Situation comedy

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A situation comedy, often shortened to sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features recurring characters in a common environment such as a home or workplace, accompanied with jokes as part of the dialogue. Such programs originated in radio, but today, sitcoms are found almost exclusively on television as one of its dominant narrative forms.

A situation comedy may be recorded before a studio audience. Some also feature a laugh track.

Contents

Characteristics

As opposed to stand up comedy and sketch comedy, a situation comedy has a storyline and ongoing characters in, essentially, a comedic drama. The situation is usually that of a family, workplace, or a group of friends.

Traditionally comedy sketches were presented within a variety show and mixed with musical performances, as in vaudeville. The emerging mass medium of radio allowed audiences to regularly return to programs, so programs could feature the same characters and situations each episode and expect audiences to be familiar with them.

Sitcom humor is often character driven and by its nature running gags often evolve during a series. Often the status quo of the situation is maintained from episode to episode. An episode may feature a disruption to the usual situation and the character interactions, but this will usually be settled by the episode's end and the situation returned to how it was prior to the disruption. There are exceptions to this. Some shows feature story arcs across many episodes where the characters and situations change and evolve.

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