Okay, enough talk about money and courses and radio. Let's do some script nitty-gritty: the time, A Big Silly Thing.
Sometimes, when sitting in a room storylining Miranda, we talk about big silly events happening - those big farcical moments that stretch the laws of probability and credulity, but are undoubtedly funny.
When that happens, you need to ask two questions. Is it funny enough to justify this stretch in credibility? It may well do. A big clear physical joke that does not contravene character is fine. You can bend the laws of Physics as much as you like, ironically. But when a character behaves implausibly for the sake of a joke, the audience won't like it. So play with Newtonian physics by all means, as long as the joke is consistent with the characters and the story. But don't mess with the characters.
But even then the timing might not be right. And here is the second question. Where is it happening in the script? Once or twice, I've found myself saying out loud 'It's okay - it's the end of the show so we can do it'. I've been trying to work out why I say that - and let's remember this is an art, not a science - but this big silly events can happen at the end of the script, but not in the middle.
Maybe it's because everything in a sitcom needs to have consequences, right the way to the end. If someone does something miraculous in the middle of the show, the characters would have to respond to it in some way, which could knock your story out of shape. There would be 'fall-out' from the story. But if this silly thing happens at the end, we're spared all that reaction. Besides, know that the slate is wiped clean and we begin again next week with everything back to normal.
So, a Big Silly Thing is essentially a 'joke for free' - or something that tops a set-piece scene or moment. Almost like a punchline. I shouldn't really matter. And it certainly shouldn't be a plot resolver - or it may look like a Deus Ex Machina, which is essentially a resolution to a story that none of us could have seen coming and isn't merited by the characters. (See Measure for Measure for Shakespeare's lousiest ending when a Duke appears out of nowhere and wraps it all up. I've not read it or seen it, but it sounds dreadul.)
The characters are the key - they get themselves into messes, and they have to get themselves out again, or at least overcome characters flaws in order to accept help.
I'd be interested to hear the views and experiences of others.