Sitcoms, like those that were on tv a few years ago, are coming back with a vengeance. Comedies like Suburgatory, Modern Family and The Middle are some of the currently most watched shows.
This new influx of sitcoms are reminiscent of the older sitcoms like Full House, Home Improvement and The Cosby Show. These sitcoms are shows about a family or connected families and the daily events of their life, involving comedy in some way. However, these new sitcoms have created new family dynamics and offer more diversity.
Full House, Home Improvement and The Cosby Show all focus on the stereotypical family: a father, a mother and a certain number of kids, sometimes including live-in family members. However, the new sitcoms have introduced new family situations, and controversies around them. Suburgatory introduces both a family of a single father and his daughter and a divorced woman and her daughter.
The Middle is about the stereotypical family; a father, mother, and three kids. However, these family members aren’t the sweet, funny, semi-normal characters that were adored in Full House. They seem to have very different, weird and somehow funny personalities.
Modern Family introduces the typical “mom, dad, and three kids” family along with an old man married to a younger Columbian woman and gay parents with an adopted asian baby. These new sitcoms like Modern Family introduce family diversity, something that wasn’t exactly present in older sitcoms.
Another difference between the old sitcoms and the new is that the humor is a bit more risque. Old sitcoms were very seldom profane and they relied on more classic, clean humor. Current sitcoms often include less G-rated humor, relying on crude humor to get laughs. There’s not much harm in that though, as long as it doesn’t go overboard.
Older sitcoms were based on more functional families, where newer ones tend to be based on dysfunctional families; new sitcoms, Modern Family especially, rely on this dysfunctionality to make their viewers laugh. Older sitcoms, like Full House, had a lot of feel-good moments of bonding between family characters, but new sitcoms seem to take away from that emphasis.
Even though there are many differences between modern sitcoms and the vintage sitcoms, the reason people watch them is the same. People enjoy sitcoms because they are based on family, and people have an instant connection with them because of that. When people watch sitcoms, they can identify with them because they can relate the humor, struggle with family and connection with family to their own lives.