Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sitcom Structure

When I flop on the couch to watch TV I want something I can expect. I want something I just can release my daily constraints onto. I want some comic relief. Modern sitcoms have intentions to free people from daily stress. People want to come home to a stress-free environment – watch television to give them some humor, comic relief, and some sense of structure in their life. The sitcom structure can attest to that. The storyline is straightforward. We know there will be humor. We know that although there is conflict - everything will be okay. We know that there will be mini-resolutions.
These mini resolutions are key to the impact of sitcoms. In the midst of these mini-resolutions, the sitcom is amusing but it gives the sitcom moral support. It persists to impact the viewer in a positive way. These mini-resolutions are typically juvenile but teaches the audience valuable lessons. It persists to take the structure of the sitcom in full circle – from beginning to end. It takes the audience into little mini shows that don’t take thought to watch. Typically, one doesn’t have to update on the previous episodes to understand the story in the next episode. These mini-resolutions are refreshing. They are exactly what the audience wants – a stress-free and comical environment that everyone can relate to on a daily basis.
The original ABC show “Full House” advocated the sitcom structure. “Full House”, although cliché, offered viewers daily lessons that everyone can partake in. “Full House” gives mini-resolutions in every episode. In a recent re-run of “Full House,” a Tanner sister decides to borrow her sister’s sweater but spills mustard on the sweater. The rising action exists when Stephanie is debating about telling DJ, her older sister, about the stain. Some comical relief takes place in the middle of the show, but in the end, a mini-resolution exists. Such as that Stephanie tells her older sister yet instead of anger and resentment, forgiveness takes place. The resolution of her sister forgiving her takes place – the cheesy lesson is molded into the audience’s minds. Each episode has similar structures – rising action, resolution, and then lesson. Each episode gives that mini-resolution and lesson that implies to everyone, which makes “Full House” so appealing because everyone can relate.
This structure of the sitcom can ultimately lead to success. Its mini-resolutions despite their cheesiness are something relatable. It provides that structure in people’s lives. It provides comical relief, yet provides the lessons of moral much needed in society.

Below is a clip from "Full House" I could not embed it because of technical difficulties. This clip proves "Full Houses" sitcom mini-resolutions.

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