“The Rise of the Millennial Sitcom”
“Perhaps the biggest difference between the “classic sitcom” and the “millennial sitcom” is a willingness to embrace paradoxes: Optimism disguised by cynicism; “sexy” experiences that are anything but; a desire for stability foiled by an inability to make concrete life choices. It’s reflective of the target audience: millennials who have had the world’s information at their fingertips for most of their adult lives, and learned to take in conflicting information from different sources at once.
It’s telling that the shows most emblematic of this trend are not workplace comedies. The characters bounce between jobs or have no jobs at all (aside from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Rebecca Bunch, for whom work is the only thing she has figured out). They freelance and move, as typified by the women of Broad City and their New York Nomad lifestyle. Like Love’s Gus and Girls’s Hannah, they’re constantly on the verge of getting fired. If a character is unemployed, they rest on their privilege, torn between wanting to make something of themselves and the knowledge that they might never have to. On Master of None, Dev and Alan grapple with the fact that their immigrant parents struggled so that they could chase their dreams — and yet they’re too existentially confused to even fully figure out what those dreams are. All of these shows feature characters with the ability to spend large swaths of time “walk and talk”-ing. This externalization of their self-involvement is used not necessarily to convey the immediacy and importance of what’s being said, but the fact that these ideas are being meandered and muddled through, just like the characters through their respective cities.”