HALF HOUR IS HARD
I was watching probably my favorite episode of my own show, Naked Josh
, "Domme and Dommer." It's a fun little comic episode -- Josh dates a domineering woman who, it turns out, likes to be flogged -- but likes to boss him around about how and where. It's my favorite because it's funny and "clean" -- you don't need to know anything about the show to enjoy it. There are wacky hijinks, and also moments of insight. Other episodes are either more involved in the season's chronology, or just much more dramatic -- heavier.
Canada is home of the half hour drama, but half hour lends itself more to comedy than drama. You have to make your moments crystal clear, which means, in turn, they tend to be a little cartoonish. Cartoonish works for comedy, not so well for drama. To really allow a scene to breathe, to really allow nuance, reality, humanity, requires longer scenes than half hour really wants. You can get away with a three, four minute scene in a drama, but in a comedy, that's long. Trailer Park Boys
gets away with it, but it's part of the joke how longwinded and annoying the characters are, and it fits into the documentary-style, semi-scripted semi-improvised style of the show (a style that is really cheap to shoot, a point which has not gone unnoticed among Canadian networks).
If you must have drama in half an hour, then try to have fewer scenes that do breathe rather than more scenes that make more points faster. There's only so much the viewer can absorb in the impossibly short space of 20 minutes.