The form is so elemental, so basic, that we have difficulty imagining a time before it existed: a single set, fixed cameras, canned laughter, zany sidekicks, quirky family antics. Obsessively watched and critically ignored, sitcoms were a distraction, a gentle lullaby of a kinder, gentler America—until suddenly the artificial boundary between the world and television entertainment collapsed.
In this book we can watch the growth of the sitcom, following the path that leads from Lucy to The Phil Silvers Show; from The Dick Van Dyke Show to The Mary Tyler Moore Show; from M*A*S*H to Taxi; from Cheers to Roseanne; from Seinfeld to Curb Your Enthusiasm; and from The Larry Sanders Show to 30 Rock.
In twenty-four episodes, Sitcom surveys the history of the form, and functions as both a TV mixtape of fondly remembered shows that will guide us to notable series and larger trends, and a carefully curated guided tour through the history of one of our most treasured art forms.
About The Author
SAUL AUSTERLITZ is a writer and critic. His work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, the Village Voice, The National, the San Francisco Chronicle, Spin, Rolling Stone, Paste, and other publications. He is the author of Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes (Continuum, 2007), and Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy (Chicago Review Press, 2010). Money for Nothing is being made into a forthcoming documentary film, for which he has written the script. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Becky.