An Ode to Watching Sitcoms

If there’s one thing that I like to do when I get home after a long day of school, it’s sit down, relax, and watch an episode of my favourite sitcom


National Archives and Records Administration, photo by Evert F. Baumgardner – Images of American Political History. Posting online by Dr. William J. Ball. All images are believed to be in the public domain


If there’s one thing that I like to do when I get home after a long day of school, it’s sit down, relax, and watch an episode of my favourite sitcom. You can’t miss it; those twenty minutes or so of humour and charismatic characters that have accompanied you for ages always hit the spot. Alongside a cup of tea, watching an episode of a good old American sitcom is the best way to decompress after school. And if someone ever finds out a better way to do it… that’s it; I’ll eat my hat.


Ok, I now ask you to be a little patient before we fight ourselves to death arguing what is the best sitcom of all time, because first I would like to have a little talk about the definition of a sitcom. The word comes from situation comedy, and it started being used around the 1960s to describe the shows that followed a group of fictional characters who went through a series of funny situations. If the characters themselves or the interactions between them are also funny that’s a plus, a testament that the show is of exceptional quality. Alongside talk-shows, sitcoms became a staple of American television from the start, and they soon invaded every household in the U.S.

Another thing that defines the sitcom, and that helps distinguish shows that have a comedic vein from sitcoms is the laugh track, or laugh box, as it is also called. Most people think that the track is there to notify you when to laugh, something that is always pointed out by critics of the genre. They say that people who watch sitcoms are too stupid to know when to laugh or not. But I completely disagree with that interpretation of the meaning of the laugh track, as I would say that it is there to laugh with you. The track blocks the echo that might come out after you burst out laughing, if you’re alone, that echo might make you embarrassed of your own laugh. The laugh track solves that, it’s genius.

Sitcoms became a staple of American television from the start

Ok, so let’s talk about shows. Now, I’m not a sitcom expert over here, and I don’t claim that my taste or opinion on sitcoms is better than anyone else’s. Just saying that so that people don’t get offended and my editor’s inbox doesn’t get filled up with complaints and people calling to get me fired. So, my favourite sitcom is “How I Met Your Mother”, but I think that the best sitcom of all time is “Seinfeld”. Besides that, I also enjoyed “The Big Bang Theory”, “Modern Family”, and, of course “The Office”. “Friends” is… ok. I’ve never seen “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” or “30 Rock” and despite people saying they’re very good, I have no intention to watch them. I’ve never seen “Community,” though I do want to watch it because people say it is very good.

More than to make you laugh, sitcoms exist to accompany you, to follow you through a given period of your life. At least that’s my relationship with them, tell me, what’s yours?