Just shoot me and those mediocre sitcoms

The purest pop culture love I’ve ever felt is for a TV show whose jokes I can’t even understand.



On a muggy July evening in 2005, my family — my father, mother, little sister (seventh grade), and I (tenth grade) — sat in a suburban Kansas city living room. Outside, the cicadas buzzed. Inside, my mother lay, exhausted from the procedure for the rotator cuff injury, sighing and fiddling with the Velcro on the foam holder. Then my father turned on the TV.After a few pages, he posted an episode of “Just Shoot Me!” It was an NBC sitcom (co-broadcast elsewhere at the time) that was beloved by the family. We almost certainly had seen this episode before — almost every episode — but we laughed along, perhaps even more than the first time, jumping in first, mimicking the physical banter. All of us, that is, except my mom, we noticed she was asleep during the first commercial break.

Just kill me! Seven seasons and 148 episodes were aired from 1997 to 2003. It centers on the staff of the fashion magazine “blush,” and typically consists of about 19 minutes of 22 minutes of razzle-dazzle about a-level and b-level plots, with the final three minutes being cliffhangers on the major networks. It traded pranks, euphemisms, biting rebuttals and ill-planned deception. The story takes place in a place that every child of my generation knows well: the television office of the ’90s, with its heavy elevator doors and patterned rugs, adorned with pastel shirts and shoulder-hugging suits.More stories’house of CARDS’ :

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Not a key dark spot – it piled up a second nomination but never won a golden globe or an emmy – just shoot me! In the age of NBC’s mass appeal, he was seen as a coolie. “Seinfeld” went downhill, through its golden years in frazier’s shadow, and ended with “er” and “will & grace.” It met expectations and received a solid rating. So far, it has exited the syndicate and only has three seasons on DVD. The full series is split into three parts, which can be found on YouTube, and NBC has apparently decided not to waste its lawyers’ time defending the rights.But in my childhood home, just shoot me! Is an undeniable success. Its ubiquity on our two TV screens began with my father — my mother rarely watched television except for “newshour” and “the playhouse” — but I soon got hooked by imitating him. When I started watching the show when I was about nine or ten years old, most of the mature media were strange to me, but the stable appearance of the show in our family made me feel at ease, replacing the comedy I didn’t fully understand.At dusk, with my butt on the dining table and my feet on my seat, I stare intently at our little white kitchen TV, with its gray buttons and protruding screen that, if I knuckle it, emits a thick, glassy bell. Nina, whose limited vocabulary is a steady source of drama, said of her upcoming dinner date: “… As for dessert, we’ll have coitus, whatever that is!” But I laughed anyway, and the rain beat against the window, and the track of the laughter sounded good. When I watched 20 episodes, I was already the leader of the fan club, my father was proudly ranked second, my mother and sister were tied for third.

Here are the highlights of the show:

Jack gallo, owner/publisher. To be rich, to have the kind of happiness that we want wealth to bring. Relentlessly happy and flirtatious. Promiscuous or promiscuous, especially toward a person of his age with graying hair and obvious internal organs. Seek entertainment with your child’s oneness. There is an expensive bar on one of the office walls. Effective self-reflection when the script demands it.

Maya gallo, daughter of jack, writer. Political liberalism, which was at odds with her father’s happy capitalist tendencies and the magazine’s continued commitment to unrealistic female ideals. She had been estranged from her father for years, long before the show’s first season. The turtleneck, the curly hair, the gap between her front teeth and the occasional glasses suggest she is a nerd, but she has traditionally been attractive, albeit less so than the models who hang out in the blush office.Secretary to Dennis finch. Played by David Spade, the show’s biggest actor. Contempt, sarcasm, sexual frustration. Entangled models. He regarded himself as jack’s important partner and jack as his father. I never thought of Maya as a sister. The most fashionable rebuttal. Everyone was called finch except jack, who called him Dennis.

Nina van horn, former model and fashion journalist. Dull, exudes great confidence. Often say the wrong thing, resulting in a funny effect. Drink too much, come to the office with a hangover, then go for a liquid lunch. One out of every five or six episodes is the final emotional high point, showing self-doubt and vulnerability from fear of aging and losing beauty.Eliot DiMauro, photographer. Bald but mild. He considers himself an artist and sometimes wears a beret. Maya’s sex maniac and occasional suitor (and brief fiance). Play office pranks with finch. Sensitive parties are found less often than Nina, about every eight to nine episodes. Spectacular, rolling up Claire.

