Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yet More Evidence that Laugh Tracks are Bad

We've spoken a few times about the problems with laugh tracks. There have been some new developments, so I think it's high-time we revisit this issue. Let's begin by witnessing what would have happened if David Simon had decided that creating the greatest American work of art of the '00s wasn't sufficient and had, instead, opted to try to broaden the appeal of The Wire. (There's some profanity in the following clip.)

More interesting, perhaps, is the effect of Gawker TV's video edit of a great scene from Arrested Development. The edits were similar: they added a laugh track. It's amazing how the addition of a laugh track makes this scene decidedly unfunny. The result is not embeddable, so you should definitely click over and check it out.

Shows without laugh tracks are still in the minority today. So let's take a look at what happens when one of those standard sitcoms has it's laugh-crutch taken away. Without further ado, here's CBS' Big Bang Theory with the laugh track stripped away:

So we've learned that laugh tracks:
  1. Ruin good dramas;
  2. make funny shows unfunny;
  3. and, lastly, mask the unfunniness of unfunny shows.
And I think that makes a pretty appropriate 200th post in The Daily Snowman's history.

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