Claim: end of urban friends TV shows, revival of happy suburban McMansion shows

With the end of “How I Met Your Mother,” one critic argues TV shows have moved on to happy suburban McMansions and darker shows about urban singles:

The series is among the last of a vanishing breed, the romantic comedy about well-educated, pop culturally attuned young white people trying to find love and sex in the city as they embark on their careers and independent lives. Such sitcoms proliferated after “Friends” became a huge hit for NBC in the 1990s.

But since ABC struck gold with “Modern Family,” networks have traded the urban coffee shops and bars for the suburban McMansion. TV comedies that explore the dating lives of young people now tend to be a lot darker than “How I Met Your Mother.” Take, for instance, HBO’s “Girls,” where the sex is graphic — and often soul-crushing for the characters.

Such a claim might sound true – but where is the data to back this up? Later in the article:

But that distinctive [storytelling] approach may have come at a price. “It’s that kind of innovation that never makes it to huge ratings heights of the good, old-fashioned sitcom,” Thompson said. “They’re very post-modern characters, so steeped in the irony and cynicism of the ’90s they grew up in, that sometimes it’s kind of hard to like them.”

Indeed, “HIMYM” never cracked even the Top 40 in total viewers, consistently averaging around 9 million or so over the course of its run, according to Nielsen. Yet it still occupied an important role for CBS, which is the most-watched network in the U.S. but often has trouble attracting young adults.

So no data on the number of shows with each genre or kind of storyline (young, happy singles vs. suburban McMansion dwelling families vs. unhappy urban singles) and then another knock against HIMYM and “Girls” and similar shows: they often don’t draw big ratings. So, while critics might like these shows (and critics might live in an alternate universe , how many of them are popular? Check out the Nielsen Top 25 for the week ending March 23, 2014: I don’t know all of these shows that well but I don’t see too many suburban McMansions. The suburbs are a common theme on television shows with a long history, dating back to the happy family shows of the 1950s. Yet, they don’t necessarily draw big ratings or the positive attention of critics even if they seem to be fodder for cancellations when the new crop of shows are rolled out each fall.

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