I just learned that the multi-cam sitcom, Friends, was filmed in front of a live audience. I had always thought that the laughter in the background was fake. I also found it amazing that the audience sat through many retakes of scenes. I assumed that the cast just put on a sort of play for the audience, and it happened to be filmed. It’s crazy as well that all the sets had to be set up and taken down during filming, the writers often rewrote things they didn’t like. From my new knowledge about how these multi-cam sitcoms are produced, it would seem that many members who take part in making are overlooked, especially anyone who isn’t a producer or actor on the show.
Netflix’s, One Day at a Time, is also a multi-cam sitcom with a domestic theme. The show is smartly crafted, as in genera, the multi-cam sitcom gives the show a bit of an old/traditional feel, but also engages current issues, like immigration and white privilege. I think the show is relatively progressive in its ideals, but also has some conservative tones, or at least presents them. For example, in the fifth episode, there is a debate about immigration, after Schneider admits that he is living in the US illegally, but his attempt to seem cool with his neighbors gets shut down by Penelope because he is white and didn’t have much of a struggle getting to the US or dealing with discrimination after he overstayed his visa. The debate continues when Penelope’s coworker, Scott, chimes in and gives his more conservative view on immigration and that immigrants should follow the rules to get in, to which Lydia agrees. After this, I think the show tries to push its viewers into having more sympathy for immigrants when Elena’s friend’s parents get deported.
Besides the show presenting progressive ideas, the fact that it has a Cuban family as the main characters again pushes progressiveness to demonstrate how the white majority in the US is changing to be more representative of minority groups. I think that this show goes against the traditionally “low-brow” multi-cam sitcom stereotype by being incredibly cultured and intelligent. I think that having this show be produced in a multi-cam sitcom style is actually smarter than having it be a single-camera show because of the sense of community it creates. The show has to be set up in away that the audience feels included and a part of the show’s community. I sometimes get the feeling that in single-camera shows the audience is expected to live vicariously through the characters. There should be an appreciation for both styles of producing, but in One Day at a Time’s case, multi-cam style is best because of how family oriented it is. Betancourt’s article, Make ‘Em Laught Track: How Netflix’s One Day at a Time Resuscitates the Multi-Cam Sitcom, argues that this style fails to show the “complex storylines.” I disagree. I think that anyone with an imagination can understand what happens beyond the boundaries of the set and doesn’t take away from the issues within the show. Perhaps this is why people have lost favor with this style of television production, its lack of edginess.