Kimmy Schmidt and the end of conventional sitcoms

The high-concept sitcom is back, and the crazier the premise, the better

Why working-class sitcoms don’t work

Chuck Lorre meets the modern viewer’s aversion everyday working people

Michael J. Fox: Back with a future

TV’s comeback kid talks about sex, guns, Justin Bieber, and what Parkinson’s has given him

Fast-forward to the reruns

Fast-forward to the sitcom reruns

There is cash is in syndication, and some networks are speeding up production at the cost of quality

Five opinionated facts about Arrested Development

Jaime J. Weinman on the lesser known details of the series


Why mockumentary works

Sorry for another sitcom-theory post so soon after the last one, but a reader asked me if I had a specific post where I outlined why I think the mockumentary format is the modern version of the laugh track – or at least, as we saw on How I Met Your Mother last week, that it’s okay for a laugh-track show to turn off the track when they do a mock-documentary segment. I think I did write a longer post explaining this, but I can’t find it, so here is sort of a quick summary of my thoughts on the mockumentary and why it seems to work.


Laugh tracks in sitcoms are so retro

Single-camera shows, shot without an audience, are all the rage


The NBC sitcom counter-backlash

I see that Salon’s Willa Paskin has written an article about how Whitney has improved, thereby saving me from fearing I was going crazy. I had been telling people that it was one of the better new comedies of the season – a very backhanded compliment, admittedly, given what this season has been like – and getting genuinely horrified reactions.

Three stereotypes walk into a diner...

Three stereotypes walk into a diner…

Are walking ethnic clichés better than no clichés in sitcoms?

Why old people are suddenly watchable

Why old people are suddenly watchable on TV

Networks are discovering their most loyal viewers like over-60s like Ted Danson

Enough About Me, Here’s a Quote From Me

I got interviewed for a long article on the traditional sitcom (which I guess seems to be my specialized field; journalism isn’t all that different from academia after all) by Tim Walker from the Independent. That article is now online, and it’s a good one long before he gets to the quotes from me. The issues involved are the usual ones, but from a UK perspective; there, as in the U.S., the fight between traditional and non-traditional sitcoms, and a broader fight between naturalistic and non-naturalistic comedy performance, has been going on for a decade.


Back to the Future of Sitcoms – Leg Warmers Optional

Todd VanDerWerff has a follow-up to his ’70s sitcoms primer: an extensive guide to the U.S. sitcom in the 1980s.