Laughter

We all have a favorite sitcom and the reason why it’s our favorite is because we find it relateable to our own lives. My personal favorite sitcom is “Friends.” Not only does it tickle my funny bone, but it has a diverse character set up and includes episodes about real life situations and how these characters go about dealing with them. In my own opinion, I believe that what makes a great sitcom is a killer script, great characters that have different personalities, and real life instances/problems as well as both good and bad ways of solving them. In “Friends” there are multiple occasions where Ross (played by David Schwimmer) and Rachel (played by Jennifer Aniston) get together and break up because something that the other did and we, the audience, are constantly yelling at them as to why they messed up. The website Parent.co has a fantastic article that shows some of the best life lessons Friends has to offer, as well as providing some examples from episodes of the show. Not to mention their intro theme song is all about how they’ll be there for their friends because they know their friend will be there for them too.

One episode of “Friends” that I will touch on is called “The Last One: Part 1,” which is the first part of the season 10 finale and was one of the last episodes to air. This episode (along with Part 2) has the comedy of Chandler (played by Matthew Perry) freaking out as the woman who he and Monica (played by Courteney Cox) are adopting a baby from goes into labor early. It has the stress of Ross trying to stop Rachel from going to Paris because he doesn’t want to give up their love, but ends up going to the wrong airport with Pheobe (played by Lisa Kudrow.) Then of course Joey (played by Matt LeBlanc) does one of his “Joey” antics by giving Monica and Chandler a baby duck and chick as a going away present since the two are moving out of their memorable apartment into a house to raise their family. This memorable group of friends go through the struggle of life through out all ten seasons and then it all comes to a close with in the last two episodes. It shows the love that all these friends share with one another, the sadness of watching your best friend moving away so they can live their life, the satisfaction of the on and off again couple finally realizing that they’re meant to be, and so much more. This show brought together a community of people who watched and loved every single episode. So any catch phrases and funny jokes came from this show, such as when Monica asks Pheobe if she has a plan and Pheobe responds with “I don’t even have a ‘Pl.'”

Relate ability, comedy, heart warming scenes, and a chicken and a duck, all brilliant material for a great sitcom. Well, maybe a chicken and a duck aren’t necessary, but they’re still cute. Friend’s brings to life all of these in such a magical way. This show has made millions of people laugh, cry, sit on the edge of their seat, and yell at their T.V. So what in turn makes a Sitcom crash and burn? A great website called Popmatters explains as to why some shows get cancelled, using a show called “dads” as an example. They ask questions such as why if a show is animated and has racist or sexist jokes, they are ok, but considered wrong in shows with real people. While I personally believe that using any kind of easy joke to get a quick laugh doesn’t belong in a sitcom with real actors, I do think that if people are going to over look them in animated ones then they shouldn’t be complaining about them when it comes to shows with real actors. In the end though, having sexist and racist jokes will turn away a good amount of viewers in the long run because a lot of people find them to be rude and not funny, it also prevents a younger audience from watching because their parents don’t like the show’s content.

So we have an amazing example of a successful sitcom that uses all the right materials, as well as an example of a sitcom that didn’t do well and why. Even if a sitcom is successful though, people don’t always laugh at everything that goes on. You’ve probably been watching something where a joke would be told or something happened and the studio audience pretty much busts a gut laughing, but all you do is smile and maybe let out a soft chuckle. So why do we laugh at somethings and not at others? Why/what makes us laugh?

As to why we laugh at some things, and not others, well that’s another question that can’t really be answered 100% and is more or less answered with speculations.  We all have different personalities, different out looks on life, so my own assumption would be that these differences are what takes a part in what our brain finds funny. For instance, if you’re a caring person who’s always making sure people are ok, you probably don’t find videos of people getting injured funny, but, if you’re someone who has been injured before, perhaps even broke a bone before, you may find this being relateable and there fore being funny. Professor Sophia Scott gives an example, in The Times from London, England, that “You laugh much more when you’re with other people (…) and you’ll laugh even more when you’re with people you like — or whom you would like to like you.” So if you’re talking to your partner or someone you hope to be your partner one day, if they say something you know is a joke but isn’t funny you’ll most likely still laugh.  Laughter has also proven to be a way to release stress or save ourselves from an awkward situation. I’m sure we’ve all been with a person who makes a rather inappropriate joke that just isn’t funny and makes the situation awkward, so we let out a little chuckle or fake laugh to ease the tension. Also, when we’re laughing we just simply feel good. Professor Scott says that laughter is “the body’s natural, feel-good chemicals.” For instance, if you’re feeling down in the dumps and your friend tells you an inside joke to make you laugh, you almost instantly feel better. So perhaps laughter is just a way of keeping people from being sad all the time. Perhaps it’s an evolution we took over to keep us out of awkward situations and to keep us from building up stress and not having a way to release it except through violence. The exact reason why our brain has developed this thing called “laughter” can’t really be answered, but it can most definitely be enjoyed.

As for what laughter is, well that goes back to our ancestors in the ape community. When we tickle them or do something they find “funny,” rather than laugh they make a sort of panting sound, as said by Robert Provine on NBCnews.com. He talks about how the brain just simply tells us when we want to laugh, how when we’re tickled, asked some kind of question, or simply see something, it triggers out brain to say “that’s funny, now laugh.” He also goes to explain that “We ( ) know that laughter is a message we send to other people.” We don’t really laugh when we’re on our own, if we find something funny we tend to just breath air out of our nose a little faster than usual, this is because when we’re alone we don’t have anyone to communicate with. I don’t know about all of you, but personally I have around four to six different laughs. I always wondered why I laugh differently towards certain things and people, and after reading Provine’s article I’ve come to make my own speculation off his ideas. Laughter is a way of communication. Infants only communicate with two sounds, laughing and crying, three if you count random screaming. When they laugh we know that we are making them happy and they are having a good time. As to why we have different laughs, well each laugh conveys a different message. The full hearted, and usually loud, laughter is how we say “that’s really funny and I enjoy what you just said/did.” The light chuckle can either say “that’s very cute and funny in an adorable way” or “what you just said makes me uncomfortable but I don’t want to upset you for fear of what you might say next.” The chipmunk type laughter, which is usually a fake laugh, tends to say “wow that was a really bad joke but I think you’re super cute so I’m going to laugh.” The laugh where you can only making squeaking noises as you try to catch your breath tends to say “Omg you’re/that was so funny, I really enjoyed that and I will probably try to retell that joke to my other friends.” Finally, the silent laugh where all you can do it clap your hands like a seal and try to catch your breath says “I am literally dying right now, busting a gut at what you just said, and I don’t know if it’s because I like you, it was really funny, or I’m just super tired.”

