This week is the Network Upfronts, that magical time of year when the 4/5 major networks trot out their new fall line-ups and try to convince advertisers that the shows don't suck as much as last season's. There's been a lot of talk about NBC's new shows not being comedies. (Well, maybe not a lot of talk. There was this one article.) In fact, NBC is only picking up two sitcoms for sure this fall: Tina Fey's working-at-SNL-is-funny show 30 Rock and 20 Good Years, aka John-Lithgow-and-Jeffrey-Tambor-are-old-and-quirky. Those two shows sound okay enough, but that article points out a disturbing fact: CBS's Two And a Half Men is the most popular comedy in America. Yes. More popular than The Office, My Name Is Earl, and anything else you've ever laughed at that you can think of. What the hell, America? Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer raising a little boy? Ugh. I was pretty sure that this show was off the air. Is it different from Freddie or Teachers or Joey in any real way? I have a bias here, and that bias is very specific and correct in every way: In general, I don't like new traditional, 3-camera, taped-in-front-of-a-studio-audience sitcoms. Most of the sitcoms that I've found funny lately, like The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, etc. are one-camera, laugh-track-less shows, and I think they're creatively much better for it. Then again, I'm a snob. Maybe some of you think that Will & Grace has its moments (you're very wrong, by the way). So, here's my question (and it's probably one that Louis CK is thinking about right now because of his new HBO show Lucky Louie): Now that we've seen the no-laugh-track light, can the traditional sitcom format be rescued from total annoyingness?

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