From Seeds of the Word, the encyclopedia of the influence of the Gospel on culture

A sitcom, a portmanteau of situation comedy, or situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who mostly carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe may use new characters in each sketch, and stand-up comedy, where a comedian tells jokes and stories to an audience. Sitcoms originated in radio, but today are found mostly on television as one of its dominant narrative forms.

A situation comedy television program may be recorded in front of a studio audience, depending on the program's production format. The effect of a live studio audience can be imitated or enhanced by the use of a laugh track.

Critics disagree over the utility of the term "sitcom" in classifying shows that have come into existence since the turn of the century.Template:When Many contemporary American sitcoms use the single-camera setup and do not feature a laugh track, thus often resembling the dramedy shows of the 1980s and 1990s rather than the traditional sitcom.[1]


The terms "situation comedy" or "sitcom" were not commonly used until the 1950s.[2] There were prior examples on radio, but the first television sitcom is said to be Pinwright's Progress, ten episodes being broadcast on the BBC in the United Kingdom between 1946 and 1947.[3][4] In the United States, director and producer William Asher has been credited with being the "man who invented the sitcom",[5] having directed over two dozen of the leading sitcoms, including I Love Lucy, from the 1950s through the 1970s.

See also


  1. "The Evolution Of The Sitcom: The Age of the Single Camera" Archived 2016-10-09 at the Wayback Machine. New York Film Academy, September 24, 2014.
  2. Dalton, Mary M.; Linder, Laura R., eds. (2012). Sitcom Reader, The: America Viewed and Skewed. SUNY Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7914-8263-6.
  3. "Pinwright's Progress". Archived from the original on 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  4. Lewisohn, Mark (2003). "Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy". BBC Worldwide Ltd.
  5. "William Asher – The Man Who Invented the Sitcom" Archived 2016-04-09 at the Wayback Machine, Palm Springs Life Dec. 1999

Further reading

External links

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