life in bedlam
Tonight at dinner, Eli was recounting the plot of what he considers one of the finest episodes of one of his favorite Disney shows, “Austin And Ally.”
“So, they accidentally let Ally’s bird, Owen, escape,” he says.
“Pets accidentally escaping happens a lot on sitcoms,” Brandon reflects.
“Ooh! It happened on Phinneas & Ferb, too!” Eli says.
“It’s a cliche,” Miles declares.
“No,” I correct him. “It’s a motif.”
Eli sighs and continues, “Anyway, they knew that Owen liked popcorn, so they decide to make popcorn, only, the girl put too much in and the popcorn filled up the whole room, and so they tried to eat their way out of it. It was hysterical!”
“That’s like a combination of The Brady Bunch washing machine episode and the I Love Lucy candy factory conveyor belt episode,” I offer.
Brandon looks inspired. “Maybe we should create an index of sitcom motifs and tale types like Aanti Aarni did with folktales!”
“A concordance!” I reply. “Then we could use it to develop a unified theory of sitcom plots, write the ultimate pitch and get rich!”