Hidden Rules Behind Famous TV Shows
The Cracked Podcast #79 July 13, 2015
A frequent topic on this podcast is the way all movies follow the same structure and how our brains are trained to look for these common rules. Whether it’s Die Hard or Star Wars or The Godfather, all movies follow the same relatively specific beats. If they don’t, we usually end up feeling short shrifted or confused. That’s why a filmmaker like Terrence Malick can be so frustrating to audiences.
But how does this apply to TV, a medium where outside of the half-hour or hour-long time constraints, a premise could conceivably last for tens or hundreds of hours? How do you maintain and break expectations in a world where the Simpsons need to face a new conflict every week for 30 years? Rules, that’s how!
This week on the podcast, special guest host Dan O’Brien is joined by Cracked editors Soren Bowie and Alex Schmidt to discuss the secret rulebooks that kept the Looney Toons and Community afloat, and how applying strict guidelines to TV shows both maintains their continuity and keeps them watchable.