Friday, October 22, 2010

Boy Meets World: Sitcom Settings

Boy Meets World Cast

TV sitcoms (situation comedies) are filmed in various styles and locations. A few places where sitcoms are filmed include: on set in front of a live studio audience, filmed without an audience with or without a laugh track, and sometimes they are filmed on location. Sitcoms with an audience are usually filmed in a central area(s). The central area is what brings the characters together and they typically include hang-out spots and the living room of the main character's home. The set has three walls and essentially a fourth wall where the the cameras and audience "watch" the actors. The advantages of shooting on a set includes having a stable environment to improve continuity, sound, and lighting. Filming on location means that the show has to have a "dressed" area in the "real" world with props, the crew, and the cast. 

For comedy sitcoms, the setting is usually in a place where the characters can socially interact and stage different comedic conversations and actions. Theses places are usually in bars, burger joints (diners), a school's hallway or classroom, or in the living room or kitchen. The setting has to be big enough and realistic where the characters blend easily. The bars and diners and hallways/ classrooms are usually where friends and/or classmates and coworkers interact and the living room and kitchen are where families interact. There's usually a discussion being held about another character between multiple characters or a comedic lesson being taught. 

One of my favorite sitcoms is Boy Meets World which has multiple settings that generalize the type of situations the characters will be involved in. The following are examples.

Setting #1: Mr. Fenney's classroom is largely used to teach the  main character, Cory, a lesson along with his classmates and friends. The earlier years of the show usually began in the classroom where Cory would interrupt Mr. Feeny's teachings with a childish insult or remark about why he doesn't care about or understand the lesson. 

Setting# 2: The hallway is essentially break time for the characters. Cory and his friends, Shawn and Topanga, usually demonstrate certain issues that are going on at the school or they are discussing matters that are going on in their personal lives. Above is a picture of Cory and Shawn wearing cheerleader uniforms from a dare by the school bully. 

Setting #3: The Matthews's house kitchen is where the Matthews brothers, Cory and Eric are taught lessons by their parents, Amy and Alan, about life and general school issues that the boys are experiencing. The kitchen is also where Cory ands his friends figure out things for themselves or hang out. 

Setting #4: The living room is where the characters typically relax and discuss key moments that have went on in the episode. The Matthews family usually have their friends over. The characters usually have the TV on or they are doing some sort of activity like decorating the Christmas tree, "studying", making out with a lover, talking, etc. 

Setting #5: The Matthews/ Mr. Feeny's backyard is where the characters confide in the neighbor/teacher Mr. Feeny with their personal and school issues. Mr. Feeny is usually rather annoyed and wise. Eric Matthews usually does his infamous "Feeny Call" in the backyard. 

Setting #6: A filming on location episode includes the Disney World episode where Cory and Shawn ditch school to win Topanga's love back for Cory as she is on a school trip.

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