People who write sitcoms have to keep all of this in mind while also trying to find something that people will genuinely enjoy. More or less though, people want to laugh, we as humans love to laugh because it makes us feel good. Smiling and laughing can help us get through tough times, and it can even help when we’re doing work. We generally work better when we have a happy mind set and feel relaxed.

Overall I am very ecstatic with how my project came about. I’ve kept a bit of my original idea of sitcoms and why we enjoy watching them, but I took a turn more towards what laughter is and why we have it which I really enjoyed considering and talking about. I wouldn’t change the direction I went in if I had a time turner and could go back to the beginning of this project, I’ve learned so much from it and have realized so much about myself as to why I laugh a lot at some things and not others. I found success in learning about laughter and the many ideas as to why the body adapted it and what it’s used for.
“Friends,” the sitcom, was my original inspiration. It’s a show I grew up watching and continue to watch today, along with other sitcoms that help me grow as a person and in talent. Robert Provine’s article on NBC news was what turned my project around and made it into what I’ve come to love now. A couple of sources and articles have strengthened the idea that laughter (even just a smile) can help improve a person’s mood. Social experiments proved that getting with groups of people who go through similar experiments or are in similar states of mind and getting them to do happy exercises and laugh and smile helps to improve their mood and depressed states. Some even go to question if laughter is a type of communication as well since humans have different types of laughter and even animas have some form of laughter. Hopefully the combination of resources and my own speculations and thoughts can help someone else one day write about what they think the purpose of laughter is and why humans have adapted this bodily function.
I would say the moment I read that laughter is possibly a type of communication is where my project officially took off. That was the point I started looking up what causes laughter, what laughter is, the effects laughter has on the body, etc. I found more sources that explained why people found some things funny but not others, being the relatability factor for the most part when it comes to sitcoms, but can depend on the person if it’s a joke or funny story.  I was curious as to what laughter was and if it was silent communication between people and animals. It was intriguing to me that people could possibly be communicating through our laughter and not even know about it. I started paying attention to how I laugh with certain people and towards certain things and it’s truly made me believe that when we laugh we are communicating in a way that even we don’t quite grasp or understand right away. There’s also the factor about how laughing can help people with depression and even a smile can change someone’s sad mood to a happy one. The fact that smiling and laughing emits something in the brain that making us feel happier is surprising in so many ways. It seems impossible that just the simple act of laughing and smiling can change how a person feels, that it can stimulate the brain in a way that makes it feel happy. Also, the fact that the body has adapted this strange action of smiling and laughing is quite interesting.
There is probably a way to end my topic in a smooth way but I simply don’t have enough knowledge or just don’t have the right vocabulary to do so myself. There are so many speculations I have and so many questions I want to try to answer and so many more aspects about laughter I want to talk about. I am happy with the knowledge I have found and gained. I am content with not having a true ending to this because in the end, there is never a true ending to anything in my opinion. There’s always room to expand, to learn more, to make it better. There is always more and I am happy knowing I will never know everything.

Sources:

1. Provine, Robert. “A Big Mystery: why do we Laugh?” NBCNews. Msnbc. 14/12/03. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3077386/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/big-mystery-why-do-we-laugh/ 11/04/17.

2. Sanes, Ken. “Situation Comedies And the Liberating Power of Sadism.” Transparencynow. Ken Sanes. http://www.transparencynow.com/sitcom.htm 11/04/17.

3. Scott, Sophie. “Are you having a laugh? Well this is why…” Business Insights: Essential. The Times. 4/07/12. http://bi.galegroup.com.colum.idm.oclc.org/essentials/article/GALE%7CA295215528?u=uiuc_columbia 11/4/17.

1. Svebak, Sven. “Consequences of Laughter upon Trunk Compression and Cortical Activation: Linear and Polynomial Relations.” Europe’s Journal of Psychology, vol. 12, no. 3, Aug. 2016, pp. 456-472. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5964/ejop.v12i3.1102.

2. Kuiper, Nicholas A. “Psychological Investigations of Humor and Laughter: Honoring the Research Contributions of Professor Rod Martin.” Europe’s Journal of Psychology, vol. 12, no. 3, Aug. 2016, pp. 312-319. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5964/ejop.v12i3.1213.

3. Kim, So Hee, et al. “The Effects of Laughter Therapy on Mood State and Self-Esteem in Cancer Patients Undergoing Radiation Therapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 21, no. 4, Apr. 2015, pp. 217-222. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1089/acm.2014.0152.

Sitcoms draft

I arrived at the topic of sitcoms because they are something that I really enjoy and hope to have my future in. I enjoy watching older sitcoms as well as today’s sitcoms, both with real people actors and animated, to see the changes and how the topics and styles have changed over the years. Some of my important inquiries are: What makes/breaks a sitcom?, why do people laugh at somethings and not at others when it’s the same show/same person making the jokes?, and How do you get a good lesson into a sitcom?. I intend to delve deeper into what sitcoms did really well and had good ratings as well as longer run time and why they were more popular than others. Though its impossible to say why we laugh and all we know is that the brain just tells us when to laugh, I want to figure out why we find certain jokes hilarious and others not so much. Finally, I’m going to bring up sitcoms that have important messages in them while at the same time stay gut busting hilarious and how they do it.

