Ah, yes, the DomCom. A celebration of the place we live, and the people with whom we share it. And, like anything else, can be written well...or poorly. Hopefully, this helps you write it well.

'''Step One: Meet The Family'''

First of all, what kind of family do you want? The standard DomCom family is, of course, the NuclearFamily with 2.4 children (usually a [[ABoyAGirlAndABabyFamily a boy, a girl, and a baby of either sex)]] a stay-at-home mom, a BumblingDad, and [[TeamPet a dog.]]

But, of course, families aren't always like that. Especially in this day and age of marriage, divorce, and remarriage, women working outside of the home, children born to parents in relationships but not legally married, etc. being commonplace. So, for example, you might have stepparents. Or a gay or lesbian couple with two point five kids and a dog. Or the BumblingDad may stay home with the kids while Mom goes out to earn the paycheck. You might have a newly-married couple that has no children yet, or a middle-aged couple whose kids have long since grown up and left the house. You might have a MotherOfAThousandYoung. You might have a MissingMom or a DisappearedDad. You might not have a family at all, but rather TrueCompanions living in the same house or apartment. The children could be toddlers, or adolescents. Be creative!

Most families in these types of shows are white, middle-class Americans from FlyoverCountry. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but why not branch out a little? Your family could be rich. Or it could be working-class. They could be black, Hispanic, or Asian...or even space aliens. They don't have to live in a BigFancyHouse in {{Suburbia}}. (More on {{Setting}} later.)

'''Step Two: What Kind of Family Is This?'''

Now that you've created your characters, how do they relate to one another?

In recent years, it's become commonplace to have the DysfunctionalFamily featured in a DomCom. This works because, well, let's face it. Nobody's family is 100% perfect all the time. If your family is too perfect, you run out of interesting plot lines, and the show [[TastesLikeDiabetes gets vapid]].

That said, however, don't rush out and turn your DysfunctionalFamily UpToEleven by making them into a BigScrewedUpFamily. The BigScrewedUpFamily is ''not'' the same as the DysfunctionalFamily, at least not in TV-Trope-Land. The BigScrewedUpFamily tends to lose sympathy with the audience, because ''most'' people can't relate to it. Such families are common enough that they're not unheard of (unfortunately), but not as common as you might think. Further, if PlayedForLaughs, a lot of times you'll be delving into BlackComedy, which does tend to put people off, even in this DarkerAndEdgier age. This too makes the show vapid and eventually unenjoyable. The BigScrewedUpFamily should be reserved for when it's PlayedForDrama.

Therefore, for purposes of the DomCom, the best type of family, regardless of who or what composes it, is generally a QuirkyHousehold or a ''slightly'' DysfunctionalFamily. What's the difference? Well, the QuirkyHousehold is just that: quirky. (For example, a NuclearFamily of {{Otaku}} that's ''always'' in cosplay, but otherwise, a relatively normal, loving family. They have their day-to-day foibles, but nothing too "out there.") The DysfunctionalFamily, on the other hand, consists of characters that frequently come into conflict with one another (though not necessarily violently), offset with the occasional AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther moment. It could be argued that (at least in TV-Trope-Land), all [[DysfunctionalFamily dysfunctional families]] are [[QuirkyHousehold quirky households]] when PlayedForLaughs, but not all quirky households are dysfunctional families. It works because you can write plotlines easily; just think of the day-to-day foibles, conflicts, and bloopers that happen in your own life, or the lives of your own family members. Because of that relatability, the humor is easier to find.

'''So, how dysfunctional is ''too'' dysfunctional?'''

The basic distinction between the aforementioned BigScrewedUpFamily and the DysfunctionalFamily is the level of violence and drama. If your family has members offing one another (usually for power), HonorRelatedAbuse, [[IncestIsRelative incestuous relationships]], alcoholism (and not usually of the FunctionalAddict variety), AbusiveParents, and habitual drug use, you're dealing with the former. If your family has a son that experiments with pot during a VerySpecialEpisode, or a LadyDrunk mom who is a FunctionalAddict and does not harm herself or her family via her drinking, or the family just argues frequently, you're dealing with the latter.

