Political Messages in Sitcom Writing

By: Alex Giacco

To be honest I do not watch many sitcoms or very much television for that matter so I do not know a ton of different shows. However, I have grown up around my Dad who has a love for Seinfeld and also a lot of my friends binge watch Friends, so I can at least say I am acquainted with the style. With this being said I have really learned a lot already in just the first week from listening to Jen, Nick, and Robin talk about their experiences. I was also pleasantly surprised with how funny the episode of New Girl was considering I had never watched it before. 

I thought that Jen did a fantastic job describing how she got into writing for sitcoms and explained the major differences between movie writing and TV writing. It was cool that she knows that she is much more comfortable writing for TV and that she finds it easier to grasp. I thought she made an interesting point when she said that it’s hard to make a story come to a close in a movie, in such a short time. This is a major reason why she enjoys continuing a narratve for longer time in a TV series. Also, the hierachy structure of the networks was not surprising to me, because this is how a lot of corporate America operates unfortunatley. The show runner, who is usually an experienced writer, has the upper hand on younger writers as part of hierachy. Nick confirmed these assumptions about the hierachal structure, but also discussed how much everyone truly collaborates on each script. Where basically everything from the first draft gets revised. Each sitcom follows the basic outline of 3 acts, with 2 storylines, but the content obviously changes a lot in each episode.

Robin gave a great historical background on the different eras that Sitcoms have journeyed through. It was very intresting what she had to say about the representation of blacks in sitcoms and films through the 20th century and leading into the 21st century. We saw an episode of the Amos ‘n Andy show from the minstrel era, where blacks were suppressed through racial remarks. This was followed by the “white out” of the late 50’s and early 60’s during the Civil rights movement. It was crazy that networks just completely alienated blacks from entertainment because they did not know what to do. This is still a recurring theme today, where minorities are completely misrepresented. This will be an interesting theme to follow thorughout the remainder of our course when viewing different sitcoms. I have really enjoyed the first week!


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One Response to Political Messages in Sitcom Writing

  1. marymdalton says:

    I was grateful that Jen Braeden (Super Fun Night) and Nick Adams (New Girl) were willing to participate in our class! It’s great to be able to start out with a “real world” perspective and to get it from Wake Foresters!

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