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Evolution Of The Sitcom Essay

2253 words - 9 pages

The Evolution of the Television Sit-ComSpanning from the early twentieth century to today, from "The Honeymooners" and "I Love Lucy" to "The Simpsons" and "Trailer Park Boys", and from Canada all the way to Japan, the situation comedy is one of the most beloved television program genres worldwide. What defines a situation comedy? How did it get to be so popular? Where and how did it begin? For almost as long as the television itself has been around, 'sitcoms' have been a major contributor to the television broadcasting companies. Audiences love sitcoms. They have drama, comedy, laugh-out-loud and even teary-eyed moments. This essay will give a detailed history of the television sitcom, as well as the sitcom 'family', and explain how it has evolved from its earliest days in front of a live audience, to the now awkward silences that heighten a sitcom's hilarity.How did the sitcom get its start? First we need an understanding of what a sitcom actually is. A sitcom is a genre of comedy performance found on television and occasionally in a radio format. It usually consists of recurring characters in a format, usually a 30 minute show once a week, in which there are one or more story lines centered on a common environment such as a family home or workplace. The sitcom format is based upon two main types: usually family drama mixed with sibling rivalry and drama of sexual exploration. Family sitcoms specialized in drama of a family component and focus on internal family roles of the parents, children, and siblings. Family sitcoms include blood families like "Roseanne," melded families like "The Brady Bunch," and metaphorical families like "Cheers" or "Friends." Family and domestic sitcoms were and still are essentially used as educational devices, teaching audiences how to watch television (media literacy) and how to live in families (life skills). Traditionally, situation comedies were largely self-contained, in that the characters themselves remained largely static and events in the sitcom resolved themselves by the conclusion of the show. An example of this is the animated sitcom "The Simpsons," which began in the mid 1980s, where the characteristics of animation have rendered the characters unchanging in appearance forever, although the characters in the show have sometimes made knowing (and hilarious) references to this. Other sitcoms used greater or lesser elements of ongoing story lines. "Friends," a hugely popular sitcom of the 1990s, contains soap opera elements such as resorting to an end-of-season 'cliff-hanger,' and has gradually developed the relationships of the characters.Situation comedies have been a part of the landscape of broadcast television since its early days. In the US, early sitcom format developed for radio and transferred to TV in the late 1940s and early 1950s. One of the first was "Mary Kay and Johnny," a 15-minute sitcom which debuted on the DuMont network in November of 1947. It was followed by "The Goldbergs" which first...

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