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Thursday, September 20, 2007
Don't make me laugh
Ideas staff writer Drake Bennett contributed a video slide show to Slate, this week, concerning the history and future of the TV laugh track.
This fall, Bennett notes, "five of the eight new comedies go without the sound of laughs, and TV critics and network executives alike have proclaimed the death of the laugh track. Freed of the stodgy cadence of setup, punch line, laugh, the new shows can supposedly be slyer, subtler, and more subversive." But don't write an obit yet. In the decades since its debut in 1950, Bennett points out, the laugh track "has stood accused of everything from bad faith to brainwashing to mere artistic laziness. It's survived all the opprobrium, however, and, in one form or another, it's likely to survive further still."
The video clips, with Bennett's analysis, are a lot of fun. Check it out!