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Sitcoms aka situational comedies are built on a foundation of witty and not-so witty jokes being thrown out every 30 seconds or so. You'll know when one of the characters makes a pun because a laughing track or studio audience will blast over your speakers and you can rest assured you haven't missed a funny retort.
But when you take that core piece of sitcom culture - characters and the shows they live in take a very different turn.
Take Ross Geller from Friends as a good example:
On the surface he's that quirky archaeologist who can't seem to catch a break. But when the laughing isn't there, he's quite possibly the worst person to be around.
A person crafty with video editing looked at a famous scene where Ross blows his lid over finding out who ate his treasured turkey sandwich. Who could forget such a good scene?
"Did you confused it with your own turkey sandwich with a moist maker," Ross asks deadpan while the fake audience laps it up. To be fair, it's kind of funny to see how much Ross loves that meal.
But take away the golden laughing track and that scene takes on a much more sinister tone that belongs in a gripping crime drama. One person on YouTube says: "The fuck? the way he talks is just unsettling."
Another user likens Geller to Christian Bale's incredible Patrick Bates character from American Psycho.
Others want laughing tracks removed because they reckon the show would be better. That's a bold move as most TV comedies could be twisted by a lack of canned laughter. It's an issue that often plagues The Big Bang Theory, as the 'jokes' in some episodes fall flat when there's no one telling you to laugh.
Don't believe me? Take a look.
The show has been accused of being sexist for the way the four nerds interact with Penny.
In a YouTube video titled The Adorkable Misogyny by Pop Culture Detective, Jonathan McIntosh says: "Adorkable misogynists are male characters whose geeky version of masculinity is framed as both comically pathetic and endearing.
"And it's their status as nerdy nice guys that then lets them off the hook for a wide range of creepy, entitled, and downright sexist behaviours. These types of characters are shown engaging in a variety of harassing, entitled, and sexist behaviour where women are concerned."
Again, if you took the laughing track off virtually every sitcom you'd probably find a wealth of sexist, misogynistic, homophobic or any other -ist or -ic comments. Despite people absolutely loving Friends, it's hard to deny that Ross looks a bit creepy without a laughing track.
Featured Image Credit: Friends/NBC
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