Introducing sitcom[1]


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Introducing sitcom[1]

  1. 1. Sitcom Introducing Situation Comedy
  2. 2. The ‘ sit ’ and the ‘ com ’ of sitcom <ul><li>Most sitcoms feature a group of characters trapped in a particular situation or in a dysfunctional relationship. The situation could include being part of a family; being married to a grumpy old man; or working with annoying people. This is the sit uation . </li></ul><ul><li>Sitcoms are also supposed to be funny. We laugh at, or along with the characters, </li></ul><ul><li>recognising and understanding their situation. </li></ul><ul><li>This is the com edy. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Location <ul><li>Sitcoms are usually based in a limited location. This makes it cheap for producers. They can use the same main set for most of the episodes. </li></ul><ul><li>The sets usually reflect either the domestic setting - the home (My Family, Malcolm In the Middle), or the workplace (The Office, Red Dwarf, The IT Crowd). </li></ul>
  4. 4. The location Link these sitcoms to their main locations. <ul><li>The Mighty Boosh </li></ul><ul><li>Fawlty Towers </li></ul><ul><li>Friends </li></ul><ul><li>Porridge </li></ul><ul><li>Red Dwarf </li></ul><ul><li>Only Fools and Horses </li></ul><ul><li>The Office </li></ul><ul><li>The Royle Family </li></ul><ul><li>My Family </li></ul><ul><li>A family home </li></ul><ul><li>An office </li></ul><ul><li>A spaceship </li></ul><ul><li>A hotel </li></ul><ul><li>A zoo </li></ul><ul><li>A flat in Peckham </li></ul><ul><li>A front room </li></ul><ul><li>A prison </li></ul><ul><li>A New York apartment </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Comedy <ul><li>Sitcoms can use a range of different types of comedy: </li></ul><ul><li>Physical comedy – falls, fights, or exaggerated physical comedy like slapstick. </li></ul><ul><li>Black humour – jokes around dark or taboo subjects such as death and disease </li></ul><ul><li>Comedy of manners – focussing on a particular social group and mocking or satirising their behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Romantic comedy – focussing on the pitfalls and difficulties of falling in or out of love </li></ul><ul><li>Social or political satire – jokes or observations related to the political or social issues of the time. </li></ul><ul><li>Parody or pastiche – where the humour arises from the use and mockery of conventions from another media genre </li></ul>
  6. 6. Types of characters <ul><li>Sitcoms usually focus on a small group of main characters, eg Ross, Rachel, Joey in Friends </li></ul><ul><li>There are also usually some supporting characters who have regular minor parts, e.g. Gunter, Ross’s wife. </li></ul><ul><li>There can also be transient characters, who have small or very occasional roles, including guest stars, and walk on parts ( e.g. George Clooney playing a doctor in one or two episodes, the newspaper seller). </li></ul>
  7. 7. The plot <ul><li>Sitcoms usually have fairly simple narratives, which revolve around small issues and everyday crises. </li></ul><ul><li>They rarely involve life and death situations or saving the world. </li></ul><ul><li>They focus on the common everyday occurrences that most of the audience can relate to: covering up mistakes, hiding the truth from someone, misunderstandings, trying to make yourself look better and being found out, and so on. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Which would or would not make good sitcom plots? Why? <ul><li>Celebrating Christmas with the in-laws. </li></ul><ul><li>Preventing a meteor from destroying the earth. </li></ul><ul><li>A blind date goes wrong. </li></ul><ul><li>Hunting for the serial killer. </li></ul><ul><li>A crazy friend is in town. </li></ul><ul><li>One character is promoted at work, the other is not. </li></ul><ul><li>Gang warfare breaks out on the streets of LA. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Over and over again <ul><li>Part of the situation in sitcom is that the characters never really escape their situation – the family stays together in My Family, Delboy and Rodney never get rich in Only Fools and Horses, The workers stay in their dull jobs in The Office. </li></ul><ul><li>Occasionally, in long running series or to end a series, things will change – Nana dies in The Royle Family, Chandler and Monica get married, Dawn and Tim get together in The Office. </li></ul><ul><li>But, on the whole, characters end each episode in more or less the same place or situation they started in. </li></ul><ul><li>These circular narratives keep characters in their amusing situation; this helps producers sell series for repeats as they can be watched in almost any order; it also helps the audience know what to expect each time they watch. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Crossing over <ul><li>Sitcoms are endlessly variable. From the classic sitcoms like Fawlty Towers and My Family, sitcoms can be set anywhere (on an island, Father Ted, in a zoo, The Mighty Boosh) and in any time in the past (Blackadder; Allo, Allo), or in the future (Red Dwarf). </li></ul><ul><li>They can cross-over with sci-fi (Red Dwarf, Astronauts, Third Rock From The Sun) and reality TV (The Office). </li></ul><ul><li>They can be ironic (Spaced), surreal (The Mighty Boosh) or even disturbing (The League of Gentlemen). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Audiences love sitcoms because… <ul><li>They provide light relief and humour. </li></ul><ul><li>They reflect problems many of us have to deal with in everyday life. </li></ul><ul><li>They have likable characters we enjoy relating to – perhaps they feel like our friends. </li></ul><ul><li>They are safe – we know what sort of things will happen, we know how episodes will end. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Producers love sitcoms because….. <ul><li>Limited sets and few outside locations mean they are cheap to make. </li></ul><ul><li>A limited number of characters keeps costs down too. </li></ul><ul><li>They are popular with audiences. </li></ul><ul><li>They are endlessly variable, and can be made to appeal to any age range or type of person. </li></ul><ul><li>Series can be sold around the world and shown as re-runs for years, generating more profit. </li></ul><ul><li>Scheduling is easy for re-runs as episodes don’t need to viewed as a series or in order. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Summary <ul><li>Sitcoms have a restricted location </li></ul><ul><li>Characters tend to stay in same situation, episode after episode. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a limited number of main characters. </li></ul><ul><li>Plots are based around everyday events. </li></ul><ul><li>Humour is based around personalities and the smaller problems in life. </li></ul><ul><li>The characters usually reflect the target audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Sitcoms are relatively cheap and easy to make. </li></ul><ul><li>They can appeal to a wide range of different audiences. </li></ul>