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comicalmayhem's avatar

Blending Drama with Comedy in a Web Series?

Asked by comicalmayhem (809points) March 27th, 2011

My friends and I are writing a web series about 6 teens who live in a foster home and it’s going to be a comedy. Of course with the background being a foster home, there’d be drama going on. I was wondering if YOU like it when a web series mixes drama with comedy. I’m debating whether we should write in dramatic endings or occasionally dramatic plotlines to mix with the comedy that comes from the quirky and diverse characters. It’s a series that’d be put on YouTube and I don’t see to many drama/comedy mixes on there. It’s either all comedy or all drama.

Also, do you have any tips?

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8 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Bravo for your creative efforts. That’s wonderful. I don’t really have any tips, because I’ve never written a web series or tv series. I just want to point out that the series can be anything you want. As the creators, you get to decide.

I like the sound of mixing drama and comedy. It gives the jokes some meat.

Best of luck to you.

Mariah's avatar

I am confused – have you asked questions under a different name before?

I’ll second that a mixture of comedy and drama sounds good. One of my favorite webcomics does this with very good results.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Mariah – I asked this on Y!A but the site’s so popular no one ever sees your question. My brother might’ve asked this question cause he’s been asking a lot of questions on here about the web series. He’s iwannamakemovies.

Kardamom's avatar

I think that you need to have some well placed comedy in any drama, and you need juicy drama in a really good comedy.

Here are a few examples of shows that have successfully accomplished both:

The Nanny, it’s basically a comedy show, but there are deep feelings of love (romantic and between families) that are portrayed between the characters. The main story line is one of un-requited love between 2 people that are clearly in love, but they can’t seem to get it together to declare that love outloud. The other types of love are between the other characters, in one episode the Butler (who is usually there for laugh out loud comic relief) has a heart attack and we really understand how the other characters feel about him (he’s part of the family) and in one episode Fran deals with losing her baby (and even though this is sad, you learn something valuable about the characters and there is humor that comes out of the pain). If it was only a comedy, no one would care about the characters. The dialogue is top notch too. And the characters are very believeable and they mesh well together. If you get perfect actors to play your characters, then you will be blessed, like this show was. You can see what I mean with Mum’s The Word Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3.

M*A*S*H was one of the funniest comedies ever on TV, but they dealt with extremely difficult dramatic issues such as war, death, loss and politics. If you get the balance right, you can have the best show of all time (so far this show fits that bill). The actors were absolutely spot on perfect for their characters. If you don’t have perfect characters (and perfect actors portraying those characters then everything else will fall flat) This is probably the best TV show that ever was, because all of the important elements were there: hilarious comedy, realistic dramatic situations that made the audience feel real emotion, excellent and talented and attractive actors, funny, realistic,flawed, human characters, amazing fast paced believable dialogue and situations that you could relate to and characters that you could root for and tears that you could cry right along with the characters on the show. Here’s some interesting footage of the actor’s talking about the show Here is a piece of footage from the ending of the show

NCIS is basically a crime drama, but because of the comradeship between the characters and the fact that it is an ensemble cast (without one of the characters being the star) and the fact that they pull off really sweet, subtle comedy (and a lot of inside humor for regular viewers) plus a little bit of romance, and great dialogue, this show has something for everybody. Plus all of the characters (or actors) are really attractive, without being fake looking. They wear normal clothes, they don’t have big fake boobs or weird fake plastic surgery, or bleached blonde hair or sprayed on tans. They look like normal people, only better. Here is a great clip and a random (but excellent) episode

Northern Exposure was basically a comedy, but not in the laugh out loud sense. It read like a drama, but because everybody in the cast was kind of an oddball, that is where the comedy came from. They had a top notch ensemble cast, featuring a great “will they or won’t they bickering couple” and a bunch of quirky side stories all going on at the same time. Again, even though all of these people were rather odd, you had real feelings for them.
Here’s a great romantic clip of Maggie and Joel and this great unusual clip and this funny and dramatic clip

The Dick Van Dyke Show. Here was a sit com about a pretty ordinary family, with ordinary (with a twist) situations happening all the time. The cast was tremendous, the main couple was extroirdinarily attractive (without appearing fake) and the dialogue was realistic and extremely witty and fast paced. The physical comedy was terrific without appearing to be fake or staged (even though in reality it was choreagraphed perfectly). The house and office sets were realistic looking, the clothes (totally awesome) were completely realistic and the relationships between the characters were completely believable, even though the situations were pretty silly and far fetched a lot of times. You have to make the far fetched seem believable. Here’s a good episode

Other great examples of comedy and drama mixes: I Love Lucy, The Cosby Show, Newhart, The Bob Newhart Show, Joan of Arcadia, The Wonder Years, Freaks and Geeks, My So Called Life, Friends, Star Trek the Next Generation, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Frasier, Cheers, Seinfeld, Leave it to Beaver, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Twin Peaks, Ally McBeal, Scrubs, Maude, The Golden Girls, Barney Miller.

Here’s a few examples of shows that stayed on the air for quite awhile (or are still on the air) that I think have failed miserably in their quest for excellence are: Rules of Engagement, Charles in Charge, Webster, The Dukes of Hazard, My Two Dads, Growing Pains, Who’s the Boss?, Different Strokes, Silver Spoons

Here’s a few that I’m on the fence about because sometimes they were extremely funny, but most of the humor and characters were way too routine, commonplace and similar to other shows: Three’s Company, Full House, Laverne and Shirley, Family Matters and Family Ties,

And here’s 2 really awful ones that I can’t help but think of when you are describing your idea (please don’t be anything like these!!!) The Suite Life on Deck and Sister Sister.

Good luck with your show! Be funny, be dramatic, be original, be wonderful!

comicalmayhem's avatar

@gailcalled iwannamakemovies is my brother. He asked how he could make the story more interesting and I’m asking how I can blend comedy and drama.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

@Kardamom had some really good examples. I, personally, am more drawn to drama with comedy in it. The NCIS example was a good one in this area. I am also a fan of Joss Whedon because he has blended drama with the comedy (funny bits) being in the relationships/conversations between the characters as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Getting people invested and interested in the characters seems to be a good way to get people hooked on shows. If you have seen the web series The Guild, it is a comedy. The difference, for me, is it is not a slapstick kind of comedy. I guess I am into dry or ironic humor though.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@optimisticpessimist I’ve seen the first 5 episodes of The Guild and the drama is more from the plotline than from the characters themselves, as if it’s asking for drama. It comes off as cheesy. As for the comedy, it’s not too funny, but I guess it’s because it’s from like 2008.
Our web series wants to use drama from the characters that will come up…almost as if we’re trying to avoid the drama but it has to come up anyway cause they’re in a foster home. Our comedy is going to be ironic, awkward, reference, and quirky.
Not to bash on The Guild though, just learning from their mistakes. I’m actually hooked enough on their series to keep watching through, but there’s some flaws that are easy to point out.

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