I intend my audience to be people who are also interested in sitcoms, whether it be people who just enjoy watching them, or people who have similar questions as I do. I would assume that their beliefs would be that sitcoms are just created to be funny and make people laugh though some may be very interested in them, like me, and plan on their future being revolved around them. They may have an attitude that sitcoms try too hard and make the easy jokes just to get the laugh or they may think that they take their work very seriously and look up what people are making fun of/laughing at in today’s time in order to make an episode aimed towards it to get the laughs from that. There are a lot of professional writers who think that writing a sitcom is probably one of the hardest pieces to write because you want the audience to laugh but you also don’t want all the laughter to be because of cheesy one liners.

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There are many articles that explain in their own opinions as to why a sitcom does really well or crashes instantly. Though these are all usually just based opinions and people’s personal articles one what they think actually goes into making a sitcom good or why a sitcom was bad, they are still full of information and some of them are done by professional writers who give their professional opinion as to how to write a sitcom to make sure that it comes out well and enjoyed by the audience.

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google images “friends”

         We all have our favorite show, for some of us our favorite is a sitcom. My personal favorite show is Friends. Not only does it tickle my funny bone, but it has a diverse character set up and includes episodes about real life situations and how these characters go about dealing with them. In my own opinion, I believe that what makes a great sitcom is a killer script, great characters that have different personalities, and real life instances and problems as well as good and bad ways of going and solving them. A great website called Popmatters explains as to why some shows get cancelled, using a show called “dads” as an example. They ask questions such as why if a show is animated and has racist or sexist jokes, they are ok, but considered wrong in shows with real people. While I personally believe that using any kind of easy joke to get a quick laugh doesn’t belong in a sitcom with real actors, I do think that if people are going to over look them in animated ones then they shouldn’t be complaining about them when it comes to shows with real actors. In the end though, having sexist and racist jokes will turn away a good amount of viewers in the long run because a lot of people find them to be rude and not funny, it also prevents a younger audience from watching because their parents don’t like the show’s content.

Asking friends and family, I’ve come to notice that older people (about ages late 20’s and up) have a favorite sitcom that involves real people actors. Though, when I asked people closer to my age, as well as kids in early high school or lower, their favorite sitcom was animates, such as Bob’s Burgers, Adventure Time (which is aimed towards a kid audience), and The Simpsons. There’s a wide range of what people like and what people find funny, it’s finding the right material that doesn’t cross too many lines (or any at all) and putting it in a situation where a diverse set of characters live their lives together and makes mistakes then try to fix them that makes a sitcom great. Shows like “Friends,” “Full House,” and “Bob’s Burgers,” all have instances where a lesson can be learned.

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In Friends, there are multiple occasions where Ross and Rachel get together and break up because something that the other did and we are constantly yelling at them as to why they messed up. The website Parent.co has a fantastic article that shows some of the best life lessons Friends has to offer, as well as providing some examples from episodes of the show. Not to mention their intro theme song is all about how they’ll be there for their friends because they know their friend will be there for them too .

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Full House has many family lessons, especially for kids, that show how and what to do in situations when you feel left out of the family or you got a bad grade on your report card. The kids, DJ, Steph, and Michelle, always get into some kind of trouble and they usually do the wrong thing to fix it and find out what they should have done in the end. In Bob’s Burgers, even though it is a little unrealistic at times, it still teaches family lessons while being funny and keeping the audiences’ attention. Having a show that puts out positive messages will not only make people want to watch it with their kids, but it will also make it so a more wide variety of people will actually want to watch it. As humans, we want to laugh and we want to fell heart warmed. Having a great show about friends and family where they learn and live together and always have a happy ending keeps the show fun to watch for all ages.

As for why people laugh, well that goes back to our ancestors in the ape community. When we tickle them or do something they find “funny,” rather than laugh they make a sort of panting sound, as said by Robert Provine on NBCnews.com. He talks about how the brain just simply tells us when we want to laugh, how when we’re tickled, asked some kind of question, or simply see something, it triggers out brain to say “that’s funny, now laugh.” Laughter has also proven to be a way to release stress or save ourselves from an awkward situation. I’m sure we’ve all been with a person who makes a rather inappropriate joke that just isn’t funny and makes the situation awkward, so we let out a little chuckle or fake laugh to ease the tension.

Image result for laughter makes you happy

Also, when we’re laughing we just simply feel better. For instance, if you’re feeling down in the dumps and your friend tells you an inside joke to make you laugh, you almost instantly feel better. So perhaps laughter is just a way of keeping people from being sad all the time. Perhaps it’s an evolution we took over to keep us out of awkward situations and to keep us from building up stress and not having a way to release it except through violence. The exact reason why our brain has developed this thing called “laughter” can’t really be answered, but it can most definitely be enjoyed. As to why we laugh at some things, and not others, well that’s another question that can’t really be answered 100% and is more or less answered with speculations. We all have different personalities, different out looks on life, so my own assumption would be that these differences are what takes a part in what our brain finds funny. For instance, if you’re a caring person who’s always making sure people are ok, you probably don’t find videos of people getting injured funny, but, if you’re someone who has been injured before, perhaps even broke a bone before, you may find this being relate able and there fore being funny. Just being with friends and watching shows or stand up comedians I can see differences between what we find funny and i can kind of compare this to each of our personalities. My friend Devin is someone who cares about his friends but doesn’t care about people he doesn’t know. He has a minor case of tourettes, though he has almost complete control over it he does just yell and say explicit words occasionally (which we are ok with because my whole friend group and I pretty much just communicate with loud noises, explicit words, and words we make up on the spot.)

