I hate almost all sitcoms, and Sean Hayes embodies a lot of what I hate most about sitcoms, but I love Sean Hayes’ new reality show “Situation: Comedy,” which is essentially “Project Greenlight” for sitcoms.
“Situation” turns out to be one of the most compelling unscripted series ever. There’s a platoon of interesting characters among the writers and execs, it’s fascinating to see what sells behind closed doors, and there is much stormy creative conflict. (In an eerie echo of the third “Greenlight,” one of the “Situation” contestants will precipitate much ugliness when he champions a family member for a key on-screen role.)
NBC ultimately did not greenlight the work of any of the “Situation” contestants beyond a pilot presentation. In fact, judging by the coming autumn schedule, NBC almost seems to be getting out of the sitcom business - and for good reason. I don’t think there’s a network sitcom on the air as entertaining as “Situation: Comedy,” which probably explains why there are more and more reality shows each year, and fewer and fewer sitcoms.
TV Guide says:
Debut: Sean Hayes co-executive produced this 10-part unscripted show, which follows amateur writers hoping to sell their sitcom scripts. First up: nine scripts are chsoed from more than 10,000 entries. Then, the writers pitch their ideas to the show’s brass and network execs. Among the scripts in contention: “Retailers,” about two slackers working in a clothing store; and “Stephen’s Life,” the story of an ambitious 11-year-old.
USA Today says:
… a behind-the-scenes look at television production that adds a clever competitive twist to Project Greenlight. … If you can look past the artificiality of the situation, Situation provides an interesting and sometimes amusing look at how the business of TV operates. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… While occasionally forced in its execution and awkward in its pacing, "Situation: Comedy" is generally absorbing in that "inside baseball" kind of way. Those who don't work in the business will find the fly-on-the-wall aspect itself fascinating, while those who do can take solace in the fact it isn't their own butts on the line here. Is this any way to uncover television's next great comedy series at a time when the genre is struggling and ripe for reinvention -- which is the stated goal? Of course not. But we are reminded while watching of a key point: Train wrecks and masterpieces are all more or less made the same.
… "Situation: Comedy" will prove interesting to anyone who's even a little curious about how and why a sitcom pilot makes it on the air. Between choosing the right script, pitching, casting, revising, finding a director, et cetera, it's fascinating to see what a meticulous, tedious, political and creatively controlled process it is to get a pilot launched. It also makes for great television. … It's such peeks into the inner workings of "the network" that make "Situation: Comedy" so tantalizing. By peeling back the layers of the so-called creative process, the show exposes the formulaic and somewhat stifling environment in which new ideas and exciting approaches to entertainment are watered down until they are merely shells of themselves. The kicker is that we all happily tune in, and the network machine keeps giving us what we want - which we in turn complain about. …