Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time

Article excerpt

The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time. By Martin Gitlin. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2014. 419 p. alkaline $65 (ISBN: 978-0-8108-8724-4). E-book available (978-0-8108-8725-1), $64.99.

This one-volume work is a compilation of the best television sitcoms, spanning from the 1950s until today. In the introduction, Gitlin states that identifying the best television sitcoms was not an easy task and explains the six criteria used to determine the quality of the sitcoms included in this work.

The first criterion taken into account was the impact of the sitcom. As television became more and more popular, sitcoms began exploring more issues that were not necessarily brought to the forefront of popular culture. The next criterion used was the longevity of a show. Gitlin stated that it was important to take into account the ability of cast members, writers, and producers to expand story lines and stay relevant when considering a spot on the list of the greatest sitcoms of all time. The third criterion was television ratings. This criterion usually goes hand in hand with a show's longevity. The fourth criterion was the amount of awards a sitcom had acquired. Although there have been some sitcoms that have been passed over for awards that have still been praised as great sitcoms, most sitcoms use the amount of awards they receive as an indication of the quality of the show. The last two criteria used were humor and legacy. The ability of a sitcom to continue to be respected long past its initial television run speaks volumes to the quality of the sitcom. …

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