There are also many big studies into the brain and about why humans laugh and what makes them happy. These are more scientific and based on facts, as well as done be professionals. There are articles in forms of blogs, news posts, and even scientific websites. As for how sitcoms put a good message in their episodes and keep it funny, I’m not too sure if there are any great articles or writers who have tackled this subject. It almost impossible o say what’s funny because everyone has a different set of humor, which brings me back to the question as to why people laugh at somethings and not others.

what makes something funny (particularly sitcoms)

news paper article

specific “Friends” episode

science behind laughter

Time: 1990’s-2017

place/event: how sitcoms have good messages yet stay funny

Sitcoms through the decades: Revision (complete)

I believe that no matter what, there will always be both animated sitcoms and sitcoms with real people. As for the future though, I am very positive of the fact that there will be significantly more animated sitcoms compared to sitcoms casted with real people.

I Love LucySeinfeld, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, That 70’s show, The Office, Big Bang Theory, Bob’s Burgers, and The Simpsons. These are some of the best sitcoms that come from anywhere between 1951 and today. Some, like the classic I Love Lucy, only ran for three years, while others, like the very well known The Simpsons, have run for 27 years and are still going today.

As to why I believe animated sitcoms are safer and over all a better field to get in/write for and will last longer/be more popular in the future, I’m going to use a show we all know as an example: The Simpsons. Since The Simpsons is an animated show, it could literally go on forever because the creators and animators can be replaced and auto tune and voice modifiers can be used to make anyone’s voice sound like Homer or Bart or even Marge. But, shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, or my personal favorite: Friends had to stop running either because they just lost the people’s interest or because one or more of the actor’s died, went to jail, or got cast in a different show and said “see ya” to the current show they’re in. Some shows are able to work with this and cast a new person who looks somewhat similar to the original cast member and just role with it, such as in That 70’s show when Eric Forman’s sister Laurie, actress Lisa Robin

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Lisa Robin as Laurie

, checked herself into a rehab facility and died shortly after. It was sad that we lost such a great Laurie, but the show had to go on so the directors casted Christina Moore

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Christina Moore as Laurie

as the new Laurie. Though she only appeared in a handful of episodes and was later only mentioned throughout the show. Time wise though, it’s a lot quicker to find a new voice actor for your animated sitcom than trying to fimd someone who is a close look alike for the actor that you lost in a sitcom with real live actors.

The Simpsons’ writers constantly create episodes that happen in years to come, such as today’s presidential election. They predicted Trump would run and that he would win. They were right both times. How do they do this? Well, in reality the writers never try to predict the future, the reason behind that episode, which is titled “Bart to the Future,” is explained by Dan Greaney in a Mirror article. He explains how he wanted everything to be as bad it could possibly be before Lisa got in office, so he made Trump president because sixteen years ago, he was at the top at the “laugh at it” page. Sitcoms with real people actors can have just as much fun making a mockery of people and situations that go on in the world, such as the new show Fuller House does towards Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen when they always bring up how Michelle couldn’t come to see the family becuase she’s busy running her fasion empire

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Bob Saget in Fuller House

, but with an animated sitcom you have the ability to create the person in an animated form, such as The Simpsons did with Donald Trump

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Donald Trump in The Simpsons voiced by Dan Castellaneta

and many other celebrities, and find someone who is a close match with voice quality for the character and just add or take away certain aspects with auto tune in order to have a funnier episode.

If you look back on the timeline of animation you can see it stretch far back to before there was film. Starting out around 1603 sheets of glass with moving parts where showed on a machined called a “magic Lantern”

Magic lantern
A drawing of a Magic Lantern

and this was considered the first example of projected animation. Animation was around during the silent era and  Walt Disney really prospered around 1928 when his animation of Steam Boat Willy

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Steam Boat Willy opening screen

was aired as the first cartoon with sound. Of course soon enough his cartoons were thought to be more for kids and then sitcoms on the T.V. grabbed the attention of the adults. While the “cartoons,” or kid sitcoms as I like the call them, kept being made for the eye of children and the occasional adult that loved Yogi Bear and Bugs Bunny

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Bugs Bunny

, sitcoms like Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond were airing for Adults and families alike.  That is, until The Simpsons came out in 1987 and was created for the American adult. After the simpsons aired, other shows like South Park, Family Guy, and Futurama were made. There are still animated shows/sitcoms for kids, such as Spongebob Squarepants and Steven Universe, and these are made specifically for a younger audience. Yes, there are sitcoms with real people actors for all sorts of ages as well, but again, they dont always last as long as an animated show. Shows like The Amanda Show and Good Luck Charlie only ran for three and four years where as animated shows like The Teen Titans and The Adventrues of  Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius aired for five years.

As for show costs, it can be significatly less to produce an animated sitcom compared to a sitcom with real people actors. There is a response on Quora stating that it costs anywhere between 4k-15k to rent a studio to film your show in and then it costs anywhere between

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costs 4 million to air an episode

1-3 million dollars to air a 30 minute show. Some sitcoms just take a day to film an episode in front of a studio audience where others can take about a week to film according to another article on Quora. 4-15k for almost a week can be pretty pricy, especially

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costs 500k to air an episode

if added onto the cost needed to air the episode. As for an animated show, it can cost anywhere between 500 thousand and 2 million to air an episode, the price varying on the quality of the show and how long it’s been being aired, being more expensive the longer it’s aired. Still, animated shows tend to cost less to air because you don’t need to rent out a studio for a week at a time.

Now, time for the biggest thing of all: the pay check. According to the Art Career Project, a voice actor gets paid per job, making anywhere between $20 – a couple hundred dollars per hour. According to 2017 auditions, you can see that the numbers can be a little larger than what a voice actor makes for just an hour of work. More experience does bring in a bigger check though and that goes both ways with actors and voices actors. If we look at the run time of shows though, since an animated show would last longer than a show with real people actors, the voice actors would be making more money in the long run because a show gets more income as is runs longer, there for giving the cast a bigger salary over time.