Obviously, there is a time and a place for everything. If your show is leaning heavily towards the cynical end of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, it may be very appropriate to have a BigScrewedUpFamily. If your show is a DeconstructiveParody of a more typical TV DysfunctionalFamily, it may be appropriate to have that, too. On the other hand, if you wish to avoid PlayedForDrama and/or BlackComedy, it may be more appropriate to have a family that's just screwed up enough for a ScrewballComedy, but not violent or nasty. This can be very tricky. Generally, the way to avoid the family crossing over into "too dysfunctional" territory, is to make it clear that they ''do'' love each other, in spite of their many flaws.

'''Step Three: Where Do They Live?'''

As mentioned before, most DomCom families are white, middle-class Americans. They usually live in a BigFancyHouse (which usually follows StandardizedSitcomHousing construction a la [[TheSimpsons 742 Evergreen Terrace]]. It is almost always located in {{Suburbia}}. But there's no rule that says it ''has'' to. You might have a family of TrailerTrash living in a trailer park. You might have an urban family. You might have a family that lives on a FarsideIsland with BambooTechnology. Or a family that lives on the moon. You might have a family that is blatantly not of the {{Eagleland}} variety. They might live in StepfordSuburbia, or a CrapsaccharineWorld, particularly if it's a [[JadeColoredGlasses very cynical show.]]

Generally, people have neighbors, unless they really do live out in the middle of nowhere. So it stands to reason that your DomCom family will have neighbors, too. What about them? Are they CrankyNeighbors? Or nice neighbors you only ''wished'' you lived next to. Do they [[FeudingFamilies compete over who has the nicer lawn?]] Are they ObnoxiousInLaws? Are they just like your main family, or do they exist as a {{Foil}} (i.e. The Smiths are a DysfunctionalFamily and the Joneses are so perfect it hurts.) Is your neighbor a FunnyForeigner or a CloudCuckoolander? Or is someone going to fall for the GirlNextDoor? Endless plotlines can be derived from neighbors and houseguests.

'''What About Extended Family?'''

Since the NuclearFamily is the norm in {{Eagleland}} (where much television originates), [[CaptainObvious the focus will probably be on the main family]]. (Unless you do have extended family living with them, such as if they're from a culture where this is the norm, or taking care of a sick or disabled relative.) But, the extended family makes for good houseguests...and plotlines. For example, think of all that could happen during Thanksgiving dinner that might not happen during a "normal" dinner. Are there crazy cousins? ObnoxiousInLaws? Uncles prone to LampshadeWearing? Aunts who qualify as ChristmasCake types, to the disappointment of other family members? A gay wedding being planned for Cousin Bob that Alice is uncomfortable with? Such a large extended family being invited to a family barbecue that the relatives qualify mostly as TwentyFourHourPartyPeople? Holiday and other special occasion episodes are a good time to work with this.

'''Other Tips'''

* Remember that a DomCom is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a ''domestic'' comedy.]] Meaning that most plotlines should be close to home. There might be plotlines surrounding Bob at work, or [[PunnyName Pastor Offeran]] at church, or Annie and Billy at school. It's OK to have a VacationEpisode, but do they ''really'' have to go on one OnceAnEpisode?

* Since it ''is'' a comedy, be silly. Look at the ComedyTropes index for ideas.

* While your family needn't be dysfunctional, remember that a family that's unbelievably perfect gets tiresome, and breaks the audience's WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief. If you can't stand the idea of a family that gets into a CavemenVersusAstronautsDebate at the dinner table, try a QuirkyHousehold. They're pleasant enough not to be dysfunctional, but (if played right) aren't so nauseatingly perfect. (Unless you're going for SoBadItsGood ''using'' a family that TastesLikeDiabetes.)