Evolution of the Sitcom

Essay by peejay_meerhedUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2009

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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...