No, I’m not a psychic and no, I have no idea what may happen in the future to come. i barely remember what happened five minutes ago, but I do know that I love sitcoms. I’v seen every episode of I Love Lucy, Friends (10 times), and a bunch of other sitcoms with real people actors, and I’ve seen as close to every episode of The Simpsons, Bob’s burgers, Bugs Bunny, etc., etc.. In the long run, I’ve come to notice that with almost every show with real people actors, there’s a longer running show with voice actors. Both are very good and well written, but one makes more money in the end because it has a longer run time. I’m not saying you should give up your career as a director or make up artist and go find the nearest voice acting coach, but I am saying that you should definitely consider having some kind of experience in it. We are growing into an age where kids and teens don’t watch T.V any more because of the commercials, instead we watch Netflix, YouTube,  and sometimes HBO Go. These hold sitcoms of all sorts, not so much YouTube as the others, but YouTube Red is the start of something new which could be the beginning of even more animated sitcoms. Netflix has started making it’s own animated sitcoms, including Bob’s Burgers. The Simpsons is still running after all these years and holding a strong audience. In my opinion, voice acting is a strong career to be apart of. Yes, having your face on a screen and having a possible larger salary is a big dream we all want, but with voice acting people hear your voice forever and everywhere, you’re able to be 100 different characters if need be. Go take up a voice acting class, you won’t regret it.

 

Sitcoms through the decades: draft

I believe that no matter what, there will always be both animated sitcoms and sitcoms with real people. For the future though, I can almost guarantee that for every sitcom casted with real people, there will be at least two animated sitcoms that have been running for three or more years already and two more that come out the same year.

I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, Welcome back, Kotter, Seinfeld, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, That 70’s show, The Office, Big Bang Theory, Bob’s Burgers, and The Simpsons. These are some of the best sitcoms that come from anywhere between 1951 and today. Some, like the classic I Love Lucy, only ran for three years, while others, like the very well known The Simpsons, have run for 27 years and are still going today.

Personally, my goal in life is to come up with an amazing sitcom idea that people come to love like That 70’s Show

Hyde from That 70’s Show

or Bob’s Burgers.

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Tina from Bob’s Burgers

Then, one day I hope to be one of the main characters in a sitcom that people watch on a daily bases and complain until the next episode is aired. I’d love to have the opportunity to both be in a show as a real life actress, and a voice actress. Will it happen? I don’t know, but its something I’m aiming for and hopefully one day I’ll reach. Until then, I plan to study comedy writing and performance with a minor in voice acting so I can hopefully one day create something that the world will love. I hope that I can reach out to those who have the same dream as me, or at least a similar dream, and show them a little insight as to why it’d be better to try and write for/create an animated sitcom.

I want people to perceive me as someone who understands how to truly write a script for a sitcom as well as someone who understands why sitcoms have been changing through the years.Through out this blog you will find me making links to videos and websites that show you what I’m talking about or give you a little insight/an example of what I am currently explaining. To give a little insight of the difference between sitcoms scripts then and now and to provide an example of my links (if you haven’t figured them out already), I found a very interesting blog by Laura Turner Garrison. Though her blog was written in 2011 and only discusses sitcoms with real life actors, it still provides interesting information as to why and how sitcoms have changed over the years.

As to why I believe animated sitcoms are safer and over all a better field to get in and will last longer/be more popular in the future, I’m going to use a show we all know as an example: The Simpsons. Since The Simpsons is an animated show, it could literally go on forever because the creators and animators can be replaced and auto tune and voice modifiers can be used to make anyone’s voice sound like Homer or Bart or even Marge. But, shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, or my personal favorite: Friends had to stop running either because they just lost the people’s interest or because one or more of the actor’s died, went to jail, or got cast in a different show and said “see ya” to the current show they’re in. Some shows are able to work with this and cast a new person who looks somewhat similar to the original cast member and just role with it, such as in That 70’s show when Eric Forman’s sister Laurie, actress Lisa Robin

Image result for new laurie in that 70s show
Lisa Robin as Laurie

, checked herself into a rehab facility and died shortly after. It was sad that we lost such a great Laurie, but the show had to go on so the directors casted Christina Moore

Image result for christina moore as laurie
Christina Moore as Laurie

as the new Laurie. Though she only appeared in a handful of episodes and was later only mentioned throughout the show.

The Simpsons’ writers constantly create episodes that happen in years to come, such as today’s presidential election. They predicted Trump would run and that he would win. They were right both times. How do they do this? Well, in reality the writers never try to predict the future, the reason behind that episode, which is titled “Bart to the Future,” is explained by Dan Greaney in a Mirror article. He explains how he wanted everything to be as bad it could possibly be before Lisa got in office, so he made Trump president because sixteen years ago, he was at the top at the “laugh at it” page. Sitcoms with real people actors can have just as much fun making a mockery of people and situations that go on in the world, such as the new show Fuller House does towards Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

Image result for fuller house quotes about mary kate and ashley
Bob Saget in Fuller House

, but with an animated sitcom you have the ability to create the person in an animated form, such as The Simpsons did with Donald Trump

Image result for simpsons donald trump
Donald Trump in The Simpsons voiced by Dan Castellaneta

and many other celebrities, and find someone who is a close match with voice quality for the character and just add or take away certain aspects with auto tune in order to have a funnier episode.

