In the 90s and early 2000s laugh tracks were the norm of most, if not all, sitcoms: Seinfeld, Friends, Tool Time, MASH, Golden Girls, Cheers etc. Although these shows were different in theme and direction, they all had two things in common–they were extremely popular and they had a laugh track. Now if you look at popular sitcoms that are currently airing, such as: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Modern Family, Community, Cougar Town, Parks and Recreation etc, laugh tracks are no where to be found. Why is that? Has mainstream humour changed? Or on a more broad level, has the sitcom transformed. (ie. The Mockumentary).
There are the exceptions, them being Big Bang Theory and Two Broke Girls but, in my opinion, both of those shows lack substance.
I would be interested in the history of the laugh track as well. I don't think I notice it in watching, and I wonder how much it actually affects the audience's response. – Liz Watkins9 years ago
This is a really interesting and original topic! I would be interested in seeing official research done on this with audience's responses, like Liz suggested. Be careful though - judging of its efficiency may get very subjective. I think it would be best to focus on the history of laugh tracks and official documentation. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun9 years ago