Living a sitcom life #1 – find a local

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November 23, 2010 by jessperriam

Yesterday I had a rant about our propensity as bored suburbanites to compare ourselves to sitcom characters.

By the end of it, I said you had to create your own exciting life rather than watching the fictitious goings-on of others. I think some people who read it got lost at the fact that I have three Barney-like people in my life.

And if you want to live your life like a sitcom (or any comedy genre for that matter), rather than just watch sitcoms and complain that your life is boring, here’s your first tip:

Find a local.

How I Met Your Mother has MacLaren’s, Friends has Central Perk (although I vehemently believe that Gunther should have rebranded that coffee shop and given it a slightly less tackier name) and Cheers has…. well Cheers. Black Books has, erm,  Black Books, Gilmore Girls has Luke’s and Ally McBeal had that sterile bar with Vonda Shepard singing second-rate covers non-stop. I could continue but I’m sure I’ve made my point.

The local is an essential part of life,

You need somewhere to hang out, preferably with a beverage in your hand. There needs to be the ability for new people to come into your narrative in a non-threatening way.

Your local is best served by being named after a person or having a personified name. The Stanley or Mrs Brown could easily become locals of mine on that basis alone. The local will ideally become a stalwart in your group, you will show as much love for it as you will the least liked person joining you there, if not more. Ok, probably more.

Sit in the same spot each time. In sitcom land, it just makes it easier to set up the shot. But in real life it makes it easier for your motley crew to find you when they bounce in fresh from work/gym/a failed date/a close call with public transport.  It’ll also provide at least one piece of conflict when someone else sits in your spot. Ooh yes, we love conflict.

It needs to be comfortable with couches or booths over bar stools anytime. I’m anti bar stool simply because I’m short and I look odd getting onto said stool. And when I’ve safely perched myself, I swing my legs like a five year old. Some habits die hard.

Be within stumbling distance of your house… or someone else’s house with a couch. Everyone wants to get home safely, right? That’s why sitcoms are easily placed in New York City, stumbling is the norm.

Have a friendly barman / barista who can play a supporting role. Nothing more than the odd indignant comment, snide remark or vital piece of information is required from them. Oh that and providing you with your beverage of choice. That’s the most important part. But you’ll also want to be on first name terms with them. Makes it less awkward.

And that’s the main criteria to finding your local. If you have any other essential elements that I’ve missed, the comments box is below.

Table? Chairs? Friends? Check!

But never fear if you cannot find a local that fits the description, the Golden Girls made do with cheesecake and their kitchen table, so I’m sure your ingenuity will take you far.

Next time: Why ditching your car will make for a better story.

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