Even though they're still a powerful force in syndication ratings, it's hard to believe that sitcoms once ruled television. In the post-Sopranos era, the idea of a sitcom—packed with cliched plotlines and predictable quips—being the highest-rated television show is unfathomable. The notion becomes all the more preposterous when one looks at the sorry state of contemporary sitcoms.
Sitcoms were always formulaic. For most, the writers would find a few stock jokes they could make about a single character and find new ways to set up the punchline every episode. Archie Bunker finds a new way to call Edith stupid every week; Will rags on Carlton for his height every week; and Shawn mocks Corey for being a square every week. However, there's been a new formula sweeping the modern sitcom, and the results have been disastrous. In the video linked above, you can check out the YouTube channel Failure On Demand, dissecting how "quirky humor" is killing modern sitcoms.