Sitcoms are something of a staple to television. They are shows that are easy to watch and entertaining, and each channel seems to have its own version of a sitcom. But what actually is a classic sitcom? This article aims to explore what they are and the history of what gave us modern-day sitcoms.
What is a Sitcom?
Sitcom stands for situation comedy. This is a genre of comedy that follows a fixed set of characters that carry over multiple episodes. These can be contrasted with sketch comedy, which often uses new characters for each episode. In addition, some sitcoms are recorded in front of a live studio audience, while others have this imitated through the use of a laugh track.
The History of the Sitcom
The term “sitcom” wasn’t commonly used until the 1950s in regard to television. However, critics argue that there were sitcoms broadcast on the radio before this. However, the first television sitcom is said to be Pinwright’s Progress. It aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom between 1946 and 1947, having ten episodes. It followed J. Pinwright, the owner of a small shop. He tries to out-compete his rival. However, his staff is not the most helpful. However, all that remains now of the show are still photographs.
The man that is famed for “inventing” the sitcom format is William Asher. Asher is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer who directed dozens of leading sitcoms, including I Love Lucy, from the 1950s all the way to the 1970s. The premise of I Love Lucy follows Lucy Ricardo’s passion for fame and fortune. Her husband, Ricky Ricardo, is already a singer but, more often than not, is pulled into Lucy’s plans.
Following the success of this format, many more sitcoms were made – and now continue to be made, following a variety of characters. Considering how many sitcoms now exist, even the sitcom genre has its own subcategories, such as teen sitcoms or even animated sitcoms.
Then What Defines Something As “Classic”?
To be defined as classic, something must be an outstanding example of a particular style. Another way in which something can be classified as a classic is for it to be something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality. To us, this might be one of those things that you have watched a thousand and one times but still get the same buzz of watching it like it’s the first time all over again.
In terms of the sitcom, there are endless answers: The Addams Family, Everybody Loves Raymond, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are only a few of the many, many, many sitcoms that have graced our screens. As for which sitcom is the greatest of all time, there is no clear answer. Many have their personal favorites, and because of just how many sitcoms there are, it’s a struggle to crown one the king (or queen) of all.
Instead, I’ll pitch it to you. Which sitcom do you think is the best and why? Let me know in the comments your thoughts.