July 29 2011, 2:41 PM
This is a list of archetypes that I identified after watching too many sitcoms (especially US ones), over the years. It isn't a definitive list, the definitions are self-invented, arbitrary and generalised and the examples below may not be an precise match for a given archetype. In practice any self-centred character (or any character) in a sitcom may display aspects of one or more of these archetypes. Also it is always best to write real, true-to-life characters and not two-dimensional archetypes or stereotypes.
- A nutty friend who speaks fundamental truths.
- A character that goes through life with his or her own particular bizarre rules.
- They manage to have a good life without having to work for it.
- Weird things happen to them.
- They are prodigiously fortunate or unfortunate.
- They have exaggeratedly human reactions .
- They never look for or find the easy way out of any situation .
- Their complex way of doing things has a way of working out.
- They have a logical reason for what they do and it might even sound sensible.
Kramer (Michael Richards) - Seinfeld
Nick (Kris Marshall) - My Family
Phoebe & Joey - Friends
Here are a number of Guidelines for the main characters or protagonists in sitcoms that I created after doing a Sitcom Writing course some years back.
Probably all wrong but then you can say so
They never achieve their stated dreams or goals. There is always something, more important to them, which holds them back. You could think of it as the difference between what they want - or say they want - and what is actually important to them.