situation + comedy
The cast of I Love Lucy: William Frawley (Fred Mertz), Lucille Ball (Lucy Ricardo), Desi Arnaz (Ricky Ricardo), Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz). Source: MovieFanGirl20/Fanpop.com
A sitcom, or situation comedy, is a comedy centered around a group of characters who share a common environment, typically living or working together. They’ve been around since television’s infancy. Some, like The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, and Audrey Meadows or I Love Lucy with Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley, have run continuously since they were first aired in the 1950’s, others last less than one season.
A couple of examples:
- The Andy Griffith Show, with Andy as the sheriff of Mayberry, North Carolina, which also starred Don Knotts, Ronny Howard, and Francis Bavier.
- The Dick Van Dyke Show, where Dick played the head writer of The Allan Brady Show. We saw him at work with co-writers Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie), director Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon) and the star (Carl Reiner), and at home with wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), son Richie (Larry Matthews), and neighbors Jerry and Millie Helper (Jerry Paris and Anna Morgan Guilbert).
- All In The Family, with Carroll O’Connor playing blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker, with his wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) and Gloria’s husband Mike (Rob Reiner), also known as Meathead.
- Murphy Brown, with Candice Bergen in the title role as a reporter on a weekly newsmagazine show, also starring Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto, Grant Shaud, and Charles Kimnbrough.
- The Big Bang Theory, with Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons playing a pair of Cal Tech physics professors who are roommates and live across the hall from an attractive woman (Kaley Cuoco) who works as a waitress while she waits for her big break as an actress.
One type of sitcom that’s popular in the US is the “Britcom,” sitcoms licensed (usually) from the BBC which typically air on affiliates of the Public Broadcasting Service. Shows such as Keeping Up Appearances with Patricia Routledge and Clive Swift, Are You Being Served? with Mollie Sugden, John Inman, and Frank Thornton, and As Time Goes By with Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer air every Saturday night on Georgia Public Television, and remain popular even though they’ve been rerun many times over.
SITCOM is also used as a “backronym” (a backward acronym), a word which has become an acronym (instead of the other way around). It stands for “single income, two children, oppressive mortgage.” I hope that doesn’t apply to you…
What are your favorite sitcoms?