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September 5, 2015

The TV Squad Podcast: Surprising shows, decade-end lists, and the Commenter of the Week!

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 4th 2009 1:25PM
TV Squad logoIt's our first four-way panel this week, as Jason Hughes, Kona Gallagher and Allison Waldman join me to talk about some of the goings on in TV this week:

  • We talk about the shows that have surprised us so far this season, including The Middle and White Collar,
  • It's the end of the '00s as we know it, and we feel fine: we talk about the inevitable end-of-decade lists that will drip out this month (including ours!) and what we expect to see on them,
  • A new feature: Our Commenter of the Week! Knowing our commenters, you can be pretty sure we didn't pick one that said how much they loved us.
  • Our picks for the week -- including the last episode of Monk -- and much more.

Run time is 1:01:38

You can listen to the podcast below, or download from here or by subscribing to our RSS podcast feed. It is also available via iTunes. Feel free to leave us feedback in the comments or drop us a line at tvsquadpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com.

As usual, the music at the beginning and end of the podcast is "Life" by Justin Trawick. Though I had so much fun adding the George Takei ID to the mix, I added another small surprise at the top of this 'cast, a call-back to an interview I did a few years ago. Hope you enjoy it.

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I have a suggestion for a debate for a future podcast

Should we can the canned laughter?

I was bitterly disappointed with the episode of Seinfeld when they were shooting the TV show 'Jerry'. I had always imagined a scene with Frank Costanza (George's Father) sitting in the front row during filming, ripping out the 'Applause' light in disgust, whilst shouting that he doesn't need some stinking sign to be told what's funny and when to laugh!

Whilst watching the Big Bang Theory the other day and was slapped in the face (metaphorically) by the stark contrast of the intelligent jokes and that awful sitcom device of the laugh track. Not only does it slow down the pace of the show down, because of the pauses that are deliberately placed in the dialogue to allow for the canned laughter, they are also place in spots that just aren't funny or as I call it 'the anticipation laugh.
You know the one, the character (the studio notes will call him goofy, wacky or zany) sits around not doing anything, but they put some canned laughter in because of the anticipation he (generally a he) will do something funny.

There is a brilliant episode of Scrubs in season 4 called 'My Life in Four Camera' where most of the episode is shifted to the traditional sitcom environment. The girls clothes are shorter, it's lit brighter in one large soundstage and has an insane amount of sugary cheesy syrup poured over it. The laugh track stands next to you and constantly whacks you over the head. A always got the feeling that is how Scrubs would have turned out if Bill Lawrence had used all of the studio notes that he was given after shooting the pilot.

Hopefully one day 'the studios' (It's always the studios and never the producers pushing for laugh tracks) will get it. If they need to put a laugh track in to a show, then there is something wrong with the show (or more likely their faith in the show) not the audience.

December 04 2009 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I finally understand Allison Waldman's reviews or her point view of the TV shows she writes about! She sounds like old Battle Axe now she maybe younger woman, but she sounds very old
& I guess everybody is entitled to their point of view! As far that guy
complaining about that reality show, he is a moron also! I just happen to despise reality shows,
unless a documentary that has something interesting to say, like the Frontline on PBS. I don't care about fat people losing weight or has bin celebrities dancing & don't care about celebritie's private life. So why would I care about some
nobody with eight kid's private life, but I guess I'm in the minority apparently with that opinion!!!
Anyway great podcast!!!

December 04 2009 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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