I’ve learned we are all hard wired for story. There is a structure we gravitate to. Overcoming conflict. Risking. Leaving our comfort zones to find the magic elixer to return to our world somehow a better participant.
In writing for an animated series ( in this case one that is supposed to be funny) I always went by a few rules with my writers and storyboard writers and artists.
The main premise and structure of the series is first and foremost the structure to build from. Don’t stray from our rules of the world we’ve created to make a story or gag work. It may be a temporary laugh, but it has undermined the ground in which we stand. It confuses the audience whether they realize it or not. It causes disconnection.
The basic personalities should always remain firm. Sometimes our characters may stretch their comfort zones, but that doesn’t mean change who they are to make a story or gag work.
The Best stories and gags emerged organically from who the character is and what the structure of the series is.
The next up, is Story. Our story needs to remain our main goal after consistency. The story needs to move forward organically. Pulling from within. Coincidence works to get us into a story, but should not be used to get us out of a story. One of the main characters should take an active role in getting us out of the conflict the story has presented.
Third, are gags. Hilarity. Although I enjoy non-sequitur gags, I won’t do them if they somehow destroy the personality of the character, the series premise or the story. And a whole episode or non-sequitur gags will disconnect your audience. The best gags are personality based and or story based. The gag advances both.
We can talk later about different structures of story later. But I find these rules always to remain steadfast.