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Author Topic: This show filmed before a live studio audience  (Read 672 times)
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SamuelXDiamond

Rectum Favourist
Urban Legend
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« on: 01-04-2004 20:46 »

I'm copying the majority of this from the Red Dwarf thread, but I thought it was an interesting enough topic to get it's own. Where do you stand on sitcoms having studio audiences laughing over the top of them?

If they'dve made the (completely sensible, in my opinion) decision to do away with laugh tracks altogether in Red Dwarf Series VII, then the series would've been wonderful, in my opinion. Studio audiences have never really sat right with me, because why do you need the show to point you towards a gag? Do people need the audience's reaction to gague their own opinion of the joke? I don't get it at all.

Maybe the studio audience can help keep up the energy of the performance, especially for actors weaned on theatre stages, but let's face it, having to perform in front of an audience for every scene of every episode is a hinderance. Reactions come out totally unnaturally due to having to allow for audience reaction times. An actor's overall pace can be ruined, quick-fire gags often becoming unneccesarily difficult to pull off audiably and naturally. Precious minutes of air time can be lost in allowing for the laughter. The sets have to be built without a fourth wall, limiting a director's choice of possible angles, and also have to have every other part of the room visable to that fourth wall, causing most rooms to be bizzarrely mis-shapen. Dialogue and sound effect tracks can never come out entirely clean. The ability to re-shoot scenes or make last-minute changes is drastically reduced. And, perhaps most importantly of all, the audience groans and awws in the corniest way, and coughs are irritating in the cinema when you're watching a film, but at least on subsequent viewings, there's never going to be a cough in exactly the same place. On a studio recording, even though it may be minor, coughs are preserved forever and they're distracting from the illusion.

The one time where I can say that a studio audience improved my enjoyment of a scene in Red Dwarf was the infamous "boxer shorts" scene in Polymorph. The rest of the time (and listening to the audio commentaries, this would seem to be true) the audience merely seems to stroke the actors' egos by allowing them to laud their number of 'woofers' over the other cast members.

And, let us not forget, Futurama has no laugh track, and is truly wonderful.
Slurm Guy

Starship Captain
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« Reply #1 on: 01-04-2004 20:49 »

I sometimes find the laugh track a bit annoying. People laugh at the stupidest things. I never laugh at sitcoms, but I enjoy them. However, the laugh tracks comfort me somehow.
Venus

Urban Legend
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« Reply #2 on: 01-04-2004 21:00 »

yeah laugh tracts are rather annoying when your watching a show from home, but i love the idea of being able to go and watch a show being filmed live. I'd love to go see shows like '8 Simple rules', or 'i'm with her'. If i lived in Cali i'm sure i'd be in studio audiences all the time.
PCC Fred

Space Pope
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« Reply #3 on: 01-04-2004 21:00 »

"Married with Children" and "Happy Days" are the most notorious examples of studio audience participation.  There was an episode where a guy walked into a room (I think it was Jefferson Darcy), and had started to speak when the audience let out a loud WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  The guy had to wait, then start his line all over again.

Canned laughter sucks as well, it's totally out of place in M*A*S*H, and gets used a lot of the time to prop up weak sitcoms.  Some of the later seasons of "Frasier" spring to mind.
canned eggs

Space Pope
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« Reply #4 on: 01-04-2004 21:03 »

Canned laughter worked for Scooby Doo.
SamuelXDiamond

Rectum Favourist
Urban Legend
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« Reply #5 on: 01-04-2004 21:05 »
« Last Edit on: 01-04-2004 21:05 »

Ugh. Adding canned laughter to animation? No purpose, no excuse. None whatsoever. Vile.

EDIT: Oh hey Fred, there's a version of some of the seasons of M*A*S*H available without the laugh track, isn't there? Is there an option to turn it off on the DVD, or isn't it present at all?
David A

Urban Legend
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« Reply #6 on: 01-04-2004 21:22 »

I'd just like to say that I have always found the phrase "filmed before a live studio audience" to be amusing.  I mean, as opposed to what, a dead one?

Speak softly. Drive a Sherman tank.
CyberKnight

Urban Legend
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« Reply #7 on: 01-05-2004 02:14 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by SamuelXDiamond:
EDIT: Oh hey Fred, there's a version of some of the seasons of M*A*S*H available without the laugh track, isn't there? Is there an option to turn it off on the DVD, or isn't it present at all?

