Everyday people from all over the world indulge in watching their favorite television show. There are several different types of genres to choose from, but comedies usually are within the top genres people pick. Comedies provide certain elements within the show that present iconographic and thematic parts to every show. The two main subgenres of comedy are domestic comedies and workplace comedies. Some iconography that you may notice is seeing all the characters interact in the same scene locations such as, living rooms, kitchens and garages. Today’s multi-camera sitcoms such as Netflix’s One Day at a Time display topics that are progressive, culturist and discuss forms of racism.
After watching a YouTube video called, One That Goes Behind the Scenes, I was blown away with how much time, effort and people are used in order to produce one single episode. The YouTube video went behind the scenes of the Friends franchise, that went into great detail in order to show viewers all the hard work that is needed behind the camera. When I watched this video I really opened my eyes to all the work behind the scenes we often forget are needed in order for the show to be finished every week. For example I completely forgot about the set dressing crew that has to build multiple sets in order to create the feeling of a real life atmospheres. I never thought about how the sets get taken down when the everyone goes on vacation, so when the show wants to start shooting again, the set crew has to move back every piece of furniture, books and other countless items to bring the set all together. Another aspect I didn’t think much of is how long it takes to shoot a 20-23 minute episode, which can take between 4-5 hours. If a a person goes to a live taping of a show they might be surprised at how long they will be sitting for. However, between takes, there is a warm up comedian who keeps the audience full of energy and keeps their spirits up to make sure their laughs are loud enough to hear on the track. The comedian tells jokes and gets the audience to get up to dance around in their sets. Audience members during the taping get to experience seeing the several takes it makes in order to get a final cut, as well as seeing actors forget their lines.
The production crews behind the camera really must work in a timely fashion in order to make the show deadline. The YouTube video showed all the writers coming up with the script, reading the script, editing the script, and then re-writing the script if need be. One side of the production crew that doesn’t always come first to mind when people think of production crews are; set dressers, lighting crew and Foley artist. Most audience’s think about writers, actors, directors and cameras, but there are many more steps that are need. The lighting crew must create the perfect light in order to hid certain shadows, create sunlight while remaining in doors and making sure the light hits directly on the actors faces. Key sounds, which occur after the editing process, such as keys trying to unlock a door, are added in thanks to Foley artist. Foley artists are responsible for examining every second of audio in the show, and add sound effects. A character running in high heels, keys clinking, door slamming, and so much more are all because of Foley artist.
Some people may think shows like Netflix’s One Day at a Time is just a new form of a old formula, but the show is taking what works about the old formula and mixing it with modern content. The Netflix live studio audience hit offers a modern spin on the classic show, the series talks about immigration, homosexuality, race and being a single mother. A article called Make ‘Em Laugh Track: How Netflix’s One Day at a Time Resuscitates the Multi-Cam Sitcom, written by Manuel Betancourt argues, “The raucous applause that greets the beloved performer as she makes her entrance in the series’ first episode is so contagious and well-earned that any qualms you may have about the show’s live studio audience go out the window. Indeed, watching Moreno (who plays Penelope’s mother, Lydia) relish the cheers that follow whenever she nails a punch line is so joyous that you begin to understand why so much of what works here does so because (and not in spite) of its outdated format.” By having a live studio audience, the cast members can interact with the audience to receive feedback on certain punch lines and jokes. The YouTube video showed that if the writers weren’t sure if a certain joke was funny, they would turn to the live studio audience for help. The audience could then provide their thoughts and feelings back to the writers. When members of the audience laugh out loud, the actors may have to wait a moment for the audience to finish laughing before moving to the next line. Betancourt also states, “Those moments when Moreno or Machado have to wait a beat to say their lines, when the laughter interrupts and energizes their performances, feel like perfect examples of why this theater-television hybrid mode of production once felt so new. It quite literally allowed viewers at home to feel as if they were there, laughing alongside those in the audience. Their own laughter was there in the show’s soundtrack, as were their gasps and their cheers. Lucy and Ricky’s apartment and the Bunkers’ home were open to the public, creating a sense of community through the television screen.” Thanks to the live studio audience when others hear their laughs on behind the camera, it creates a sense of authenticity, compared to the replica laughs of the laugh track. Comedies create laughter, and happiness in viewers, but next time you watch your favorite television show, just keep in mind how long it take to arrive at your screen.
Manuel Betancourt, “Make ‘Em Laugh Track: How Netflix’s One Day at a Time Resuscitates the Multi- Cam Sitcom,” Paste (January 18, 2017): https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/01/make-em- laugh-track-how-netflixs-one-day-at-a-time.html