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Laugh tracks are they really necessary?

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by cj9788, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. cj9788

    cj9788 Hall Of Fame

    May 14, 2003
    I have been watching a lot of UK comedies like The Inbetweeners and Free Agents and have been laughing so hard at how brilliantly funny they are. I just noticed there is no laugh track as is the norm on US comedies like Big Bang Theory. Is the laugh track really needed? If it is truly funny we are going to laugh any ways. Maybe the UK shows have an edge due to lax decency standards. Neither The Inbetweeners no the UK Free Agents could run on broadcast TV here unedited as is.

    I don't know it was just a thought I had. I am trying really hard to remember more US comedies that do and don't have those laugh tracks. I don't think arrested development had one and they really pushed the edge of decency with all the off colored humor. I don't think Modern Family has a laugh track if they do I never noticed it. Any way I just thought I would toss this out there......
  2. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    Sep 5, 2006
    Allen, TX
    There's others...Off the top of my head
    Parks & Rec
    30 Rock
    The Office
    The Middle
    Modern Family (as you said)
    My Name Is Earl (syndication/ended)
    Family Guy
    Happy Endings
    Mr. Sunshine
    Cougar Town
    Scrubs (syndication/ended)
    Up All Night (new)
  3. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

    Jun 6, 2009
    Is the laugh track really needed?

    No. It's annoying.

    What's worse is the live audience laughing so loud (and long) that you miss some of the dialog, or the cast stands there waiting to say their next line. Put the audience behind some kind of sound barrier so they don't get recorded.
  4. hilmar2k

    hilmar2k Hall Of Fame

    Mar 18, 2007
    There are some clips on YouTube of some scenes with the laugh track absent (one I have seen is of Big Bang Theory). It is amazingly creepy to watch sometimes without it. Amazing how dependant some shows are in the laugh track.

    I definitely prefer shows that don't use it.
  5. theedger

    theedger Mentor

    Mar 30, 2008
    I bought the first couple seasons of MASH on DVD. There was an option to watch without a laugh track. I liked it better without. More powerful.
  6. oldschoolecw

    oldschoolecw HarpoonIPA

    Jan 25, 2007
    Halifax, MA
    That list don't bode well with what they really must think of us as viewers :nono2:
  7. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    Sep 5, 2006
    Allen, TX
    :confused: There's some really good shows on that list, IMO. Comedies are pretty rare nowadays.
  8. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

    Apr 23, 2002
  9. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    NY Hudson...
    I find all can annoying.
  10. balboadave

    balboadave Legend

    Mar 3, 2010
    That is a poor and misleading example. Big Bang Theory is performed in front of a live audience, and is paced around it. Removing their feedback, which is mostly laughter, is like listening to half of a conversation. Of course it's going to sound weird.
  11. oldschoolecw

    oldschoolecw HarpoonIPA

    Jan 25, 2007
    Halifax, MA
    I think you should teach me proper Etiquette with posting :D
  12. oldschoolecw

    oldschoolecw HarpoonIPA

    Jan 25, 2007
    Halifax, MA
    They obviously don't think we know whats funny and when to laugh, that's what I was trying to say:)
  13. Getteau

    Getteau Icon

    Dec 19, 2007
    I was watching a Friends marathon last week and couldn’t believe how obnoxious the laugh track was on the show. If you ever watched Scrubs, there was an episode where they acted like it was a 70's comedy (I think one of their patients was a director from Mash or something). In that episode, they overplayed the laugh track to make it seem like a really cheesy comedy from the past. All I could think of when I was watching the Friends marathon was that Scrubs episode. That and how whiney Chandler sounded. Was his voice always that high pitched and whiney? Man, after watching a few episodes, I can’t believe that I really used to like that show.
  14. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jan 18, 2007
    In shows that record only the "live audience" response laughter I see a pacing and cast feedback behavior change that can be beneficial, not always but usually. On the other hand, in a show that uses only canned laugh tracks or supplements with canned laugh tracks generally I see no benefit and sometimes it just emphasizes how unfunny the script is, not always but frequently.

    It's interesting how production changes over the years. Fewer comedy shows seem to use canned laugh tracks. On the other hand, after "Northern Exposure" more popular music is used in drama series, so much so that on some shows it's becoming annoying, particularly on The CW.
  15. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    I've heard numerous complaints about BBTs laugh track. I guess Chuck Lorre did as well, which prompted him to put audience picture as a vanity card one episode.
  16. cj9788

    cj9788 Hall Of Fame

    May 14, 2003
    All in the Family was filmed in front of a live studio audience ( as opposed to a dead studio audience, I always used to think that when I was a kid) and it was annoying because as SayWhat? mentioned the audience would laugh so hard because it was so funny you could not hear what was being said. This can be seen in the episode when Archie gives and editorial reply on gun control. Carol O'Connor being a great actor kept on delivering his lines as the audience was laughing it up.

    I think single camera comedies such as My Name is Earl is done with out the laughter because I do not think there is a live studio audience. An audience would get bored real quick having to watch a single camera comedy being filmed. Also I noticed single camera comedies have more location shoots because they are not limited to a sound stage and 3 or 4 cameras catching the action all at once.
  17. oldschoolecw

    oldschoolecw HarpoonIPA

    Jan 25, 2007
    Halifax, MA
  18. armophob

    armophob Difficulty Concen........

    Nov 13, 2006
    Fort Pierce, FL
    I can't even watch my favorite old Cheers and Mash episodes because of canned laughter. Amazing that anyone could ever stand it. Wanted to see what all the hype was with the 2 1/2 men craze and made it 15 seconds into it, until the laugh track.
  19. paulman182

    paulman182 Hall Of Fame

    Aug 4, 2006
    I thought Cheers was filmed before an audience?

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