July 08, 2021
In a new docuseries, the long life and cultural impact of the sitcom is examined from Family Ties to Modern Family
‘It’s an inherent comfort zone’: why the American sitcom has endured
“More than jazz, or musical theater, or morbid obesity, television is the true American art form!” So goes the country wisdom of chipper NBC page Kenneth Ellen Parcell, a young man raised on the Bible and boob tube in equal measure, his religious devotion extended to TV as much as his organized faith. The supporting character from the cult favorite 30 Rock – the series informed by the lineage of small-screen comedy more than any other – would be the ideal viewer for the new CNN docuseries History of the Sitcom, which channels his affection and admiration for the format into a comprehensive survey of its evolution and impact. The eight episodes cover a broad swath of pop culture stretching from postwar prosperity to our scattered streaming present, tracing the national narrative through beloved, 22-minute time capsules.
Related: ‘It has stood the test of time’: was 1971 the greatest year in music?
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