According to my father, when the BBC bought the rights to show M*A*S*H in the UK in the 80s, they insisted FOX remove the laugh track.

Personally, I detest laugh tracks. If you introduced a bill to outlaw them, I honestly can't think of a single argument you could use to fight it that wouldn't result in a rebuttal along the lines of "So, you're basically using laugh tracks to cover your incompetance?".
SwanMan3000

Starship Captain
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« Reply #8 on: 01-05-2004 04:11 »

in my opinion adding canned laughter in on cartoons is unforgivable. But on some shows it works well and gives you the sense you are in a crowd or with alot of people watching it. It can be used in a bad way however that is very annoying. Some dvds give the option of turning it off which i think is a good idea.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #9 on: 01-05-2004 04:36 »

Regarding MASH, there's is indeed a feature on the dvds that allows you to turn off the laugh track.  So far I've always watched mine that way, I don't like being told aloud that something is funny.

Added laughter (canned or real) always annoys me on tv shows, but luckily I don't consider any currently running live action sitcoms to be worth my time anytime, so problem solved.  Daily Show does have a live audience, but I can put up with that somehow, I guess because its part of the atmosphere (plus Stewart will sometimes add little jokes in regards to audience reaction).  Also SNL has a live audience obviously, but I haven't watched it lately because what I saw of last season sucked ass.
Zed 85

Space Pope
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« Reply #10 on: 01-05-2004 04:50 »

Ugh, laugh tracks on cartoons, yuck I'll just go repeat what everyone's just said.  puke

Tweek

UberMod
DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #11 on: 01-05-2004 05:03 »
« Last Edit on: 01-05-2004 05:03 »

Canned laughter is just horrible, worse than audience laughter  hmpf
aslate

Space Pope
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« Reply #12 on: 01-05-2004 06:27 »

I don't mind the "audience laughter" too much, at least that is real. I found the laughter on shows like Fawlty Towers and Red Dwarf was fine. However on most modern shows, mainly with canned laughter, alot of it sounds way too fake and "uncomfortable" when watching.
Impossible

Urban Legend
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« Reply #13 on: 01-05-2004 07:42 »

I remember Sabrina The Teenage Witch and The Flintstones had canned laughed ... it's just awful! I prefer real studio laughter  smile
ghoulishmoose

Urban Legend
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« Reply #14 on: 01-05-2004 08:21 »

I dont mind some laughter in certain shows. Canned laughter is something I'm not a big fan of. I prefer the real studio audiance laughter, like in Blackadder or Fawlty Towers. Sometimes it adds the right atmosphere. But in some shows it just doesn't seem right. In the right circumstances it can be alright, but generally, like you guys said, I dont need people to tell me that something is funny  smile
Pikka Bird

Space Pope
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« Reply #15 on: 01-05-2004 12:58 »

Added laughter is idiocy. Yes, it does remove the opportunity to time quick witty dialogue. Yes, it's annoying to be told "Laugh at THIS point!". (On a related side note) Friends' laughter claims to be real, but it's only part true... They save the GOOD laughs from a scene and add that to the best take.
Action Jacktion

Professor
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« Reply #16 on: 01-05-2004 13:16 »

Originally, The Daily Show did not have a studio audience.  I was disappointed when they added it, because it seemed unnecessary, and I wondered if they did it to enforce the idea that the show was funny.  They also might have thought that the show had perviously seemed too small.

I think sitcoms have audiences/laughter just because that's the way it's always been done.  I don't watch much TV, but I wouldn't mind if those were done away with.
SwanMan3000

Starship Captain
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« Reply #17 on: 01-05-2004 13:39 »

yer that is another reason why canned laughter continues, producers are scared to break away from previous concepts thus the same thing continues like canned laughter.
Melllvar

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #18 on: 01-06-2004 01:31 »

Some of the recent great british comedies don't have audience laughter (for example: The Office, Spaced) and I don't think I'd love them as much if they did.
Mouse On Venus

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #19 on: 01-06-2004 07:01 »
« Last Edit on: 01-06-2004 07:01 »

You know what, I'll say one thing about audience laughter: over the last month I had the 'pleasure' of being in the audience for two completely different talk shows on two completely different college trips: the UK daytime chat show Today With Des And Mel, and the US' very own Late Night With Conan O'Brien. And on both accounts there was a moment after the show when the producers required the audience to provide them with laughter for special clip shows or sketches or some crap.

