We all need a laugh. A stress-buster. And could there be anything better than sitcoms for that? Have you ever wondered how a sitcom like Friends is so popular with people?
We all know that the cast and crew have delivered a stellar performance, but it is us- the audience, who still celebrate the show, that keeps it evergreen.
Audience Is Key
Believe it or not, to write for a sitcom and make people laugh is not very easy. Like every scriptwriter, a sitcom writer has to do their homework before developing the plot and the characters.
But, a tremendous advantage of writing a sitcom is that you can change your script as the show progresses. And the audience has mass influence over it without them realizing it.
Quite a few sitcoms are filmed in front of a live audience for indoor scenes.
Types Of Audience
- Primary audience :
The laughter you hear in the background while watching a sitcom is usually an actual live audience. Most sitcom producers allow a selected group of people, usually aged between 18-35, as their audience. The character and the lifestyle in the show reflect the audience or are familiar to them.
Based on their reaction, the writers make changes in the script during the shoot and re-shoot those scenes. The Friends actors have admitted that having a live audience boosts their energy and encourages them to give their best.
- Secondary audience :
Viewers are the secondary audience with no age limit and may not have direct experience of life seen in the show. Their reaction to a particular scene can make a vast difference in the show.
In Friends, when Chandler and Monica get together, the viewers reacted unexpectedly- they clapped and cheered. This gave the writers an idea to bring a twist to their friendship.
They made Chandler and Monica a couple who eventually get married in a later season when initially, it was supposed to be a one-night thing between them!
The idea of a live audience is to create a comfortable environment for viewers around the world. The audience plays a huge part during the production and also the airing of the show.
Based on their reaction, it gives writers the space for improvisation and makes the required changes in the script. But a live audience may not be present while filming cliff-hanger episodes since the makers don’t want to give away any spoilers.
For every ardent fan, being able to reunite each night with the characters they have grown to love is bliss. The best part of Friends is that we can relate to the characters and never get bored watching it.
The love, wit, beauty, and chemistry of the cast and crew are still winning hearts. And this makes the show successful even after 17 years of its final airing!