If you look back on the sitcom timeline, you’ll see that in the beginning they started out as fifteen minute sessions on the radio. They went to T.V. in 1941 and in 1951 brought shows in black and white such as I Love Lucy, and Leave it to Beaver  and continued into the era that brought color to people’s T.V. around 1960. If you look back on the timeline of animation you can see it stretch far back to before there was film. Starting out around 1603 sheets of glass with moving parts where showed on a machined called a “magic Lantern”

Magic lantern
A drawing of a Magic Lantern

and this was considered the first example of projected animation. Animation was around during the silent era and  Walt Disney really prospered around 1928 when his animation of Steam Boat Willy

Image result for steam boat willy
Steam Boat Willy opening screen

was aired as the first cartoon with sound. Of course soon enough his cartoons were thought to be more for kids and then sitcoms on the T.V. grabbed the attention of the adults. While the “cartoons,” or kid sitcoms as I like the call them, kept being made for the eye of children and the occasional adult that loved Yogi Bear and Bugs BunnyImage result for bugs bunny quotes, sitcoms like Gilligan’s Island and Get Smart were airing for Adults and families alike.  That is, until The Simpsons came out in 1987 and was created for the American adult.

Animation was here before sitcoms and slowly built itself and bettered itself along with the sitcom genre. Though when people name off sitcoms now a days, the names are usually of those with real people actors. Even today, according to Ranker.com, the top five sitcoms have people actors with only The Simpsons placing in 3rd. Of course if you scroll down you’ll see shows like Family Guy and South park just below the top 5, slowly making their way up the ranks.

Sitcoms through the decades: official prompt

RESPONSE TO PROMPT

I believe that no matter what, there will always be both animated sitcoms and sitcoms with real people. For the future, I can almost guarantee that for every sitcom casted with real people, there will be at least two animated sitcoms that have been running for three or more years already and two more that come out the same year.

TEXTS I AM REFERENCING

I will be referencing both physical and video texts. I will provide links to web pages such as a Mirror article to show where I got my facts as well as links to specific YouTube videos such as a video clip of an episode of the Simpsons titled “Bart to the future” to either show what joke I am referring to, examples of the show I am referencing, or to give some insight as to how sitcoms have changed over the years.

FIELD

With my writing I hope to affect those that either wish to be in a sitcom one day, wish to write for one, or hope to create their very own show one day.

ETHOS

I want people to perceive me as someone who understands how to truly write a script for a sitcom as well as someone who understands why sitcoms have been changing through the years. I plan to list off sitcoms between the years 1951 and today, showing certain scenes of every other 3rd show or so to give examples between their styling and script as well as explain what was happening during their time periods that would make the writers write the scenes the way they are.

STRUCTURE

The text will be a blog with approximately  1,000-2,000 words with a lot of links to articles and YouTube clips as well as screen shots of comics/memes that were inspired by sitcoms. I will start out with the answer to the prompt and then by listing off a couple of sitcoms as well as providing a link to a specific YouTube videos to every 3rd show or so. I will look up interviews of sitcom writers for real life actors and animated shows that show why/how they write for their shows, pointing out the differences between them and what their inspiration for the shows were, such as the Simpsons writers wrote the episode for Trump winning way before it actually happened, but why they wrote it was because at that point and time, Trump was one of the most made fun of people in the world so naturally, making an episode that made fun of him would provide great response and in I Love Lucy they showed many times how Lucy would be told she can’t do much because shes a woman and then in some hilarious way she would prove them wrong because at that point and time, women were fighting to be seen as equals. I will finish most likely with a call to action as to why people should create/write for an animated sitcom that both includes an aspect that people can relate to while also making the episodes according to what the major world problems are or whats getting the biggest laugh at that moment in time.

Sitcoms through the decades: prompt

I Love Lucy ’51-’57, Gilligan’s Island ’64-’67, Welcome back, Kotter ’75-’79, Seinfeld ’89-’98, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 90-96, Friends ’94-’04, Everybody Loves Raymond ’96-’05, That 70’s show ’98-’06, The Office ’05-’13, Big Bang Theory ’07-now, Bob’s Burgers ’11-now, and The Simpsons ’89-now. These are some of the best sitcoms that come from anywhere between 1951 and today. Some, like the classic I Love Lucy, only ran for three years, while others, like the very well known The Simpsons, have run for 27 years and are still going today.

I do believe that no matter what, there will always be both animated sitcoms and sitcoms with real people. For the future though, I can almost guarantee that for every sitcom casted with real people, there will be at least two animated sitcoms that have been running for three or more years already and two more that come out the same year.

Since The Simpsons is an animated show, it could literally go on forever because the creators and animators can be replaced and auto tune and voice modifiers can be used to make anyone’s voice sound like Homer or Bart or even Marge. But, shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, or my personal favorite: Friends had to stop either because they just lost the people’s interest or because one or more of the actor’s died, went to jail, or got cast in a different show and said “see ya” to the current show they’re in. Some shows are able to work with this and cast a new person who looks somewhat similar to the original cast member and just role with it, such as in That 70’s show when Eric Forman’s sister Laurie, actress Lisa Robin, checked herself into a rehab facility and died shortly after. It was sad that we lost such a great Laurie, but the show had to go on so the directors casted Christina Moore as the new Laurie. Though she only appeared in a handful of episodes and was later only mentioned throughout the show.

Personally, my goal in life is to come up with an amazing sitcom idea that people come to love like Friends or Bob’s Burgers. Then, one day I hope to be one of the main characters in a sitcom that people watch on a daily bases and complain until the next episode is aired. I’d love to have the opportunity to both be in a show as a real life actress, and a voice actress. Will it happen? I don’t know, but its something I’m aiming for and hopefully one day I’ll reach. Until then, I plan to study comedy writing and performance with a minor in T.V. writing so I can hopefully one day create something that the world will love. To do this, I have to think ahead of my time while keeping my time in mind.

The Simpsons’ writers constantly create episodes that happen in years to come, such as today’s presidential election. They predicted Trump would run and that he would win. They were right both times. How do they do this? Well, in reality the writers never try t predict the future, the reason behind that episode, which is titled “Bart to the Future,” is explained by Dan Greaney in a Mirror article. He explains how he wanted everything to be as bad it could possibly be before Lisa got in office, so he made Trump president because sixteen years ago, he was at the top at the “laugh at it” page. More as to why the Simpsons still keeps people’s interest.

example of Big Bang Theory and why it still holds audience interest.

