A sitcom is a short form of ‘Situation Comedy,’ a comedy genre that focuses mostly on the characters that carry the show from episode to episode. Before or even during the 1950s, the term ‘Sitcom’ or ‘Situation Comedy’ was actually non-existent; it wasn’t until the late 50s that people started using these terms. However, some shows aired before the terms were introduced and are now called classic sitcoms.
A Brief History of Sitcoms
Several radio shows fall in the category of sitcoms; however, the first-ever television sitcom is said to be Pinwright’s Progress, which was aired in 1946. This sitcom was broadcasted by BBC in the UK and had only ten episodes.
In the US, William Asher – a producer and director – is regarded as the “man who invented sitcom,” as he had directed more than 24 top sitcoms, including I Love Lucy that broadcasted from the 1950s to 1970s.
Moreover, sitcoms are made everywhere in the world. Some might think that it’s just the UK or the US that has funny people. The truth is, sitcoms might have originated from the UK or the US, but soon after that, different countries adopted the genre and produced their own original sitcoms. These countries include Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, Mexico, Russia, and many more. However, sitcoms didn’t make their way to other countries until the 1970s or 1980s.
The nature of sitcoms differs from region to region; however, the purpose stays the same: to make people laugh without adding in unrealistic storylines, plots, or characters.
Why Do Most People Love Sitcoms?
Sitcoms are entertainment sources that have the ability to draw their viewers into a world of humor that has nothing to do with mythology, grief, superpowers, or saving the world. Yes! It’s true; some of us find comfort in sitcoms. However, there are several other reasons why sitcom lovers are everywhere in the world.
1. The Relatability
In situation comedy, the characters are normal people like the viewers (but of course with better humor and sarcasm skills), and the level of relatability makes them worth watching. The issues raised in sitcoms are mostly the ones that ordinary people suffer from in daily life. The sitcom characters have emotions and desires; they fall in love, get hurt, and win and fail at times.
In those fictional societies of sitcoms, the characters tell their own stories and the ones around them. They often misunderstand each other and reconcile as fast as possible. Along with being popular because of the funny part, sitcoms also allow people to relate to what the characters are going through. In short, sitcoms are not just TV shows but the stories of the psycho/sociodynamics of the viewers.
In sitcoms, people see how every character has their own limitations and problems. For example, in FRIENDS, Monica Geller is an absolute perfectionist; however, finding love is really hard for her. But then again, her character tells the world how love can come even from anywhere, at any age.
2. The Comfort of Watching a More Dysfunctional World
Another reason behind the popularity of sitcoms is that people get to see a more messed up and dysfunctional world than the one they live in. We, as humans, find comfort when we see something worse than our own situation – not in an evil way – as we believe that if a worse situation can be fixed, so can ours. In sitcoms, we watch the characters, hoping for the best even after indulging in crazy acts.
For example, in sitcoms like Boy Meets World and Home Improvement, the plot tends to be romantic, and the happy endings create a sense of hope in the viewers and that all the problems can be solved. Sitcoms provide comfort and somewhat escape from real-life issues, which is why most people are attracted to sitcoms. Well, there would be hardly a person who cannot agree with the sarcastic comments of Chandler Bing. Could it be any more obvious?
3. Laughter is the Best Medicine
Let’s be honest; not everyone gets to feel good every day in their routine life. Sitcoms, along with showcasing other issues, also make people laugh, and laughing is undoubtedly the cure to several problems. Most people watch sitcoms just to enjoy a good mood and a burst of laughter.
Let us break it down for you – when humans laugh, their bodies release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that make humans feel good, put them in a better mood, and relieve stress. Like any other genre of comedy, situation comedy also helps people feel good and provides them the hope for solving life issues. So it is certainly one of the major reasons why sitcoms are so popular.
Most Famous Sitcoms of All Time
Some sitcoms will never get old, and we might keep watching them on repeat forever. Some of the most famous sitcoms of all time include:
- The Office (2005 – 2013)
- Friends (1994 – 2004)
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005 – till now)
- Freaks and Geeks (1999 – 2000)
- Seinfeld (1989 – 1998)
- Bojack Horseman (2014 – 2020)
- Arrested Development (2003 – 2019)
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017 – till now)
- Community (2009 – 2015)
- Mr. Bean (1990 – 1995)
- The Office (2001 – 2003)
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013- 2021)
Great sitcoms have always gotten a good response from the audience. The list mentioned above of best sitcoms is according to the public reviews and watch time.
Importance of Sitcoms
Sitcoms are an important part of the entertainment industry and have always been the leaders of all kinds of scripted shows. They are important because of everything they provide to the audience. They allow the viewers to have a good time and laugh at their worries. Moreover, sitcoms allow us to relate ourselves to fictional characters and their life decisions.
Lastly, viewers find comfort in their favorite sitcoms, which is a big reason why most people watch the same sitcoms repeatedly.
Today’s generation is desperate for laughter, and maybe this is why they keep watching The Office and Friends on repeat. If you use social media today, you must know that most meme templates also come from these sitcoms. Therefore, it won’t be wrong to say that sitcoms are a major part of our lives, and there is not a day that passes by where at least one reference or a clip of our favorite sitcoms passes while we scroll through memes. Finding your favorite sitcom is like finding somewhere you can be when you need to feel the peace.