What makes TV writing good?

Now Playing: I Want You Back by either The Civil Wars or N’Sync, you choose.

There are certain shows that my wife and I tend to watch together. We started watching The Office shortly after we got married. I joined Rebecca on the Lost train around the same time. We picked up Parenthood last year. We’ve been disappointed by the writing of all three… wait, no, that’s a lie, I don’t know if we’ve ever been disappointed by the writing of Parenthood. The other two, definitely at times.

It makes me wonder, what exactly makes writing “work”? I mean, more than the usual TV show. For example, we’ve watched at Revolution in the last year. The writing doesn’t work for me at all… I don’t like some of the main characters at all. But the premise is up my alley (a very sci-fi alley, I’ll mention), so I’ve persisted.

Parenthood and The Office, on the other hand, aren’t especially strong premises. But they’re populated with very strong characters. Adam Braverman and Jim Halpert are guys who represent what I want to be in ways. They experience real life and their reactions are compelling.

The Office finale, for me, delivered. It didn’t try to be another show, it did try to provide closure and hope for these characters. The **Spoiler Alert** Michael Scott cameo was the perfect execution of that character. He had two lines, one a classic Michael Scott-ism, another fitting the classic mold of mixed metaphors that he had mastered. There was no snow globe, no waking up from a coma, just resolution where you wanted it most. It worked.

Why’d it work? I don’t really have answers. I’m just trying to work through in my head what it is about the writing of these shows that make me enjoy them.  

He’s losing his mind… and I’m reaping all the benefits!


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