Example of Bob’s Burgers and why its doing so well such as each episode is a new story yet still keeps in mind the old episodes for continuity checks. Why it keeps people’s interest.

Example of my ideas for a sitcom/ideas of what to use/keep in mind when writing a sitcom.

FIELD

People who want to write for sitcoms are who I wish to reach

ETHOS

I want people to see me as knowledgeable and understanding of how sitcoms are written. I will do this by pointing out how sitcom writers come up with ideas for their episodes.

STRUCTURE

Text will be a blog with multiple youtube and page links as well as describing how I believe sitcoms will change as well as to how they have changed. Ill finish with a call to action.

 

Accessing a new Icon

Roman Mars uses multiple techniques when it comes to explaining the scenario of the battle to get a new Icon for the world known symbol of accessibility. In his podcast he uses interviews to inform the audience that there are many people working for this project. He also puts in music when a new beat comes into play, such as when a new idea is brought up or a new person comes into play. The affordances of which interview goes where and when music should be played or not are very well chosen and placed in order for the audience to follow along and be able to paint a mental image while listening.  The slate that summarizes the podcast on the other hand takes the route of no interviews and placing in pictures where in the podcast the person talking had to do a great job describing what they wanted the audience to picture in their minds. Again, the affordance of where a picture should go and whether or not it should be put in take a big part in helping the reader understand and stay focused on the topic at hand.

wheelchair-access-logo

In Roman Mar’s podcast Icon for Access, he talks about how there is a mad dash to get a new design for the accessibility symbol out and to the world so it can replace the one that is out of date. He describes it by saying “It’s still a white figure in a wheel chair positioned in a blue field, but the head and body are tilted forward” (5:12.) This is a great way of putting an image inside the listener’s head, recalling the original figure that is very well known and then explaining the minimal details that can make the person listening picture the new symbol in their head.

In the slate they talk about Roman’s podcast and basically outline the new logo at hand as well as explaining what ISO is and the importance of these logos. They state “the accessible icon project has created a new logo that it hopes will ultimately replace ISO standard.” Using alphabetic text as well as an image of the new logo at hand helps state the cause at hand while also showing the reader what the difference between the new and old logo is.

While both quotes have the same main purpose to tell the listener/reader about the new logo, the one from the slate article also includes an image. Though Mar’s and company do a good job of describing the new logo so the listener can picture it in their head, an image is a sure fire way to make sure the audience is 100% on the same page as you because by imagining the image there can be some difference between their image and yours if you’re not careful.

In Mar’s podcast he has several guest speakers, one of them being a man named Brendon who has a disability in which he has to speak through a computer. Brendon states “I have painted the new icon in several businesses in New Burn” (9:25.) He was made head of the operation at getting the logo out there because he was “kicking everyone else’s butts at it.” This is a great example of affordance because that quote could have been put somewhere else in the podcast or not used at all, but instead of putting a different person’s quote there he used Brendon’s.

Scrolling through the slate you see several different pictures, one of them being a group of people spray painting something on the ground. Above that image you read “Some people from the Accessible icon project have taken to altering signs with the current universal symbol of access.” Again, this is another great use of alphabetic text and images. You have the text explaining what is going on because if you just looked at the picture on its own, you might guess that these people could be painting a numerous amount of images.It also shows an example of what they mean by saying “the project has taken to altering signs.”

Both quotes mention how there are people altering the old accessibility logo, but there are still many differences between them. The podcast includes a man with a disability of his own and talking about how he has gotten the right to change the old logo in the parking lots of businesses in his town. It shows that there are people with disabilities who actually care ago changing the logo instead of it just being people with no disabilities trying to change things they presume to be for the better. Not the say that the slate is bad because it doesn’t have people with disabilities talking, it still shows people are working hard to change the symbol on their own accord, taking time and money out of their own lives in order to help change the symbol.

Of course there generally has to be a reason for people wanting to change a logo that is politically important. It’s pointed out that the original logo “guaranteed when you go out you’re going to find one of these spaces that are reserved” (3:46), but “people with disabilities and their allies found it kind of lacking” (4:03.) This gives a standard as to why people are so passionate about changing the logo, using an affordance by stating how people with disabilities as well as people who support them find the old logo lacking in such a way that makes them want to change it for the better. The woman talking  doesn’t specify if she is handy caped or not, which can give the audience the impression that she’s thankful for these spots so she is closer to the door, or that she is happy people who need to be closer to the door have specific spots to cater to their needs.

Finally we have on the slate, near the end, a statement that not only tells you why this project is so passionate, but it sticks in your head as well. The author of the slate writes “having one unified icon can tell one clear story all over the world. But sometimes stories change.” Not only is this whole slate a form of circulation, a media type in order to get the word out about the changing of the accessibility logo, but this sentence alone can be its own type of affordance and circulation. It’s something that people will want to quote in order to sound profound, and when people ask where they got the quote from, they can tell them all about this article and its purpose.

Both of these quotes summarize the meaning of the article/podcast at hand. Though in my opinion I enjoy how the slate article uses such a profound way of stating their purpose, stating that stories change and making the reader think of the whole logo industry as telling a simple story in a logo. But, the podcast makes the listener understand right away that their purpose is to make the accessibility logo more friendly and makes people with disabilities happy with the symbol.

