7 Things Nicholas Sparks' New Comedy Needs To Make The Sitcom As Sparks-y As Possible
"Get ready to laugh," said no one before viewing a Nicholas Sparks film. Despite being known more for romantic pathos than chuckles, Sparks is slated to switch gears by producing an upcoming comedy for ABC. According to Deadline, "The Next Chapter, written by Austin Winsberg (Gossip Girl, The Sound Of Music Live!), hails from Warner Bros TV and Sparks’ studio-based Nicholas Sparks Prods." The series will be loosely based on Sparks' life, as it "...centers on top-selling romance novelist Ben Diamond who goes through a divorce and not only begins to question his belief in love, but he also must learn to date again and live on his own..." Sparks and his wife, Cathy, announced their separation in January after 25 years of marriage. The Next Chapter will also play into the trials Ben faces as being perceived as the pinnacle of romantic expertise.
Are you guys excited for this? I know I am! I'll admit, however, I initially responded to the prospect of Sparks foraying into the area of sitcoms with an arched eyebrow and an audible, "Huh?" As I noted earlier, Sparks novels and films tend to lead to more tears than guffaws. Then I thought about it a little more and realized that the author and producer's formula is actually great — nay — perfect for sitcom fodder. Shows like Friends were peppered with romantic moments (hi, Ross and Rachel) that made fans swoon, while How I Met Your Mother swayed between being hilarious and heart-wrenching.
Yes, a Sparks comedy could definitely be amazing. As both a fan of his works and sidesplitting sitcoms, I feel that there are a few things The Next Chapter should include based on Sparks' lauded formula.
1. Kisses In The Rain
I don't care which genre you're playing in — rain makes every kiss amazing. The creators of Friends knew what was up. See?
2. Channing Tatum Needs To Show Up At Some Point
The man has proven that he can take on both drama and comedy by starring in films like Dear John and 21 Jump Street. Plus, any time Tatum graces my screen, it's a good day.
3. Someone Is Gonna Have To Die
Look, I don't make the rules. If memory serves me right, you can't have Sparks involved in a creative project without at least one character dying in the most devastating way imaginable. Despite their lighthearted nature, several sitcoms haven't shied from tackling death as a way to further nuance characters and captivate audiences.
4. The OTP Needs To Suffer Circumstances That Keep Them Apart
Remember when Ross and Rachel on Friends first got together and then just...like...dated normally for a year? Total yawns-ville. There's no doubt some romantic storylines will be a part of the landscape of The Next Chapter. Any romantic arcs need to have at least a few wrenches thrown in to keep things exciting.
5. Mandy Moore Songs Should Be Playing In The Background During Emotional Scenes
Moore songs ignite all the best feels, IMHO.
6. Impassioned Monologues, Anyone?
Sometimes it's important to cut the laugh track and make room for an impassioned speech by a series' protagonist. Sparks is a certifiable pro at delivering the goods when it comes to monologues, so infusing his sitcom with earnest proclamations is a must.
7. Tears...Lots Of Tears
Just because he's taking a walk on the comedic side of things doesn't mean Sparks can't still make his fans reach for the kleenex. Some of the most iconic sitcoms were able to successfully toggle between being slapstick and sentimental. I welcome the emotional rollercoaster that could be in store whilst I vicariously live through the characters in The Next Chapter.
With this series and a TV adaptation of The Notebook making their way to the small screen, my DVR is slated to be jam-packed. I'll just start stocking up on tissues now.
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