Monday, March 18, 2013

Upgrading the Situation Comedy

Sitcom Comedy and Taste

Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men

Modern Family and 30 Rock

Traditional Style-Multi Camera style

·         More economical

·         Faster

·         Requires bright, flat, even lighting to make shots from angles workable ( a look generally considered visually cheap, uninteresting, and non-naturalistic by cinematographers and craft professionals)

·         Follows typical norms of storytelling and scene construction

·         Dramatic development depends on the pattern of “setup-punch line,  setup- punch line” where the actors have to wait for audience laughter (or laugh track)- low brow humor

The basic sitcom structure

·         Showcases verbal and physical comedy

·         Encourages broad theatrical performances style (gestures/facial expressions/loud-obnoxious voices)

New Sitcom Style- Single Camera style

·         Artistically distinguished

·         More aggressive use of sound and image

·         Camerawork and editing as sources of humor

·         Realistic awkward silence verses laugh tracks

·         Prefer to be smart and observant rather than never-ending streams of jokes and gags

·         Seek to expand the range of stylistic and narrative options available to American television comedy-upgrade? (sophisticated and cinematic qualities)

“Like a Movie”- Single Camera   -The cultural status of film adds prestige to the new sitcom style when it’s understood as cinematic and anti-televisual

·         Each shot has own set up

·         Shooting schedule

·         Multiple day shooting

·         Editing and music signal humor in a mire cinematic way than verbal jokes and pratfalls

Class vs. Mass: Costs and Benefits of Up scaling

·         CBS v. NBC- Fan cults or ratings

·         New style limits the target audience


Do you feel that a sitcom that utilizes a laugh track is an insult to the audience intelligence?

·         Kind of informs the audience if the joke is merely funny or down right hilarious

Do you all watch sitcoms for pure enjoyment, or do you watch for the style and aesthetic appeal?

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