Sunday 29 December 2013

Book ~ "Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community" (2014) Saul Austerlitz

From Goodreads ~ A carefully curated tour through TV comedy series, this mixtape of fondly remembered shows surveys the genealogy of the form, the larger trends in its history, the best of what the genre has accomplished, and the most standard of its works. From I Love Lucy, The Phil Silvers Show, and M*A*S*H to Taxi, The Larry Sanders Show, and 30 Rock, this guide presents the sitcom as a capsule version of the 20th-century arts - realism giving way to modernism and then to postmodernism, all between the hours of 8 and 10pm on weeknights. Each chapter springs from an individual representative entity, including The Simpsons’ “22 Short Films About Springfield,” The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s “Chuckles Bites the Dust,” Seinfeld’s “The Pitch,” and Freaks and Geeks’ “Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers,” where Martin Starr’s nerdy Bill takes comfort in - what else - the pleasures of laughing at TV.

The author has chosen one episode from the following sitcoms, starting with the 1950s through to today, and focused on what made this particular episode stand out, providing a detailed analysis (there's obviously been a lot of time and research involved).
  1. I Love Lucy
  2. The Honeymooners
  3. The Phil Silvers Show
  4. Leave it to Beaver
  5. The Dick Van Dyke Show
  6. Gilligan's Island
  7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  8. All in the Family
  9. M*A*S*H
  10. Taxi
  11. Cheers
  12. The Cosby Show
  13. Roseanne
  14. The Simpsons
  15. Seinfeld
  16. The Larry Sanders Show
  17. Friends
  18. Sex in the City
  19. Freaks and Geeks
  20. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  21. Arrested Development
  22. The Office
  23. 30 Rock
  24. Community

Over the years, I've watched most of these shows so it was interesting to read how they have broken ground for future sitcoms.  Also, the provides info on the shows ... like the two Beckys on Roseanne, the relationship of Diane and Sam on Cheers, racial representation on All in the Family, The Jeffersons and The Cosby Show, etc.

If you're a fan of any or all of these sitcoms, I think you'll enjoy this book.  As a head's up, at times the language is for mature readers.

1 comment:

Masshole Mommy said...

My aunt is a HUGE sitcom fan, so I bet she would love this book!