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The Laughs Are Too Far Away


 

Following up on my post about comedies that have the laughter too distantly miked, ABC’s extremely bland but reasonably-performing new show Surviving Suburbia provides an example of that: even when a line gets an enthusiastic response (deserved or not) from the audience, the laughs are so far away that it sounds like a bad laugh track. It doesn’t help that ABC keeps trying to revive its old style of domestic comedy on film, rather than tape; I don’t know the technical reasons for it, but film has a way of making everything sound more distant than videotape, where both the voices and the laughter can sound more “present.” It’s not going to happen in the HD era, but I still think some sitcoms would be better off taking a cue from the late lamented Lucky Louie and shooting on videotape.

Also, poor Cynthia Stevenson. She’s had a long and successful career, but I don’t think she’s ever been a regular on a show that lasted more than two years. I guess she’s lucky that she hasn’t attained a Paula Marshall type of reputation as a “show killer” (a weird term; most shows are not successful, so if someone is on a lot of unsuccessful shows, that’s not really that unusual; you have to be really good to get enough lead parts to be on a bunch of flops in the first place).

Speaking of sitcoms, the CW is going to drop all half-hour comedies for next season (this is the last season for Everybody Hates Chris), and Mara Brock Akil, the creator of their last multi-camera comedy, The Game (and therefore the last multi-camera comedy with African-American leads), is trying an interesting way of saving her show: she’s pitching the CW on the idea of turning the show into a single-camera hour-long show.

Not that this will likely happen, but if it does, it’ll certainly be something new. There have been hour-long drama spinoffs from half-hour comedies — like that terrible Brady Bunch drama series — but few if any transformations within a series itself from multi-camera comedy to hour-long single-camera drama. Unless you count The Facts of Life Goes To Paris, but that was two hours.


 

The Laughs Are Too Far Away

  1. Any chance Fox would pick up EHC and The Game? I know they’ve been trying to build up their sitcoms, so it would make some sense. Or are the shows too low rated to be of interest?

  2. I’m really gonna miss Everybody Hates Chris. It didn’t set the world on fire, but it’s been consistently enjoyable for four seasons, and that’s increasingly rare these days.

    Here’s a thing I wrote about Cynthia Stevenson last year –

    http://zeppomarxist.livejournal.com/6105.html

  3. Justin Louis = Ultimate “show killer”

  4. The Game is a very underrated show. It’s really smart and actually better than it needs to be.

  5. I was thinking maybe TV Land would pick up EHC, which only needs another half season to hit 100 episodes, I believe.

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