Just Shoot Me and the Deep Comfort of Mediocre Sitcoms
Just Shoot Me and the Deep Comfort of Mediocre Sitcoms



I’m happy to see the repetition, to know what happens next, and to understand the subtleties of humor later. When I was 12 years old, I sat down with my family, made our usual rendezvous, and watched an episode about finch and jack. At first, finch replaces jack’s sick wife, Ellie, in their conjugal game. We learn that the boss and the secretary are having a great time together, and jack decides to continue playing with finch even though ally is well enough to lie about working late. The climax of the episode is a scene in which jack feels guilty and tries to end the partnership, and finch tries to keep it going, reminding him of the good times and flowing CARDS. The tone of the conversation became increasingly ambiguous. When the climax came — “damn, Dennis, you made me think with my CARDS! – I laughed, and so did my dad, and I was glad to be in the adult world at 8:30.When I liked the show most, what I liked most was not being scrutinized or publicly defended, but being appreciated. I could parrot all the things jack said to myself at the dinner table; My day job included his suggestion to Maya that the penguins were trapped on the ground not because of a physical defect, but because they lacked the daughters of the “flying faith” test.I didn’t try to remember the scene; And that’s how it happens. I don’t know any of the other kids who watched the show, who didn’t talk about it at school and could forget it for days at a time, but when I came back, I was mesmerized by the light, casual joy of the coming-of-age sitcom.


In the past few decades, the comedy and reputation of sitcoms have almost always been in inverse proportion. Seinfeld is considered by many to be the genre’s crownachievement, using only its conventions as a springboard to lofty goals. It’s smarter and more finely crafted than other sitcoms, features sophisticated wordplay and sly asides, and is significantly less reliant on romantic pairings of the main characters. The success of “the simpsons” is also based on this form of framework; If there’s a part of your brain that reminds you what the average TV family would do or say in this situation, its jokes are always the most effective.

Just Shoot Me and the Deep Comfort of Mediocre Sitcoms

Just Shoot Me and the Deep Comfort of Mediocre Sitcoms
Just Shoot Me and the Deep Comfort of Mediocre Sitcoms


Now, the influence of those ’90s mega-hits has been completely absorbed, and almost every show has some artistic purpose to show how different it is. NBC’s “The Office” is like a pseudo-documentary, with cameras moving through handheld devices and intrusive glances at desks and doors. The same online community that built up in the late 20th century was ridiculous jokes that required a loyal, weekly following to understand. A flood of non-mainstream television further breaks down this line, creating ever smaller niches and erasing old ideas that have universal appeal

So, the thought of the less risky series, especially those who like the shot! Indeed, in the seinfeld and changed after all – “the simpsons” as a kind of excessive populism, pseudo arts and zeitgeist. Yet it is these qualities that make the show no is well received by the critics, just make me feel this show is great. This is a world without fear, danger and anxiety, here, is unable to distinguish between work and play, here, Steve just means different aesthetics, but has the same basic happiness. Easy to make fun of metaphor and practice makes perfect, Reliably accomplish the mission of the sitcom, helps create a feeling of eternity. I can see the main title – rolls of film, the background is white background, character’s face is optional – wait Vinci slippery chatting, or jack eager smile, from the tag, I know the old man to some extent is my peers, I feel completely, very comfortable.Like any show, however, it cannot remain static. It had to change something, and it went through some iterations, and as a result, most of them involved the transformation of the gallo family drama. Shoot me the first time! In almost every episode, she struggles to know if she belongs among Manhattan’s shallow lighthouses. Later, the show draws inspiration from elliot Maya’s love story, an unlikely maya-nina friendship, Maya’s disappointment in her father’s marriage to a high school classmate, and Maya’s (and the gang’s) attempts to comfort her father in the ensuing divorce.For all the necessary mini-arcs, though, the single episode is still just shooting at me! The basic unit of. Each show has a fake blush cover that lets viewers easily switch between different plots, and the trailer is related to the night’s plot. If we don’t know where each episode is going — and we often don’t — the professional theatricality of the cast at WGN or some four-letter reruns in Kansas city gives us a clue right from the start. Jack bursts in, and Maya looks exhausted and looks down to see elliot or finch come up with a plan.

