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Sitcom : a history in 24 episodes from I love Lucy to Community
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  Library Journal Review

Early in this book, Austerlitz (Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy) says, "Watch enough television, and sitcoms begin to talk to one another." This serves as the book's thesis, and the author is at his best when he's facilitating the conversation. Father Knows Best recalls The Honeymooners, Moe's Tavern is Springfield's answer to Cheers, and Curb Your Enthusiasm couldn't exist without Seinfeld. Extending beyond the facile comparisons, Austerlitz's chapter on Sex in the City opens with a look at The Golden Girls and leads into Entourage, while his section on Taxi reads like an introduction to TV sidekicks, spanning from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Community. Austerlitz adheres to his history of sitcoms in 24 episodes, but isn't shackled by it, easily covering an entire run of a sitcom while drawing comparisons to a dozen other shows within a single chapter. VERDICT A compulsively readable and often laugh-out-loud funny study of the American sitcom. While it lacks the detailed episode and cast listings scholars might desire, it's perfect for armchair readers-and is a must if that armchair resembles Archie Bunker's.-Terry Bosky, Madison, WI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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.</p> 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 .</p> 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. </p>
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
1I Love Lucy: "Lucy Does a TV Commercial"p. 7
2The Honeymooners: "Better Living Through TV"p. 25
3The Phil Silvers Show: "Doberman's Sister"p. 39
4Leave It to Beaver: "Beaver Gets 'Spelled"p. 53
5The Dick Van Dyke Show: "Forty-Four Tickets"p. 67
6Gilligan's Island: "St. Gilligan and the Dragon"p. 79
7The Mary Tyler Moore Show: "Chuckles Bites the Dust"p. 95
8All in the Family: "The First and Last Supper"p. 113
9M&ast;A&ast;S&ast;H: "Yankee Doodle Doctor"p. 129
10Taxi: "Latka the Playboy"p. 143
11Cheers: "Strange Bedfellows, Pt. 2"p. 159
12The Cosby Show: "Pilot"p. 175
13Roseanne: "Terms of Estrangement, Part 1"p. 191
14The Simpsons: "22 Short Films About Springfield"p. 207
15Seinfeld: "The Pitch"p. 225
16The Larry Sanders Show: "The Mr. Sharon Stone Show"p. 243
17Friends: "The One with the Embryos"p. 259
18Sex and the City: "My Motherboard, My Self"p. 273
19Freaks and Geeks: "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers"p. 291
20Curb Your Enthusiasm: "Seinfeld"p. 309
21Arrested Development. "S.O.B.s"p. 325
22The Office: "Casino Night"p. 341
2330 Rock: "Rosemary's Baby"p. 355
24Community: "Modern Warfare"p. 369
Acknowledgmentsp. 385
Bibliographyp. 387
Indexp. 391
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