History of the Sitcom

Watch History of the Sitcom

  • TV-14
  • 2021
  • 1 Season
  • 7.2  (424)

The show "History of the Sitcom" is a documentary series produced by CNN that explores the evolution of television sitcoms, from their early days in the 1950s to the present day. The show, which premiered in July 2021, is hosted by actor Jason Alexander, best known for his role as George Costanza in the hit sitcom "Seinfeld."

In each episode, Alexander and other celebrity guests, including Tracy Morgan and Lorraine Ali, explore a different theme or aspect of the sitcom genre, such as the role of the family sitcom in shaping cultural attitudes, the impact of shows like "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" in breaking down racial barriers on TV, or the rise of the workplace comedy in the 1990s.

The show utilizes a mix of archival footage, interviews with writers, producers, and actors, and expert analysis to provide a comprehensive overview of the history of the sitcom. Viewers will learn about the cultural and social context in which different sitcoms were created, as well as the creative and business decisions that went into their production and eventual success or failure.

One of the strengths of the show is its range of perspectives and voices. In addition to Alexander and the celebrity guests, the show features interviews with a diverse range of scholars, journalists, and industry insiders, offering a multi-faceted look at the history of the sitcom.

The show also does an excellent job of highlighting the impact of sitcoms on broader social and political issues. For example, the episode on the family sitcom discusses how shows like "I Love Lucy" and "The Honeymooners" reflected changing gender roles and family dynamics in the post-World War II era. Similarly, the episode on race in sitcoms explores how shows like "The Cosby Show" and "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" challenged stereotypes and helped launch the careers of black actors and writers in Hollywood.

Overall, "History of the Sitcom" is an engaging and informative look at the history of a genre that has become a dominant force in American popular culture. Whether viewers are lifelong sitcom fans or just curious about the evolution of TV comedy, they are sure to learn something new and fascinating from this documentary series.

History of the Sitcom is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (8 episodes). The series first aired on July 11, 2021.

History of the Sitcom
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Escaping Reality
8. Escaping Reality
August 22, 2021
Sitcoms have long been the ultimate comedy comfort food, but what sitcoms offer escape from - and what they offer escape to - reveal a lot about the state of the American mind and the state of sitcom form itself.
Freaks, Geeks & Outsiders
7. Freaks, Geeks & Outsiders
August 15, 2021
Aliens, geeks, monsters, immigrants, witches... the fresh perspective of sitcom fish-out-of-water give us funny new insights into the ever-changing face of America.
Movie' On Up
6. Movie' On Up
August 8, 2021
Upward mobility, the American Dream, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps - sitcom laughs have helped generations of Americans come to grips with their place in a supposed "classless" society.
Facing Race
5. Facing Race
August 1, 2021
In many homes, difficult conversations about race and diversity have first happened on the sitcom screen, helping pave the way for progress with hilarity and laughter.
Working for Laughs
4. Working for Laughs
July 25, 2021
Work families can be even funnier than our biological ones, since the endless array of wacky sitcom characters on the job offers hilarious insights into the state of the American workplace.
Just Friends
3. Just Friends
July 18, 2021
When Americans look beyond family or work for their identity, the "hanging out with friends" sitcom hilariously redefines the genre while also revealing television's challenging quest for inclusivity and authentic representation.
Sex & The Sitcom
2. Sex & The Sitcom
July 11, 2021
Since America has long found it easier to laugh about sex than talk seriously about it, sitcom humor has had a critical role ushering in a new era of openness, not just towards sex, but toward women's rights and gender identity.
A Family Matter
1. A Family Matter
July 11, 2021
Moms, dads, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters - more than just a hilarious reflection of the people we grow up and old with, sitcoms have opened our hearts to more inclusive visions of what "family" can mean.
Where to Watch History of the Sitcom
History of the Sitcom is available for streaming on the CNN website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch History of the Sitcom on demand at Max, Discovery+, Amazon Prime, Amazon, Vudu and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    July 11, 2021
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (424)