End to the Era of Sitcoms?

Alana John, Staff Writer

Since the boom of television, sitcoms have dominated the industry. During the 50s, Americans sat around bulky black and white televisions, watching shows like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best that transcended generational humor. The 2000s diversified American families beyond the previously typical nuclear home, which in turn caused sitcoms to diversify to relate to ever-changing family dynamics. 

In 2007, The Big Bang Theory began its run, enticing audiences with the universal issue of being socially awkward. It soon swept the nation and received forty-six nominations within twelve Emmy Awards cycles. In 2009, Modern Family was produced, depicting the day to day lives of a big, mixed, modern family. These shows incorporate situational humor and capitalize on the relatability of the characters.

Today’s audiences enjoy watching nostalgic shows, dysfunctional families and workplaces, or the perils of young adulthood. Shows such as Modern Family, The Office, and Grown-ish have capitalized on these popular categories. However, Modern Family will be ending this year after its eleventh season. The show’s popularity hints at the continued relevance of sitcoms in America’s homes and possibly a reboot in the years to come. Nostalgia has previously prompted many laugh track-ridden reboots of shows from the early 90s such as Roseanne (The Conners), Will and Grace, and Full House

Currently, shows don’t have to worry about entertaining the whole family, as audiences have multiple televisions or watch shows from their own portable devices. This allows for companies to develop series that could cater to niches. Netflix is one of the leading forces in the television industry because it can produce hundreds of shows that seemingly satisfy people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.

Yet while some staple family-friendly comedies, such as Modern Family, may be ending, it is certainly not the end of sitcoms. No matter how many sitcoms end, relatability will forever be highly-rated. For example, while The Office concluded with its last season in 2013, its popularity has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. Viewers like Ward Melville Sophomore Aidan Galler agree.  “I love The Office because they don’t have those forced laughs and the comedy is relevant and relatable,” said Galler. The Office is a show that began airing in early 2005 and is still airing (reruns) today on Comedy Central, almost fifteen years later. 

Perhaps these sitcoms that have been on the air for a decade will persist as relics of this growing generation’s childhood, cultivating nostalgia in the near future. Maybe, like The Office, people will continue to watch these sitcoms even after they end.