 What struck me though was the different ways in which they got the audience to laugh. On Des And Mel, Des genuinely made his audience laugh by saying something stupid or whatever before each segue they did, whereas on Conan the producer guy just told the audience to laugh or applaud for a certain amount of seconds. It just amazed me how much more manipulated the Conan O'Brien audience was than the fairly natural reactions of something as bland as Des And Mel.

 I'll agree with Melllvar on his statement though: The Office and Spaced are much richer for their lack of audience laughter. With those shows, the impression given is that you're free to laugh and react when you want, if you want, whereas with audience laughter shows they're just saying "Listen, 100 people find this funny, so should you."   no no
User_names_suck
Professor
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« Reply #20 on: 01-06-2004 14:25 »
« Last Edit on: 01-06-2004 14:25 »

Lets not forget s3 of the league of gentlemen that lost the laugh track as it became more story based as opposed to a sketch show.(all the better for it in my opinion)

I've noticed occasionly on sitcoms when they have quick responding gags like little sarcastic remarks, they dont have audience laughter because it ruins the pace,

Maybe we should bring back pantomine and audience's can vent there participation energy on that
Mouse On Venus

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #21 on: 01-06-2004 14:41 »

Oh no they can't!  tongue
User_names_suck
Professor
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« Reply #22 on: 01-06-2004 18:23 »

Oh yes they can
LAN.gnome

Urban Legend
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« Reply #23 on: 01-06-2004 18:35 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Action Jacktion:
Originally, The Daily Show did not have a studio audience.  I was disappointed when they added it, because it seemed unnecessary, and I wondered if they did it to enforce the idea that the show was funny.  They also might have thought that the show had perviously seemed too small.

I never saw the show before it had a studio audience (or before it had Jon Stweart, for that matter), but I can't imagine it being nearly as good without them. They way Jon interacts with them is both priceless and hilarious. I especially like these moments:

A particularly funny segment title pops up, Jon begins his dialogue... and right on cue, the joke sinks in and laughter spreads through the auidence, drowning out Jon
Jon: "Oh, so you're 'readers'."  big grin
zoidyzoid

Professor
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« Reply #24 on: 01-06-2004 22:28 »

I don't mind canned laughter when watching a not-particularly-good-sitcom on TV, but for any show I'm a big fan of a laugh track would ruin it for me. Also for anything animated it would be quite annoying, and for some reason watching anything on DVD with a laugh track really pisses me off.
Dose_Me_Up

Bending Unit
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« Reply #25 on: 01-07-2004 12:34 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by David A:
I'd just like to say that I have always found the phrase "filmed before a live studio audience" to be amusing.  I mean, as opposed to what, a dead one?
Actually I read somewhere that some of the canned laughter used today was recorded in the fifties. So sometimes when we hear laughter it is the laughter of the dead... spooky.

User_names_suck
Professor
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« Reply #26 on: 01-07-2004 13:21 »

Actually a lot of commentary tracks end up as laugh tracks, but its all genuine laughter of a few people at least and it can be intresting to know what they find funny
nagrub

Bending Unit
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« Reply #27 on: 01-07-2004 17:42 »

lets look at the science behind laugh tracks shall we? okay, when you are watching somthing with one or more other people you will laugh more. its a fact. if you are watching somthing on your own you wont really laugh as much, unless its really funny! So, by having a laugh track on a show you hear other people laughing and subconciously find the gag more funny. It's true!
Mouse On Venus

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #28 on: 01-07-2004 18:37 »
« Last Edit on: 01-07-2004 18:37 »

But I think there's a kind of narrative structure that relies heavily on audience laughter and another that doesn't. For example, Friends without the laugh track wouldn't work at all, but then neither would The Office with the laugh track. This is most likely because The Office is more about subtleties and the dialogue is written to be more realistic, whereas with Friends the dialogue takes a more formulaic approach, having punchlines much more hit-over-the-head obvious and by having a laugh track the effect is increased ten times over.

 (disclaimer: I can't stand Friends.  mad )
zoidberg74

Bending Unit
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« Reply #29 on: 01-07-2004 19:35 »

studio audience good.....canned laugh not so good.
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