SITUATION COMEDY

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What is a Sitcom?. Sitcoms are series. A series is a set of television programs in which episodes share the same situations and characters but are separate from the others in the series in terms of their plotlines.. TRADITIONAL 50'S. The 50's television family consisted of familiar faces such as th

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SITUATION COMEDY

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1. SITUATION COMEDY The Changing Face of the Sitcom Family

2. What is a Sitcom? Sitcoms are series. A series is a set of television programs in which episodes share the same situations and characters but are separate from the others in the series in terms of their plotlines.

3. TRADITIONAL 50’S The 50’s television family consisted of familiar faces such as the Nelson’s, the Anderson’s, and the Cleavers. They were traditional families consisting of a mother, father, and children. Father was the dominant figure. Mother was the home maker. The point of view of the show was generally through the eyes of the parents.

4. Sitcoms of the 50’s contained moral messages such as: obey your parents tell the truth develop self-esteem have pride in your family help others accept responsibility for your actions

5. Many of the shows included real life family members. All of the cast members were white. The programs emphasized strong family values. The programs did not contain any vulgarity. Theme songs introduced the shows. Most sitcoms relied on a laugh track. A teen culture began to develop.

6. YOUTHFUL 60’S The 60’s sitcoms focused on young families. Many of these families were apartment dwellers. The focus was on work and family. I Love Lucy continued as a staple of the 60’s sitcom genre. I Love Lucy introduced the 3 camera technique and recorded before a live audience.

7. Independent 70’ In the 70’s, comedy began to revolve more around the characters than the situations. The 70’s saw the rise of women’s rights, working women and civil rights movements. Television programs pushed the boundary on topics, including sex, race, abortion and rape. Racial diversity could be seen in television programs. The 70’s sitcom emphasized serious topics rather than exaggerated “situation” comedy. Mary Tyler Moore, Taxi, and All in the Family were prime time staples.

8. Realistic 80’s The 80’s witnessed a burst of realism. Families, although traditional in form, were also shown as dysfunctional. Roseanne, Married with Children, and The Cosby Show were prime examples.

9. FREE 90’S The 90’s sitcoms examined a variety of topics including gay and lesbian relationships. The family no longer consisted of the traditional family. Many shows featured the nuclear family: a group of friends, single parent families, mixed racial families, and singles. Lives were not fanciful. Friends, Seinfeld, Krammer and Drew Carey are a few examples.

10. The New Millennium What can be said of sitcoms in the new millennium? Prepare a case study on a new sitcom in the 2000’s.

11. Sitcom Genres A variety of sub-genres exist. Domestic sitcoms focus on the problems involved with raising children. Fiction sitcoms (magcoms) feature supernatural characters in domestic settings. Bewitched, Mork and Mindy, I Dream of Jennie and Third Rock are examples. In military sitcoms, the focus is removed from the domestic. Sgt. Bilko and Mash are such sitcoms.

12. SITCOM FORMULA Length: Half an hour Setting: indoors, intimate, safe, personal, warm and cozy space Characters: Same people each week who form a loving “family” whether it be biological, with mom, dad, and the kids, or surrogate, as in the friendship or peer groupings on Friends and Seinfeld. The characters are usually good looking and financially comfortable.

13. Plot: The family is threatened by confusion, or change, but there is a return to “normalcy” that happily places them right back where they started. Humor: Stock characters or stereotypes; mistaken identities; misunderstandings; breaking the rules; jealousy; extreme points of view Values: Society’s pro-social values are reinforced, including respect for the traditions of the nuclear family.

14. CODES AND CONVENTIONS Sitcoms use an exaggerated and distorted form of reality to great effect. In sitcoms, the context comes first. Characters are often stereotypical. They have familiar and predictable problems. The characters themselves, their reactions, and their approaches to resolution of conflict are exaggerated, over-simplified, and frequently irrational. Despite this, we recognize, we identify, and we laugh.

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