By Saul Austerlitz,

Book cover of Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community

Book description

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…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Sitcom as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

To quote New York Times critic Sam Anderson, “the sitcom is arguably the defining commercial art form of the American 20th century,” and this book gives that hypothesis weight. Over 24 chapters (starting in 1951 with I Love Lucy, the Rosetta Stone of the genre, and ending in 2014 with Dan Harmon’s cult hit Community), Austerlitz uses the television comedy format to discuss joke structure, technological advancements in the arts, and the evolution of American social and political consciousness over the previous half-century. Sitcoms are by their nature the tension between two opposing forces, centering on characters who…

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