The most popular episode once again centers on Nina’s lexical flaws. In the opening minutes, as the elevator doors opened and closed and the sunglasses protecting her wine-colored eyes fell off, we learned that she had been assigned to an NPR program to debate a feminist scholar on the subject of body image and the fashion industry. Finch and Eliot conspired to replace her “day” calendar with a portmanteau of words that appeared the day before. (part of the show’s allure, a young midwesterner: such a thought came to mind, and all the necessary work was a possibility office and “New York” produced by pen-laden.) The calendar produces an exchange of results and records itself. Nina asks Maya, especially during the staff meeting that morning, when her voice was particularly loud. On NPR’s taping, she accused her opponent of muddling through and, when asked for clarification, admonished her: “maybe you should listen more and talk less.”

Nina confidently declared that she entered the fashion industry with “a dream in mind and a drive to succeed”. All of a sudden, the camera flies back to the office and both finch and elliott are bent over the radio. She said stangle! Elliott fought back tears and covered his stomach.


In our living room, the o ‘connellers rubbed our eyes, out of breath, as elliott did. In years to come, at the end of every dinner, whether complimenting the food or laughing at a joke, the recipient’s response will be the same as Nina’s response to a fawning radio host: “you piss me off.”


In a way, I understand every joke in every episode. Just kill me! No longer have that attractive temptation, the light, strong out of time smell. (” we really shouldn’t let you watch this, “my mother would sometimes say to me as a young child after watching a particularly nasty episode, a line that only reinforced the show.) But I watched it all the way through middle school and high school, and I loved it anyway, and then I put the DVD in a box in college, and I thought that the content would communicate my accurate and extensive cultural knowledge to anyone who came into my dorm.

I like shooting me! Now, in a way that’s different from anything else I like. Maybe everyone likes the fact that some part of the world collides with him or her at the right time and forms a simple connection. This fondness is an distillation of its essence. I didn’t like the show because of its importance or cultural relevance and its ability to carry me through conversations. I don’t like this constant presence; I haven’t seen this episode in a long time. I don’t even like it as an unrecognized classic. At my high school lunch table, I would occasionally argue about the superiority of seinfeld, but never seriously; It’s probably got the massive amount of memory it deserves, and even in an age of pop-culture nostalgia, it’s not going to get any web slides or 12 things you didn’t know…

No, here’s why: I know that if I happen to see an old episode now, away from Kansas city, my family and the white kitchen TV, it makes me laugh and feel good. It’s that simple. It’s that rare. Just kill me! Confused by a lot of innuendo and innuendo before I knew it, I stayed in the living room and kitchen, and for half an hour after I got home, I went after illegal beer with my friends — until I knew it all. This is a cultural product that I am unwilling and unable to criticize directly. It encodes itself in me, and now there’s an episode that makes me laugh, just like a big gulp of water makes me say “ah.”


From summer to fall, after my mother had shoulder surgery, we watched more closely than ever. We watch it five nights a week, after our dad buys takeout on the way home or the fridge is full of lasagna from a friend. When we couldn’t find the replay, we turned on the DVD and watched three or four episodes in a row. The DVD was a Christmas present, supposedly for someone, but it quickly became public property.On the face of it, it’s an act of family camaraderie and generosity, and laughter is the best drug support group. We want to take her mind off things, shoot me! Judging by the slight snores we detected at the first high tide or on the chevy pitch, it worked. In fact, our purpose is no different from that of other families getting together and staring at a screen. We want, half an hour, or a string, familiar with and surprises in the right proportion, look at these incredible people fully integrated into their faces, their clothes, their work, and yourself, who upset each other, are great, until they are gone, until the end magical sitcom reset hinted that makes things start again next time. We are not as tired as my mother, but we are tired enough, the weather is warm, we want to spend more time on something we have spent too much time together, something we are already familiar with.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this article. Submit a letter to the editor or to letters@theatlantic.com.Robert o ‘connell is a writer in Minneapolis. His work has been published in the guardian, esquire and Vice Sports.

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