Quick crackpot theory on the decline of the sitcom

Theories of comedy are kind of a subordinate hobby of mine; I don't think I've shared too many of them on this site but maybe I'll throw in some more.

This is a new theory, though, not one of my hobbyhorses. (That is, they look like hobbyhorses to you. To me they look like magnificent sleek warhorses.) And it's about why you can't get audiences to look at the ol' multicamera sitcom much anymore. My theory: children's television is at fault, in two ways:

1. Children's television is actually pretty funny. I see plenty of jokes on "Fairly OddParents" or "SpongeBob," which, while a tad obvious, I would be glad to have written. And you have an audience that starts out watching this, switches to adolescent fare like "Beavis" (back in the day) or "South Park" or "Simpsons", and when they finally hit their mid-20s, have jobs, and are ready to become watchers of prime time television, there's...nothing. Prime-time shows aren't as funny as the shows they grew up watching. (And the networks don't select for funny, they select for "relateableness" or whatever the fuck it is.) So who needs it?

2. Note that none of these shows are sitcoms, even if they have sitcom rhythms at times. When I was a kid, a million years ago, you kind of had to watch "Dick Van Dyke" (still the best version of "Raymond") or "Lucy" or, in my house, "Barney Miller." Sitcoms were my TV cradle-tongue. Nowadays, my kids don't ever watch a multicam show; I suppose, when they're a little older, they might watch some of those "Hannah Montana" Disney Channel shows. But that just associates the multicam format with kid stuff. It's starting to seem unnatural.

Anyways, I freely admit this is a crackpot theory and am willing to fold if a good countertheory is proposed. But I'm just throwing it out there.

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