A sitcom, clipping for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who mostly carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe may use new characters in each sketch, and stand-up comedy, where a comedian tells jokes and stories to an audience. Sitcoms originated in radio, but today are found mostly on television as one of its dominant narrative forms.

A situational comedy television program may be recorded in front of a studio audience, depending on the program's production format. The effect of a live studio audience can be imitated or enhanced by the use of a laugh track.

Critics disagree over the utility of the term "sitcom" in classifying shows that have come into existence since the turn of the century. Many contemporary American sitcoms use the single-camera setup and do not feature a laugh track, thus often resembling the dramedy shows of the 1980s and 1990s rather than the traditional sitcom.[1]

HistoryEdit

The terms "situational comedy" or "sitcom" were not commonly used until the 1950s.[2] There were prior examples on radio, but the first television sitcom is said to be Pinwright's Progress, ten episodes being broadcast on the BBC in the United Kingdom between 1946 and 1947.[3][4] In the United States, director and producer William Asher has been credited with being the "man who invented the sitcom",[5] having directed over two dozen of the leading sitcoms, including I Love Lucy, from the 1950s through the 1970s.

By countryEdit

AustraliaEdit

There have been few long-running Australian-made sitcoms, but many US and UK sitcoms have been successful there. Sitcoms are a staple of government broadcaster Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC); in the 1970s and 1980s many UK sitcoms also screened on the Seven Network. By 1986, UK comedies Bless This House and Are You Being Served? had been repeated by ABC Television several times, and were then acquired and screened by the Seven Network, in prime time.[6]

In 1981, Daily at Dawn was the first Australian comedy series to feature a regular gay character (Terry Bader as journalist Leslie).[7]

In 1987, Mother and Son was winner of the Television Drama Award presented by the Australian Human Rights Commission.[8][9]

In 2007, Kath & Kim's first episode of series four attracted an Australian audience of 2.521 million nationally,[10] the highest rating ever for a first episode in the history of Australian television,[10] until the series premiere of Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities in 2009 with 2.58 million viewers.[11]

In 2013, Please Like Me received an invitation to screen at the Series Mania Television Festival in Paris,[12] was praised by critics [13] and has garnered numerous awards and nominations.[14] Also in 2013, At Home With Julia was criticised by several social commentators as inappropriately disrespectful to the office of Prime Minister,[15] the show nevertheless proved very popular both with television audiences — becoming the most watched Australian scripted comedy series of 2011[16] — and with television critics.[17] Nominated to the 2012 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards for Best Television Comedy Series.[18]

CanadaEdit

Although there have been a number of notable exceptions, Canadian television networks have generally fared poorly with their sitcom offerings, with relatively few Canadian sitcoms attaining notable success in Canada or internationally.[19] Canadian television has had much greater success with sketch comedy and dramedy series.[19]

The popular show King of Kensington aired from 1975 to 1980, drawing 1.5 to 1.8 million viewers weekly at its peak.[20]

Corner Gas, which ran for six seasons from 2004 to 2009, became an instant hit, averaging a million viewers per episode.[21] It has been the recipient of six Gemini Awards, and has been nominated almost 70 times for various awards.[22]

Other noteworthy recent sitcoms have included Call Me Fitz, Schitt's Creek,[23] Letterkenny and Kim's Convenience,[24] all of which have been winners of the Canadian Screen Award for Best Comedy Series.

IndiaEdit

Sitcoms started appearing on Indian television in the 1980s, with serials like Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984) and Wagle Ki Duniya (1988) on the state-run Doordarshan channel. Gradually, as private channels were allowed, many more sitcoms followed in the 1990s, such as Dekh Bhai Dekh (1993), Zabaan Sambhalke (1993), Shrimaan Shrimati (1995), Office Office (2001), Ramani Vs Ramani (2001), Amrutham (Telugu - 2001), Khichdi (2002), Sarabhai vs Sarabhai (2005) to F.I.R. (2006–2015), Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, (2008–present), Uppum Mulakum (Malayalam 2015–present) , and "Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain" (2015–present).[25] SAB TV is one of the leading channels of India dedicated entirely to Sitcoms.

Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah is the longest running sitcom of Indian television and is known as the flagship show of SAB TV.[26]

MexicoEdit

El Chavo del Ocho, which ran from 1971 to 1980, was the most watched show in the Mexican television and had a Latin American audience of 350 million viewers per episode at its peak of popularity during the mid-1970s.[27] The show continues to be popular in Hispanic America as well as in Brazil, Spain, the United States, and other countries, with syndicated episodes averaging 91 million daily viewers in all of the markets where it is distributed in the Americas.[28][29] Since it ceased production in 1992, the show has earned an estimated billion in syndication fees alone for Televisa.[29]

New ZealandEdit

Gliding On, a popular sit-com in New Zealand in the early 1980s, won multiple awards over the course of its run, including Best Comedy, Best Drama and Best Direction at the Feltex Awards.[30]

RussiaEdit

The first Russian sitcom series was "Strawberry" (resembled "Duty Pharmacy" in Spanish format), which was aired in 1996–1997 on the RTR channel. However, the "boom" of Russian sitcoms began only in the 2000s — when in 2004, the STS started very successful sitcom "My Fair Nanny" (an adaptation of the American sitcom "The Nanny"). Since that time sitcoms in Russia were produced by the two largest entertainment channels of the country — STS and TNT. In 2007 the STS released the first original domestic sitcom — "Daddy's Daughters" (there were only adaptation before), and in 2010 TNT released "Interns (sitcom)" — the first sitcom, filmed as a comedy (unlike dominated "conveyor" sitcoms).

