I like doing stories about blind spots. It's the secret rebel in me.)

Cheers

(This could be wrong. I was never a regular viewer.)

George and Cliff drank for hours on a daily basis, yet never seemed to get drunk or need liver transplants. They did, however, go to the men's room on occasion.

Frasier

Were Frasier and Niles adopted? What made them so radically different from their father?

Everybody Loves Raymond

Given the way they consistently behaved towards each other, what exactly kept Raymond and Debra together?

Two and a Half Men

A guy brings home a different woman, or squadrons of women, on a regular basis, and there's an underage kid living in the same house. (I don't know, maybe this is just me, repressively mired in my fifties value system.)

Seinfeld

(I am already on record as declaring Seinfeld to be the greatest network comedy of all time. This does not, however, make it immune to blind spots).

Stories tell of Jerry's working in Atlantic City, where even lounge comics are paid thousands of dollars a week. Yet Jerry continues to live in the same building as Kramer, who doesn't make a dime. And by the way, who pays Kramer's rent?

A random sampling, demonstrating how even the greatest series steer clear of their conceptual "Achilles' Heels." Perhaps you've noticed other examples of your own.

Do blind spots matter? To varying degrees, they do. I could never get past Frasier's "These boys do not seem to have come from this father." It's likely that forgiving the blind spots varies directly with your affection for the show. The more you like it, the more you ignore, or fail to notice, the blind spots.

Putting it another way, when I insisted that some show she was enjoying made very little sense, my stepdaughter, Rachel, once shot back:

"It doesn't have to make sense. It's funny!"

This could explain why I'm not working anymore.

Or why we don't have a bigger house.

Or why I was never a favorite in the "Rewrite Room."

Earl Pomerantz's blog can be reached at earlpomerantz.blogspot.com