"In Sitcom, Saul Austerlitz ingeniously and persuasively uses the genre of situation comedy as an American Rosetta stone, showing it to be capable of decoding itself (thanks to its endless self-references) and of making intelligible an entire social archaeology, from the early Eisenhower period until yesterday. Bottomless in its depth of research but as light in touch as the best of its subjects, Sitcom belongs in any home that has a sofa and a TV set."
-- STUART KLAWANS, FILM CRITIC, THE NATION // MORE PUBLICITY HERE!
"Terrific." -- EMILY NUSSBAUM (@EMILYNUSSBAUM)
A carefully curated tour through TV comedy series, this mixtape of fondly remembered shows surveys the genealogy of the form, the larger trends in its history, the best of what the genre has accomplished, and the most standard of its works. From I Love Lucy, The Phil Silvers Show, and M*A*S*H to Taxi, The Larry Sanders Show, and 30 Rock, this guide presents the sitcom as a capsule version of the 20th-century arts--realism giving way to modernism and then to postmodernism, all between the hours of 8 and 10pm on weeknights. Each chapter springs from an individual representative entity, including The Simpsons' "22 Short Films About Springfield," The Mary Tyler Moore Show's "Chuckles Bites the Dust," Seinfeld's "The Pitch," and Freaks and Geeks' "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers," where Martin Starr's nerdy Bill takes comfort in--what else--the pleasures of laughing at TV.
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