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Arts & Culture

Is the Television Sitcom Dead, Hurting, or Thriving?

Seinfeld_on_TV.jpg
Chuck Olsen
/
Creative Commons

People have been predicting the death of the sitcom since at least 1999, but the current TV season has been so toxic towards them that some observers have wondered whether the sitcom, which has been around since the birth of television, has anything left to say to us. But then again, what is a sitcom? Do sitcoms have to air on network television? Do they have to have a laugh track? Or fill a half-hour time slot? Do they even have to be comedies?

This hour, we consider the art form of the sitcom with producers and critics of the genre. What is your favorite sitcom and what makes it your favorite?

GUESTS:

  • Saul Austerlitz - Critic and author of Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community
  • Dan O’Shannon - Television writer and producer who has worked on Cheers, Frasier and Modern Family. His new book of cartoons is called The Adventures of Mrs. Jesus
  • Willa Paskin - Slate’s television critic

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

Tucker Ives is WNPR's morning news producer.
Colin McEnroe is a radio host, newspaper columnist, magazine writer, author, playwright, lecturer, moderator, college instructor and occasional singer.

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