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Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

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Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Old 09-28-11, 08:55 PM
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Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Are TV sitcom laugh tracks now considered old fashioned? It seems like most new comedies nowaday no longer have laugh tracks. Most of the highest rated comedies still have the laugh tracks (HIMYM, Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men), but most new comedies no longer have them. Of all the new comedies I've seen come out this fall, none of them have laugh tracks. Years ago it used to be a sitcom without the laugh track was the oddity (doogie Howser, Hooperman, Wonder Years).

The newer shows are still funny and seem to work well without the tracks (Modern Family, The Middle, etc.) Cougar Town is a little annoying though in that they seemed to replace the laugh track with a few strings of guitar music after the punchlines and funny dialog (Similiar to what they do in Grey's Anatomy).

How does everyone else feel about the new trend in sitcoms?
Old 09-28-11, 09:04 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Laugh tracks tend to irritate me. They typically laugh when I don't, and the actors generally pause a bit to let the laughing have some time. It seems incredibly unnatural, forced, and unnecessary.

I do sometimes get a kick out of hearing a ridiculous laugh mixed into the track.
Old 09-28-11, 09:26 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

I cant laugh without them.
Old 09-28-11, 10:29 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

What is with all these threads about this?
Old 09-28-11, 11:09 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Laugh tracks died a deserved death with the original version of The Office.

Thank you Ricky Gervais.

You are my hero.

Anyone still using a laugh-track is living in the 80's and I refuse to watch their shows.
Old 09-28-11, 11:37 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Laugh tracks are an odd cultural artifact. That said, I'm glad they're being phased out.
Old 09-29-11, 07:54 AM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

It was difficult to get past the laugh track/live audience on How I Met Your Mother, glad I eventually did. It is definitely a terrible artifact of the past.

Two Broke Girls is new this season and does have a laugh track, no surprise as CBS seems to dig them. Similarly, Whitney on NBC features a laugh track/live audience.

Originally Posted by dan30oly View Post
Laugh tracks died a deserved death with the original version of The Office.

Thank you Ricky Gervais.
Is this a reference to something specific in the original run of The Office that I just don't remember?

Last edited by RichC2; 09-29-11 at 08:00 AM.
Old 09-29-11, 09:46 AM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
. Similarly, Whitney on NBC features a laugh track/live audience.
Good lord, that one was horrible. But, since it was not funny to me in any way at all, at least it told me when they were trying to be funny!
Old 09-29-11, 10:07 AM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post

Is this a reference to something specific in the original run of The Office that I just don't remember?
It was the first highly successful comedy without a laugh track.

Gervais has said there were those at the BBC who didn't understand it, and when it was test screened it went down horribly. The only reason it ever aired was because it was cheap to produce. Obviously went went down a storm and shown most of the networks the way of the future (except CBS who is stuck in the 80's).
Old 09-29-11, 10:16 AM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

I hate laugh tracks that are most obviously laugh tracks (and not a live studio audience). The live studio audience tracks can be irritating, but are also pretty easy to ignore.
Old 09-29-11, 10:23 AM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

The more modern way of the TV comedy is without these laugh tracks and the most popular and most watched sitcoms are the ones with the old fashioned laugh track!

I think it’s a perfect analogy to the general American TV watching public(J6P if you will). A bunch of old fashioned narrow minded afraid of change people.

Pretty fitting no?
Old 09-29-11, 12:22 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Originally Posted by dan30oly View Post
It was the first highly successful comedy without a laugh track.
Gotcha, though laugh tracks/live audiences are usually only used on multicamera shows. Shows like Doogie Howser, The Simpsons (I know it's animated but yeah... I remember those animated shows with laughtracks), Malcolm in the Middle pre-date The Office (Malcolm parallels), were highly successful (maybe not adopted into "regional" versions like The Office but popular no less) and also didn't have laugh tracks.

Last edited by RichC2; 09-29-11 at 12:34 PM.
Old 09-29-11, 12:47 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
It was difficult to get past the laugh track/live audience on How I Met Your Mother, glad I eventually did. It is definitely a terrible artifact of the past.

Two Broke Girls is new this season and does have a laugh track, no surprise as CBS seems to dig them. Similarly, Whitney on NBC features a laugh track/live audience.



