Bob Dylan’s Philosophy of Modern Sitcoms

Wed, 25/01/2023 - 00:00
Wed, 25/01/2023 - 00:00

“[Dylan’s] ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song,’ an entire tome of wild, erratic writing about music that is sure to bedazzle and befuddle.” — Slate

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Full House

This is a show about the hell of modern life. The milkman, the paperboy, the evening TV—where did all go? Vanished into the endless vacuum of time. You once had San Francisco in the palm of your hand. Now your wife is dead, and you’re a widower with OCD and three daughters to raise. Your Windex can’t save you now. Your best friend needs to move in to help you. Your brother-in-law moves in. Still, you can’t cope. Your daughter drives a car through your kitchen wall, which seems to symbolize the pointlessness of it all, the inevitability of disaster, the futility of trying. The hilarious goddess of chaos laughs in the corner.


A meteoric fall from grace. Your star has not only faded, but your comet has blackened this earth. You once stood on the mountaintop, a Boston Red Sox star, the world at your fingertips. The bottle took it all. Now you pour beers for a living. Spend your days polishing glasses with some hayseed, listen to the nonsense ramblings and near-incoherent babbling of your only regular customers: a pretentious psychiatrist, a know-it-all mailman, and some unhappily married bozo, each content to drink their lives away. Where everybody knows your name? That used to be Fenway Park. Now it’s just another dusty drinking hole. Making your way in the world today? Takes everything you got.

Home Improvement

The machine has become the man. We were once apes, pounding chests and grunting to show male dominance and this show is a slap-in-the-face reminder of what modernity has rendered us: cockless, impotent, a hairless jellyfish doomed. You’re now nothing without your machine, your Binford 5000 sander, your Binford 8200 chainsaw, with forty-two-inch pro-bar, silicon pistons, and steel-bucking spike. Trivial, pathetic, you don’t even realize your own insignificance. You grunt like a hog in heat in some childish attempt to lick up the last crumbs of your dignity. Your wife and children mock you. Your neighbor spits cheap ten-cent fortune-cookie wisdom at you over the fence, and you cling to it as gospel because it’s all you have to call Truth. And your hot rod will rust in your damp Michigan garage.

Mork and Mindy

In this show, you are the Other, alien, a lost cause dropped on a lonely planet. There is no Sacagawea here. You’re left to navigate a cruel terra incognita with no compass. Your suspenders and your strange voices can’t save you now. Paddless, you’re slowly drowning into a nameless and icy river.

Family Matters

You are wanted nowhere, neither at home nor with neighbors. Did you do that? You don’t know. You know nothing save for your stalker-like obsessive love of the forbidden girl next door. Her cop dad throws down the hammer. Society has shunned you as some geek, a freak in oversized spectacles and high-waisted jeans. But you don’t play by society’s rules. And you don’t take guff from cops. You keep knocking for love, barging in unwelcomed, and praying to your ambivalent god that today is the day.


You can’t escape trouble. Doom hunts you through the labyrinth. Wells are everywhere, and their waters run deep, can swallow you up, and won’t spit you out. Wells are where they find the bones. Rivers, cars, caves, the shadows of night—danger lurks in every cranny. You’re so helpless you need a collie to save you. Bark and run for help. Grab your feet and drag you home. Out of some biological joke, some lark of evolution, you have been rendered more helpless than the savage beast your ancestors once tamed by cave fire. Your life is in her paws, and will be until the day she no longer comes running: The day you have to stand on your own and see what string the fates cut.

Three’s Company

Hell, two’s company. What you want is to be alone. This is the show for the lone wolf who has become the grinning conman with one gold tooth. The wolf in sheep’s clothing dying on the inside. One more day is a day too many. You want to stop pretending, but you’re stuck with the act. Like a mime with no face paint, you shrug and juggle, painted into your own corner. No one knows the real you. You never show them.