Sports Night Forums

ABC (ended 2000)

Laugh track, how much do you hate it

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  • Avatar of philosopher76

    philosopher76

    [1]Nov 27, 2007
    • member since: 04/20/06
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    Being both a West Wing fan and a Studio 60 fan I was really suprised and annoyed with laugh track in Sports Night. How stupid was that decision to include it. It really doesn't fit in the show.
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  • Avatar of jamoon2006

    jamoon2006

    [2]Dec 4, 2007
    • member since: 06/20/05
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    No, it doesn't, but at least ABC realized that and ditched the laugh track about midway through the first season. Other filmed comedies have struggled with that (The Odd Couple had a laugh track in its first season before its stars persuaded the network to film before a studio audience). Obviously, the nature of Sports Night wouldn't have allowed for filming that way, so they tried the laugh track. Personally, I don't mind it, because it's so fleeting and it's gone before you know it. Now, if it had stayed for the entire run, I might feel differently.
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  • Avatar of ctclark1

    ctclark1

    [3]Dec 4, 2007
    • member since: 10/24/06
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    jamoon2006 wrote:
    No, it doesn't, but at least ABC realized that and ditched the laugh track about midway through the first season.
    ABC never actually "ditched" the laugh track. By the time they realized and/or did anything about the fact that it was gone, it was too late. Aaron and crew removed it in such a way that unless you're listening for it its hardly noticeable that its gone, like you said. He did what they wanted for the first couple eps and then slowly phased it out, using less and less of it. By the time Aaron had gotten rid of it, ABC was less worried about the laugh track and more concerned with letting a good show go by the wayside. Just think, if ABC had cared, Sports Night could've been its very own West Wing.
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  • Avatar of DancingOmelette

    DancingOmelette

    [4]Feb 28, 2008
    • member since: 05/12/04
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    I couldn't quite believe it when I heard the first laugh in ep 1 - it was just so out of place. I hoped it was someone in another room laughing at something unconnected, rather than a prompt to say "look, he made a joke there! Laugh now!", but that hope was dashed when the second laugh happened.

    I'm not a fan of the laughs from studio audiences on sitcoms, but at least they don't stand out so much - the canned laughter on this is awful. It really feels like they think you're so stupid that they have to let you know when there was a joke you should be laughing at, in case you can't work it out yourself. I watched The West Wing and Studio 60 before I saw Sports Night, and they're much slicker shows without the laugh track. They should've removed the laughter from the DVD releases.

    I read this interesting quote in an inside.com article: 'When executives insisted on adding a laugh track, Sorkin, in a truculent New Yorker interview, likened the move to dressing in a tuxedo and cuff links "and the last thing I do before I leave the house is spray Cheez Whiz all over myself."'

    Edited on 02/28/2008 5:25pm
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  • Avatar of igotbupkis

    igotbupkis

    [5]Mar 31, 2008
    • member since: 06/26/05
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    > Just think, if ABC had cared, Sports Night could've been its very own West Wing.

    I will blame ABC for lots of stupid things, but not for cancelling SN. The show was great, but I noticed, when I first watched it, what caused it to fail despite the quality of it (I didn't start watching it until around episode 6-8, on a friend's recommendation). It had an unusual rhythm which one had to take the time to get used to (That, BTW, is probably why the laugh track was so out of place -- if you weren't going to laugh on your own, you weren't going to laugh because a recording was -- it made it forced) Most people, when they first started watching it, probably did not give it the four or five eps that it actually took to really appreciate that pacing. That killed the initial "hey, new show" audience that it had.

    SN had a choice spot, right between two top-rated shows, and people were going away and coming back for NYPD Blue. That's not ABC's fault.

    So blame two groups -- those idiots who couldn't see its intelligence and wait to learn the timing, and the ones (i.e., the other class of idiots) who continued to watch "Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place" for four seasons instead of SN, even after it was getting decent buzz.

    I blame ABC for delaying Daybreak until people had already decided which shows to watch, and then killing it after all of six eps. I blame CBS for killing Love Monkey after three eps. I blame Fox for killing Wonderfalls and Drive after three eps. I don't blame ABC for giving SN almost two seasons, or NBC for giving S60 a full season. I do wish they'd given Journeyman more than a half season, but it's a lot more of a chance than the other nets are giving, so I'm not gonna kvetch. If the audience isn't there after a half-season, then the show is not getting enough word of mouth (meaning the fans aren't talking it up enough) or its appeal is too narrow, or both. The ratings on historical "slow" successes like Cheers, etc., were at least showing steady improvement, even if not yet saying "big hit", by the end of the first season.
    Edited on 03/31/2008 4:31am
    Edited 2 total times.
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