United KingdomEdit

Although styles of sitcom have changed over the years they tend to be based on a family, workplace or other institution, where the same group of contrasting characters is brought together in each episode. British sitcoms are typically produced in one or more series of six episodes. Most such series are conceived and developed by one or two writers. The majority of British sitcoms are 30 minutes long and are recorded on studio sets in a multiple-camera setup. A subset of British comedy consciously avoids traditional situation comedy themes and storylines to branch out into more unusual topics or narrative methods. Blackadder (1983–1989) and Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister (1980–1988, 2013) moved what is often a domestic or workplace genre into the corridors of power. A later development was the mockumentary in such series as The Office (2001–2003, 2013). Also coming of age in such series as The Inbetweeners (2008-2010).

United StatesEdit

The sitcom format was born in January 1926 with the initial broadcast of Sam 'n' Henry on WGN radio in Chicago, Illinois. The 15-minute daily program was revamped in 1928, moved to another station, renamed Amos 'n' Andy, and became one of the most successful sitcoms of the period. It was also one of the earliest examples of radio syndication. In 1947, the first American television sitcom, Mary Kay and Johnny, debuted. Since that time, many of the most watched shows in the US have been sitcoms.

Most American sitcoms are generally written to run a total of 22 minutes in length, leaving eight minutes for advertisements in a 30 minute timeslot.[31]

Some popular British shows have been successfully adapted for the US.[32] Some of the most successful American sitcoms of the 1970s, including All in the Family, Three's Company, and Sanford and Son, were adapted from British productions.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Evolution Of The Sitcom: The Age of the Single Camera". New York Film Academy, September 24, 2014.
  2. ^ Dalton, Mary M.; Linder, Laura R., eds. (2012). Sitcom Reader, The: America Viewed and Skewed. SUNY Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7914-8263-6.
  3. ^ "Pinwright's Progress". comedy.co.uk.
  4. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (2003). "Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy". BBC Worldwide Ltd.
  5. ^ "William Asher – The Man Who Invented the Sitcom", Palm Springs Life Dec. 1999
  6. ^ Collier, Shayne. Again and again and again. The Sydney Morning Herald – The Guide: 2 June 1986, p.1, 6. [1]
  7. ^ Howes, Keith. (1998, February). "Gays of Our Lives". Outrage, Number 177, 38-49.
  8. ^ "1987 Human Rights Medal and awards winners". Human Rights Medal and Awards. Australian Human Rights Commission. 1987. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  9. ^ Tynan, Jacinta (2008-09-13). "Weird how my rello won his fame". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
  10. ^ a b Seven Network (20 August 2007). "Seven – Daily Ratings Report". ebroadcast.com.au. Archived from the original on 20 May 2009. Retrieved 20 August 2007.
  11. ^ Knox, David (2009-02-10). "2.58m: Underbelly sets new record". TV Tonight.
  12. ^ Knox, David (22 February 2013). "Please Like Me, Puberty Blues selected for French TV festival". TV Tonight. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Please Like Me". Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Please Like Me - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  15. ^ Craven, Peter (8 Sep 2011). "At Home With Julia: inane drivel of the most idiotic kind". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2014-01-12. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Packed to the Rafters and Underbelly are 2011's top local dramas – Mumbrella". Mumbrella. 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  17. ^ Knox, David (Dec 1, 2011). "Critics' Choice: The Best of 2011". TV Tonight. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  18. ^ "Inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards Nominees" (PDF). Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-31.
  19. ^ a b "Why do Canadian sitcoms suck?". canada.com, March 21, 2014.
  20. ^ "King to be bachelor". Ottawa Citizen. 1978-01-25. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  21. ^ "Strong numbers mean replay of Corner Gas debut" (Press release). CTV Inc. 2004-01-23. Archived from the original on 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
  22. ^ "'Corner Gas' gives thanks with premiere on Monday, Oct. 13". CTV Globemedia. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  23. ^ "The success of Schitt’s Creek marks a turning point for the CBC". The Globe and Mail, January 9, 2017.
  24. ^ "CBC orders more Kim’s Convenience". Media in Canada, December 21, 2016.
  25. ^ Patel, Nidhin (2011-10-13). "'Taarak Mehta' completes 700 episodes". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2013-12-31.
  26. ^ Panjari, Swagata (October 1, 2018). "TMKOC: The journey of India's longest running TV show". Television Post. Archived from the original on June 22, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  27. ^ "Adiós al Chavo del 8: murió Roberto Gómez Bolaños". Forbes Mexico. 2014-11-29. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  28. ^ "El Chavo del 8 – Historia". Chespirito (in Spanish). Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  29. ^ a b "Meet El Chavo, The World's Most Famous (And Richest) Orphan". Forbes. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  30. ^ "Roger Hall Piece about Gliding On". NZ On Screen. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  31. ^ How Sitcoms Work, page 3.
  32. ^ When British TV flies across the pond. CNN.com, April 6, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2013.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit