The value of this comedic method is irrefutable. Unlike, say, governments or laws, comedy doesn’t endure two millennia by accident or oversight. It lives or dies onstage because of its results, namely laughter. It might be the most democratic and meritocratic of arts for that reason.
That’s some cause for re-evaluation. “Stock,” “cliche,” and “conventional” carry no positive connotations. Some people even play connect the dots with them, treating forests like trees and discounting composition. How does the Brannigan-Kif dynamic affect Futurama’s comedy versus Artotrogus-Pyrgopolinices? What is the relationship to, say, the rest of theater (Kabuki, for example) or how does the pairing interact with its contemporaries? Trope hunters don’t really care.
As I’ve said elsewhere, our ability to be truly original is limited. We suffer from myopia about our influences. Let us open our eyes, then. Instead of castigating films for unoriginality, we should consider the freedoms that unoriginality brings. We should weigh the positives and negatives of their use and how they work together for the edification of the whole. Of course, should a writer squander those advantages, metaphorical stones should be thrown, but respect the value of the trite.
*I use the translation by David Christenson but provide a link to the Perseus website’s version