I look forward to reading the morning’s Times even more than I used to. I can’t wait to see tomorrow’s episode.
A situation comedy involves a small cast of characters in a set “situation” that carries over from episode to episode – a dysfunctional family, a pair of mismatched roommates, some crotchety inmates of a nursing home which really is a Mafia money-laundering operation, e. g. – and entertains us with a never-ending stream of odd-ball crises and their comic resolutions.
For example, a typical dysfunctional family trope might include a father, a blustering blow-hard whose nutty touchiness and verbal incontinence bring on one hysterical crisis after another, a whimsical, out-of-touch, heavily tranquilized mother, and a pair of twins, a boy and a girl, who must juggle dealing with personal issues with trying to play the adults of the family and keep their father out of trouble. A bevy of incongruous secondary characters - the unctuous, ineffective family lawyer, the low-life in-laws, the parade of bimbo secretaries, the absurd, neo-Nazi uncle - provides further comic possibilities.
Some plot lines continue through the entire season. For example: the father goes bowling with a guy whom everyone suspects is a member of the Mafia; the father starts boasting about his mob connections; the FBI becomes interested. Every episode includes another cockeyed evasion, by the family, of a new attempt at scrutiny by an earnest, but bumbling, trio of local FBI agents. Other plot lines carry through for a just a few episodes or may even be resolved in one. For example, the father (who is in some sort of unspecified business) drives past one of his customers, who is changing a tire by the side of the road; he honks cheerily as he passes, then later phones the customer and berates him for not waving back. The twins have to smooth it over.
Some of my friends are upset that I do not take President Trump seriously. First of all, I am just following the lead of many seriously important people – you can find their names in the news. Europeans were the first – perhaps because Europe was the cradle of absurdist drama – but now it is beginning to dawn on others abroad: President Trump is irrelevant. The word is out: humor him, but pay no attention to anything he says and does.
Immigrant ban? squelched by the courts, and watered down (to the extent that made Trump rail and rant) in hopes of getting the Supremes’ nod. The Wall? You must be kidding. Anti-Obamacare legislation? The Republicans were going to do that (or go through the motions) no matter who was president. Look at the President’s pro-Saudi plunge into the Saudi-Qatar crises. Tillerson quickly repudiated it, and none of the feuding parties seemed to pay much attention to it. Since Trump will say one thing one day and the opposite the next day, it’s safe to say that he doesn’t take what he says and does all that seriously either.
My friends ask, what if, in just another fleeting, impulsive act of bravado, Trump presses the button?
First of all, this is a sit-com, not The Walking Dead. And – well - we just have to trust the writers not to jump the shark.