A year ago, Variety ran a story that praised certain television shows for their ability to be funny while working within smallscreen standards-and-practices parameters. While mainstream film was increasingly getting its laughs from pure raunch -- hello, "Hangover" -- TV shows like "Modern Family" and "Parks and Recreation" were finding ways to crack us up without going blue.
Of course, just as there are some mainstream film comedies that do keep it clean, there are some comedies on the smallscreen where there seems to be no limit to how sexual, profane or crass they can be. FX might be ground zero for this with "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Louie" and "Wilfred." The pay channels are no slouches, either – look no further than this coming Sunday's unbelievably bold "Curb Your Enthusiasm" for pure audaciousness (not just politically, but sexually).
Among the top examples of "Hangover" humor on TV is "The Inbetweeners," the BBC America comedy airing Saturdays this summer (and currently being remade into an MTV adapation). I'm not sure you'll find anything more crude on American television today — perhaps it seems even more brash because the main characters are school-age kids. But it really is downright funny, with every bit of coarseness built upon cleverness.
The final thought I can't excape is that you go see "Hangover II" or "Bridesmaids," get your shock to the system and your laughs, but after a couple of hours, it's all over. And in the end, your film comedy options throughout the year are few and far between — while on TV, the crazy party goes on and on. Even in what might be feature film's wheelhouse of blue comedy, I'm not sure television doesn't do it better.