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November 19, 2009

COLUMN: When life and sitcom lines blur

By Phil Dzikiy

Last weekend, a friend of mine had to deal with a rather unfortunate incident.

As she pulled her car out of her garage, she heard a noise. A bad noise. You see, unbeknownst to her, my friend’s young daughter — the lovable scamp — had opened the car door. That car door was now just a door, not having anything to do with the car any longer.

I thought of this as a somewhat “sitcomy” moment — a situation that may have occurred on nearly any given American sitcom. But it didn’t go far enough. In a sitcom, the kid would have driven the car. Right into the living room. And, escaping the crash completely uninjured, she would have punctuated the event with a cute little exclamation, like “Whuh-oh, Spaghetti-Os!” or “Whoa, Mama!”

As life imitates art and vice versa, the lines of reality and sitcom-land are often blurred. How can we know where we stand?

Thankfully, fair readers, I have devised a scale. A scale that will tell you just how close you are to sitcom territory. Consult the chart. The higher the number, the more “sitcomy” it is.

1 — An uneventful work day; Deciding to go to bed early; Anything truly tragic.

2 — Taking the dog outside; Fretting over finances after a job setback; Checking a food’s expiration date.

3 — Talking to the mailman; Bad service at a restaurant; Forgetting where you parked your car.

4 — Kid breaks something expensive; Anything stemming from a sibling rivalry; Dealing with a bully.

5 — Kid breaks something extremely personal; Making an unreasonably expensive purchase to please a kid or spouse; An awkward, forced ex-spouse encounter.

6 — Wacky neighbors; Taking care of babies with no experience; Kid fakes an illness to get out of something.

7 — Fix-it attempt goes awry; Teenage party goes awry; Unexpected sexual tension!

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