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Character and Conflict

December 14, 1996

Having seen a couple episodes of "Men Behaving Badly," I find it quite obvious that the problem is in the character development and writing ("Trouble With 'Men' Isn't Just Guy Thing," Dec. 2). The main characters are too much alike for there to be any conflict between them, while the lone female just shrugs off their behavior as "men being men." In making such a conscious effort "not to alienate females," the writers have sacrificed strong situations for the characters as well as creative dialogue and ideas.

Because of this, we're left with safe situations that we've seen before on shows like "Seinfeld," where all of the male characters "behave badly," or on "The Odd Couple," where Oscar is so outrageous. In these two examples, however, the characters have been developed to have their own distinct personalities that automatically create the conflict necessary to suddenly make a "safe" situation interesting because the characters may not see things the same. That is what keeps the viewers interested and tuning in each week.

JON NICHOLS

Canoga Park

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