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How about a funny 3-camera comedy from HBO?

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  • Chris Beachum
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    May 22nd, 2011
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    #364383

    I have been wondering for a while now, why not a 3-camera studio audience comedy from HBO? They could really pioneer something new with a strong comedy offering adult themes in front of an actual audience. It might be the very thing to bring this longtime format back to where it belongs.

    ETA: Yes, I remember “Lucky Louie” (unfortunately), but I’m talking about a solid, well-produced show.

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    halo
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    Oct 18th, 2015
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    #364385

    It would be widely off-brand for HBO, whose comedies lean towards being half-hour dramas without big broad jokes (e.g. Girls, Togetherness). I think it would also be at odds with HBO presenting themselves a prestige brand, given the look, feel and broad comedy style required by multicamera shows, so it’s probably not a format they want their brand to be associated with. I also imagine there’s limited overlap between HBO subscribing/viewing demographics and people who want to watch multicamera shows, which would make it a really tough for them to sell.

    Developing multicamera comedies is also really tough, with bad multicams being excruciating, and HBO is probably not geared up to do it. They also don’t need multicams – a major reason why the broadcast networks keep trying to develop multicams is because they’re cheap to make and that’s less of a concern on HBO.

    You’d be better to looking towards Netflix, who aren’t trying to sell themselves as a premium brand in the same way that HBO, instead trying to create some programming that appeals to everyone. That being said, I’m not hugely convinced that Fuller House nor The Ranch, starring Ashton Kutcher, will revolutionise the format

    And, of course, there’s more subjective and controversial opinion: I think the reason multicamera shows have diminished is inherent to the format.

    Multicam brings baggage and forced limitations that single-camera shows do not have: limited sets, limited camera angles, different rhythms that require slower dialogue and longer scenes with multiple characters and bigger jokes. It’s no wonder most writers would rather have the flexibility of single-cam when given the option – and that many writers struggle in a form with such limitations on what they can do!

    So why are the Lorre-esque shows so successful?
    Two reasons.

    Lorre’s shows are unpleasant and mean and the audience laugh track provides both the distance and the sound of laughter provides ‘permission’ for viewers to enjoy humiliating the cast, as well as allowing the audience to feel a sense of superiority.

    They are also simplistic, and there’s an audience for that. The dog-slow pacing, the every-line-is-a-punchline writing, constant ‘big’ jokes, every punchline spelled out, and familiar, repetitive and often paper-thin plots. You don’t need to concentrate to follow them, you can half-watch them and not miss anything.

    And the combination of the rise of single-cam and popularity of the Lorre shows has a double-whammy effect, where the art of “traditional” multi-cam writing and production has been lost (compare studio audience laugh tracks on Frasier to TBBT) and much of the audience, especially younger viewers, have started associate the format with trashy low-brow Lorre-esque shows.

    But, hey, that’s my opinion. I really can’t imagine regularly watching a multicam anytime soon, even if there’s plenty of horrible network single-cams which use the format as an excuse to be terrible low-stakes laugh-free dramas. That said, I definitely don’t share the same fondness and nostalgia for the format that some people do, not seeing it fading away as being much different to the quiet death of the multi-camera drama. We’ll see if I’m proven wrong and something comes along to reignite interest in the format!

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    Riley
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    #364386

    Multi-camera sitcoms are not inherently bad, but they are not cinematic and they clash with television’s maturation into art.

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    mikeboy898
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    #364387

    A multi-cam show on HBO would go completely against what has made them successful.

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    Justmimusicmon
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    Oct 1st, 2014
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    #364388

    I have been wondering for a while now, why not a 3-camera studio audience comedy from HBO? They could really pioneer something new with a strong comedy offering adult themes in front of an actual audience. It might be the very thing to bring this longtime format back to where it belongs.

    Boomer makes a great point. 

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    tennisfreak
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    #364389

    Multi Cam is the definition of TV as it was created for TV and as the ad says, “It’s not TV. It’s HBO.”

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    WaltEagle
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    #364390

    Home Box Office. It’s trying to simulate the look of film, so it would go a little against their brand.

    I’ve also never been to a 3-camera taping. As far as I know TV has only been prominently shot with 1 or 4 cameras. 

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    Rooney Moore
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    #364391

    Multi-camera sitcoms are not inherently bad, but they are not cinematic and they clash with television’s maturation into art.

    A multi-cam show on HBO would go completely against what has made them successful.

    This and this.
    I don’t understand the people’s enthusiasm for this multi-camera thing.
    The only reason it has been used from the beginning of TV is because its cheap and easy to sell. It doesn’t need a bright script, extraordinary crew work or amazing acting skills. And it can appeal to all kind of audience in any time easily.
    I don’t have a clue what 2 Broke Girls is about but I’m sure if I watch a random episode of it, I could easily follow the story and can enjoy the show. I feel like they are also more immune to the time than other edgy HBO shows.

    No ambitious writer/producer would say ”I have an incredibly brilliant and original idea on paper and I should make it out of a multi-camera sitcom so that I could restrict myself and my story into one big studio instead of the whole world outside and I also can add fake laugh after every ”joke” instead of trusting my audience.

    And no, Emmy voters do not have a fetish on those shows. They just had to nominate some of those very populars here and there because there isn’t enough good comedies on TV that could fill up a list of 36 acting nominees year after year.
    Like, if the Oscars had a seperate Comedy genre of their own, they would have had to nominate those popcorn/summer movies like 22 Jump Street or Knocked Up one way or another.
     Emmy voters are just as snobby as Oscar voters but the rules are forcing them to acknowledge more of those shows. And the more they do so, the more producers continues to be lazy and making more multi-cam style shows.

    Multi-cams are good for diversity on silver screen but we need more shows like Louie not more Mike&Molly if we want TV to develop further and reach the level of motion pictures.
    You can love Mom to death what charm could have it lost if it were to be shooted like Suburgatory or Black-ish?

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    Boidiva02
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    #364392

    I hate to generalize an entire genre I mean for every “Life On A Stick”, “Homeboys In Outter Space” or “Cavemen” there is just as many “Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “Cheers” or “Will & Grace”.

    When done well multi-cams can be clever, engaging and wildly popular.  They can (and often have) broken new ground.    Without “Maude” there would be no “Mom”, without “Mary Tyler Moore” we never would have gotten “Murphy Brown” or “30 Rock”.   Yes, right now multi-cams have fallen out of favor, but I think eventually they can make a big comeback, even if it is only dictated by a budgetary concern.  

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