The Perfect Storm of Comedy

I love television, specifically comedies. Oftentimes I wonder why I love these specific comedies, as they often seem to have little connection. While The Office is a mockumentary, Arrested Development and The League are complicated, stylized shows with more complex cinematography. How I Met Your Mother, on the other hand, is a simple multi-camera sitcom with a laugh track.

So how do all of these different comedy series become so beloved by me? I think I’ve figured it out. They are all great at creating what The Perfect Storm of Comedy, or a situation that unfolds in the absolute worst and funniest way possible. Often, an episode will have many small storylines run together into one final scene where all the storylines collide together in an hilariously awful scenario.

Examples of this can be found throughout television. For example, in The League, an FX show about a group of buddies in a fantasy football league, many episodes end in a perfect storm. Without spoiling the show with specifics, there are many scenarios presented where all of the mistakes made in the episode come together in one horrifying, I-would-never-want-to-be-them situation.

Another show that nails the perfect storm is The Office, though to be fair that show nails just about everything. An example of the perfect storm of comedy in The Office would be the many training sessions overseen by Michael, such as Diversity Day and Safety Training. Just like any perfect storm, anything and everything goes spectacularly wrong.

A third example of a perfect storm of comedy can be seen in a later episode of my favorite television show, Arrested Development. In an episode midway through the third season, a series of unfortunate events leads to a group of Japanese businessmen watching an unintentional parody of godzilla taking place around their model homes. This is one of the greatest moments of this show, and a perfect example of a perfect storm.

Perfect storms do not have to be comedy either. Some of the most dramatic moments in any piece of entertainment occur when seemingly everything goes wrong and the hero seems sure to fail. Unfortunately, we have been conditioned at this point to be skeptical in these situations, as they have become a bit too unbelievable and common. A perfect storm toes a fine line between ridiculousness and a lack of suspense, and few television shows or other media are successful at striking the right balance and suspending our disbelief.

At the moment, comedies seem to be the most effective at creating believable and entertaining perfect storms. From The League to The Office to Arrested Development, all of my favorite comedies are the ones that effectively create a perfect storm of comedy consistently.