As someone who has never taken part in a live-studio taping of a TV show, there were many surprises to me about the process that is creating an episode. I had absolutely no idea there was a pre-show hype man to get the audience engaged and keep them engaged during the taping when there are breaks.
I think there are a lot of people who are overlooked when considering television production. I certainly overlooked the amount of effort the writers put into the entire creation of the show, from concept throughout taping and even with the editing portion. I also never stopped to consider the Foley team- or the people who create the audio we hear when certain sounds are made. I definitely have a new appreciation for television production in general, specifically these types of sitcoms. Not only are writers and actors working to make sure the audience understands and appreciate the jokes they make, but there is also the huge aspect of set design and creating the various locations the writers want the audience to see.
I really liked the show One Day at a Time. It gave me original sitcom feels, but also showed a lot of progression. I think the ability of the set designers on that show is incredible- it seems like there are a lot more backgrounds and locations required than for Friends. I think in part this inclusion of the audience in all aspects of the character’s lives really create that sense of connectivity. Also, the sense of community is in part due to the use of multiple cameras- by seeing the situation from different angles, which can almost be seen as the different characters points of view, the audience truly feels like a part of the show. According to Betancourt, the sense of community is partially because of how the home is open to the public with the studio audience set up.
I think these types of shows really do lend themselves to controversial topics. In part, i believe that’s due to the fact that the audience has a connection with the characters and the situation so much, that it becomes an easy, non-polar discussion platform.
One Day at a Time was truly progressive in its controversial topics, the way it was shot and even the family dynamic. Like Betancourt says “With a rapt audience that felt included in the action and welcomed into a home, these civi lessons wrapped in heartwarming episodes were radical ways of using television’s didacticism to advance progressive ideals”. Some of the progressive ideals which the author touches on, are things like feminism from Elena, immigration, a family run by women and their cultural Cuban beliefs and stories.
The reason I think these multi-camera shows are not favored in recent years, is because of the availability of all niche shows, movies and a progressive camera style which is different. With technological developments, things like GoPro footage and drone footage changed the way we enjoy TV.
Betancourt says the “communal experience” was also contributed to by the large audience for sitcoms before cable and streaming.
Personally, I still really like some sitcoms who utilize multi-camera use and I know a lot of young people who do. However, I also acknowledge that technological advancements, the wide variety of shows available for viewing and the change in mindset will most likely be the downfall of shows like these. I think younger generations are used to constant stimulation in a different way with technology and they might lose interest in shows that rely on the whole episode to explain one key concept or situation.