Is this a reference to something specific in the original run of The Office that I just don't remember?
I was also annoyed with Two Broke Girls as I found the laughing at EVERYTHING really distracting (and hate them in general... HIMYM is the only show where I tolerate a laugh track). What is really frustrating is at the beginning of Two Broke Girls they say that they are filmed in front of a live studio audience.

So live people can be just as bad and turn me off just as fast. The format like the Office, Modern Family, and Inbetweeners where is filmed without any suggestions when to laugh is clearly my favorite.
Old 09-29-11, 02:19 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Originally Posted by Jonno2006 View Post
The more modern way of the TV comedy is without these laugh tracks and the most popular and most watched sitcoms are the ones with the old fashioned laugh track!

I think it’s a perfect analogy to the general American TV watching public(J6P if you will). A bunch of old fashioned narrow minded afraid of change people.

Pretty fitting no?
Agreed.

One of the things I find sorta paradoxical is that Whitney Cummings is very active on Twitter, safe to say she's with the 21st century, yet her show and one she's producing (2 Broke Girls) both use laugh tracks like crutches.
Old 09-29-11, 05:50 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
Agreed.

One of the things I find sorta paradoxical is that Whitney Cummings is very active on Twitter, safe to say she's with the 21st century, yet her show and one she's producing (2 Broke Girls) both use laugh tracks like crutches.
Both shows have annoying laughter.... but, again, both are not laugh tracks. Both are recorded before a live studio audience.

The best you can say is either show can have the laughter sweetened if a joke bombs... but you can't say it is canned.
Old 09-29-11, 07:58 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

I never noticed during it's original run but the Seinfeld laugh track really gets on my nerves now. It's way over the top IMO. The Brady Bunch laugh track gets my vote for the wackiest ever in sitcom history.
Old 09-29-11, 09:00 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Seinfeld was a studio as well. It's pretty easy to tell since you can see the actors waiting to deliver lines until the laughter subsides. It's very noticeable on Seinfeld, especially on Kramer's entrances. Hell they had to start telling the audience to cool it on Kramer because it would go on for too long. I don't have a problem with it.

One that does bug the hell out of me though is M*A*S*H or any show that does an outdoor scene you know was filmed without an audience, yet there is the laughter.
Old 09-29-11, 09:08 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Like all discussions on this subject, it's once again clear that most of the people on this board don't understand what a laugh track is.
Old 09-29-11, 09:53 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Originally Posted by Numanoid View Post
Like all discussions on this subject, it's once again clear that most of the people on this board don't understand what a laugh track is.
Everybody knows what a laugh track is. Live audience, sweetened or canned it doesn't matter, they all suck.
Old 09-29-11, 09:54 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

I still love the laugh track sitcoms of the past, but in the past year I find myself liking non-laugh track sitcoms more. Several of my friends and family can't get used to non-laugh track sitcoms so they pretty much stick to CBS sitcoms.
Old 09-29-11, 10:03 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

I find the laugh tracks on CBS' comedies atrocious and simply cringe inducing.
Old 09-29-11, 10:18 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Originally Posted by Michael Corvin View Post
Seinfeld was a studio as well. It's pretty easy to tell since you can see the actors waiting to deliver lines until the laughter subsides. It's very noticeable on Seinfeld, especially on Kramer's entrances. Hell they had to start telling the audience to cool it on Kramer because it would go on for too long. I don't have a problem with it.

One that does bug the hell out of me though is M*A*S*H or any show that does an outdoor scene you know was filmed without an audience, yet there is the laughter.
Yeah, M*A*S*H is a great example. I tried to watch an episode on TV at lunchtime today, and had to turn it off because of the laugh track. We're used to watching it on DVD where you have the option to play it without the laugh track.
Old 09-29-11, 10:54 PM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

I figured out when to laugh on my own and realized I didn't need to be told what's funny.
Old 09-30-11, 12:02 AM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

I could care less if they have one or not as long as its well written and funny.
Old 09-30-11, 12:09 AM
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Re: Whatever happened to sitcom Laugh Tracks

Originally Posted by andicus View Post
Yeah, M*A*S*H is a great example. I tried to watch an episode on TV at lunchtime today, and had to turn it off because of the laugh track. We're used to watching it on DVD where you have the option to play it without the laugh track.
That option is the greatest special feature ever to be put on any dvd.

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