Let's face it, we watch sitcoms for a good laugh. These are designed to bring in the laughs and make us forget our troubles. But there are those times during a sitcom where drama can come in to emphasize the scene. Why does this happen, what happened to the day when Abbott and Costello played it completely for laughs, and so did the Three Stooges. Well, perhaps this happened because the sitcom became pretty much what it stands for a situation comedy. In situations, drama can come in even if it's just for a fleeting moment.
In the 70s the sitcom MASH along with the ground breaking sitcom All in the Family took the mixture to a new level. Where All in the Family was concerned, they too hard hitting relevant issues of the time yet found a way to mix the comedy into the drama itself. Where MASH was concerned, the first few seasons did seem to play out mostly for laughs but that was like ignoring the elephant in the room, namely the Korean War. There's little funny about war and when the program let the war in it also had to let in the drama. MASH became known as TV's first dramedy which was a combination of drama and comedy. For the program, the formula worked, and fans continued watching it.
These days it'd seem that "dramedy" has made a comeback without even trying. There are highly popular programs such as Modern Family, Blackish, and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia whom although are classified sitcoms do also contain dramatic moments. These shows also work without the laugh track that can still be found in some sitcoms. Yes, there are viewers who still prefer that half hour sitcoms continue to just before laugh. That's not to say that some aren't Mike and Molly, Two Broke Girls and Last Man Standing do seem to still play it for laughs mostly even if there are a few moments of drama sneaking in. Hey, how can it not these are sitcoms of today. After all, who would of thought the day would come when a sitcom regarding a mother and daughter would exist that has them both battling a substance abuse issue which is the basis now for the sitcom Mom. Yes, this one does have a laugh track but it also has hard-hitting issues such as friend dying from an overdose.
Perhaps the thing that has changed the face of the sitcom is the fact that the world continues to evolve. Nowadays we can look at a wholesome show such as The Brady Bunch and shake our heads. This program certainly wouldn't make it in the market of today. Yes, maybe some would say that there is now too much drama in sitcoms and that isn't what we watch them for. We watch them to forget our troubles not to be reminded of them. But there is something that makes the shows that don't avoid today's issues so popular maybe for some we want to see these addressed. Maybe we want to see how our favorite characters that we have come to identify with deal with these same issues we have. But take heart if these become too much to bear there are always DVDs of Abbott and Costello or The Three Stooges to fall back on, these were done for laughs only.