Monday, April 24, 2017

The TV-character-whose-other-job-is-as-a-TV-host trope

The internet and I have explored TV tropes before: the jump the shark moments, the death of a beloved character never mentioned before, disposable love interests, the unnecessary plot contrivance.

But here's something I've never seen explored: The-TV-character-whose-other-job-is-as-TV-host trope.

In the late 80s-early 90s, it wasn't enough that Bob Newhart was an innkeeper, in the later seasons, he had to be an innkeeper with his own TV show; it wasn't enough Tim Allen was a handyman, he was a handyman with his own TV show, it wasn't enough Kelsey Grammar was a psychologist, he was a psychologist with his own radio show, George Wendt had a short lived show (based on NPR's "Car Talk,") where he and his brother were mechanics who had their own radio show.

We've seen plenty of backstage sitcoms before, but Rob Petrie only had one job!

Why would they all have a second job? Why would the second job always be in media? Where did this come from? In each case I suspect network interference, because all of these shows would have been just as good without the main character's extraneous job. In every case, the extraneous job seems tacked on; the implication is 'doesn't everyone have his/her own TV show?'

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