One thing I noticed that was different between the podcast and the slate affordances is that the audio seemed to be a little more diverse and friendly. Though the Slate included pictures that showed people helping the cause by changing the old logo into the new, friendlier one, it didn’t include a lot of quotes by people with disabilities and their allies. I enjoyed that some people in the audio didn’t proclaim if they had a disability or not, yet in the beginning a woman speak about how “you know you are guaranteed when you go out you’re going to find one of these spaces that are reserved.” Though she doesn’t say “I know when I go out,” it can also be implied that she is including herself when saying “you.” But, it can be implied in such a way that she isn’t talking about herself and instead “you” refers to anyone who drives, disability or not, they can see parking spaces that have the universally known symbol for accessibility. In text it’s easy to get away with simple descriptions of a person or symbol because you can easily just put an image in your text. Though it also takes skill knowing when you should or shouldn’t include an image and what type of image you should include. The writer of the slate could have included many symbols to make their point of what a universally known symbol is, but instead they include one image that has a bunch of symbols on it. But, both resources go full circle by talking about a universal logo and what it is in the beginning and then making a small joke at the end about the universal logo for poison, making a full circle. The only difference is that with the podcast, the listener just sees the image in their head while with the slate, the author put an image of this logo for the reader to see.

Icon for access

wheelchair-access-logo

In Roman Mar’s podcast Icon for Access, he talks about how there is a mad dash to get a new design for the accessibility symbol out and to the world so it can replace the one that is out of date. He describes it by saying “It’s still a white figure in a wheel chair positioned in a blue field, but the head and body are tilted forward” (5:12.) This is a great way of putting an image inside the listener’s head, recalling the original figure that is very well known and then explaining the minimal details that can make the person listening picture the new symbol in their head.

In the slate they talk about Roman’s podcast and basically outline the new logo at hand as well as explaining what ISO is and the importance of these logos. They state “the accessible icon project has created a new logo that it hopes will ultimately replace ISO standard.” Using alphabetic text as well as an image of the new logo at hand helps state the cause at hand while also showing the reader what the difference between the new and old logo is.

While both quotes have the same main purpose to tell the listener/reader about the new logo, the one from the slate article also includes an image. Though Mar’s and company do a good job of describing the new logo so the listener can picture it in their head, an image is a sure fire way to make sure the audience is 100% on the same page as you because by imagining the image there can be some difference between their image and yours if you’re not careful.

In Mar’s podcast he has several guest speakers, one of them being a man named Brendon who has a disability in which he has to speak through a computer. Brendon states “I have painted the new icon in several businesses in New Burn” (9:25.) He was made head of the operation at getting the logo out there because he was “kicking everyone else’s butts at it.” This is a great example of affordance because that quote could have been put somewhere else in the podcast or not used at all, but instead of putting a different person’s quote there he used Brendon’s.

Scrolling through the slate you see several different pictures, one of them being a group of people spray painting something on the ground. Above that image you read “Some people from the Accessible icon project have taken to altering signs with the current universal symbol of access.” Again, this is another great use of alphabetic text and images. You have the text explaining what is going on because if you just looked at the picture on its own, you might guess that these people could be painting a numerous amount of images.It also shows an example of what they mean by saying “the project has taken to altering signs.”

Both quotes mention how there are people altering the old accessibility logo, but there are still many differences between them. The podcast includes a man with a disability of his own and talking about how he has gotten the right to change the old logo in the parking lots of businesses in his town. It shows that there are people with disabilities who actually care ago changing the logo instead of it just being people with no disabilities trying to change things they presume to be for the better. Not the say that the slate is bad because it doesn’t have people with disabilities talking, it still shows people are working hard to change the symbol on their own accord, taking time and money out of their own lives in order to help change the symbol.

Of course there generally has to be a reason for people wanting to change a logo that is politically important. It’s pointed out that the original logo “guaranteed when you go out you’re going to find one of these spaces that are reserved” (3:46), but “people with disabilities and their allies found it kind of lacking” (4:03.) This gives a standard as to why people are so passionate about changing the logo, using an affordance by stating how people with disabilities as well as people who support them find the old logo lacking in such a way that makes them want to change it for the better.

Finally we have on the slate, near the end, a statement that not only tells you why this project is so passionate, but it sticks in your head as well. The author of the slate writes “having one unified icon can tell one clear story all over the world. But sometimes stories change.” Not only is this whole slate a form of circulation, a media type in order to get the word out about the changing of the accessibility logo, but this sentence alone can be its own type of affordance and circulation. It’s something that people will want to quote in order to sound profound, and when people ask where they got the quote from, they can tell them all about this article and its purpose.

Both of these quotes summarize the meaning of the article/podcast at hand. Though in my opinion I enjoy how the slate article uses such a profound way of stating their purpose, stating that stories change and making the reader think of the whole logo industry as telling a simple story in a logo. But, the podcast makes the listener understand right away that their purpose is to make the accessibility logo more friendly and makes people with disabilities happy with the symbol.

One thing I noticed that was different between the podcast and the slate affordances is that the audio seemed to be a little more diverse and friendly. Though the Slate included pictures that showed people helping the cause by changing the old logo into the new, friendlier one, it didn’t include a lot of quotes by people with disabilities and their allies. I enjoyed that some people in the audio didn’t proclaim if they had a disability or not, yet in the beginning a woman speak about how “you know you are guaranteed when you go out you’re going to find one of these spaces that are reserved.” Though she doesn’t say “I know when I go out,” it can also be implied that she is including herself when saying “you.” But, it can be implied in such a way that she isn’t talking about herself and instead “you” refers to anyone who drives, disability or not, they can see parking spaces that have the universally known symbol for accessibility. In text it’s easy to get away with simple descriptions of a person or symbol because you can easily just put an image in your text. Though it also takes skill knowing when you should or shouldn’t include an image and what type of image you should include. The writer of the slate could have included many symbols to make their point of what a universally known symbol is, but instead they include one image that has a bunch of symbols on it. But, both resources go full circle by talking about a universal logo and what it is in the beginning and then making a small joke at the end about the universal logo for poison, making a full circle. The only difference is that with the podcast, the listener just sees the image in their head while with the slate, the author put an image of this logo for the reader to see.