Let's make a generic family sitcom, using our cultures.

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I had this idea to take some templates of sitcom family characters and make a generic sitcom, but I want people to use these characters and relate them to their own cultures. Imagine if this family lived two doors down from you. Use the character templates that I give, but you name the characters and write what you think they’d be like and put them into various situations.

Dad: A blue collar worker. The straight man around a group of wacky supporting characters.

Mother: Quite naggy, but loving. Stressed. Housewife.

Teenage Son: Somewhere between 14-16. Dumb, but popular. Comes across as arrogant, but has a soft spot.

Teenage Daughter: For the sake of this, let's say she's the twin sister of the teenage son. She's his antithesis. She's smart, unpopular, sardonic and somewhat subcultured. But, like the son, has a bit of a soft spot.

Kid Daughter: Youngest of the family. About 6-8. Daddy's girl. Normally used to be the catalyst to get a plot moving by being unfiltered (e.g. a character may lie to another character, only for her to reveal the truth in front of them, thus creating some animosity, etc.).

Here are some examples off the top of my head of the type of episodes family sitcoms generally do. I gave a bit of a description to each one. These are just suggestions of the type of things you can write about:

A funeral: A character (normally an elderly male character who is some sort of relation to the family, such as the mother's father) dies and the family have to go to the funeral. These episodes are normally used to introduce some of the characters’ extended family that we don't normally see, but also show us how the characters deal with bereavement. Normally one character has a fear of death which is overcome by attending the wake. If the extended family lives in a different city than our main family, this will normally require the family to travel to their home, normally staying in the same house. If, for example, the mother's father has died, the father will normally meet new weird relatives he's never met before. There is typically a scene where the mother and her mother have a heart-to-heart about the death in question. The character that died may have been in previous episodes or may have never been mentioned before this episode.

Camping: I just want to say that I really hate camping episodes, yet a LOT of sitcoms (including ones that I really like) have these. At least one character has to be enthusiastic about going camping and one character has to hate the idea. Some of the things that generally happen: the camp gets attacked by a bear, someone accidently comes in contact with poison ivy, someone has to discover using the bathroom out in the woods for the first time, roasting marshmallows on a camp fire, telling ghost stories, etc. Generally these episodes are used to put the characters in a different environment and add solidarity to the unit. They're also sometimes used to help a character get over something (a fear, a break-up, etc.).

Bullying: One of the kids will come in contact with a bully. They'll typically seek advice from one of the parent characters who will either be of no help to the character being bullied or else give them really bad advice. This is a bit more arbitrary than the others. Sometimes there's a resolution, sometimes there's not.

New neighbours: New neighbours will move in to where the family live (be it a suburban neighbourhood or an apartment block). The episode will generally revolve around the family trying to hit it off with the new neighbours, although not always successfully. There will someone for the kids to bounce off of, too. The neighbours may have a teenage son who the family's teenage daughter develops a crush on or they may have a younger child who the kid daughter tries to play with. The episode sometimes ends with the new neighbours moving away, but not always. Generally they're never mentioned again, unless necessary for future episodes (e.g. if the teenage daughter develops a crush on the neighbour's son, he may come in to future episodes).

A crush: One of the kids will develop a crush on someone (normally someone they go to school with). The problem with these episodes is that they generally only revolve around the character with the crush and can exclude the rest of the family. These episodes can end with the character getting with their crush or it can end with them not. If the character gets with their crush, they generally become that character's boyfriend/girlfriend for some time, so if you end the episode with them getting together, the crush should come in to future episodes (or at least be mentioned).

Created: Mar 21, 2014


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