My attention was drawn to a rather curious fact last evening. One of my favourite TV shows is The Big Bang Theory, and it has been for quite a few years as well. I simply find its gentle humour pleasing, and I had always found it very funny as well.
However, last evening a friend told me about the huge number of Big Bang videos on Youtube that have had the laughter track edited out somehow, and he suggested I might find it interesting to watch a few of them. So I did.
But before I show you any of those “laugh free” videos, here is a short one with laugh track to sort of set the scene and point the way.
Now that I enjoyed, and even laughed at some of their comments. But unfortunately, having also seen a number of the “no laugh” videos, I found myself listening much more critically, and my enjoyment was markedly less than normal.
So, now for the Moment Of Truth. Here is a video with that laughter edited out, so it is just the words the cast speak, and no audience reaction to help things along.
So, that was different wasn’t it? By the way, the pauses in the scene are where the laugh track would go, so you can tell that even in this very short excerpt there were one hell of a lot of of “jokes” apparently.
But in fact, there was not one joke, nor even a moderately witty comment in the whole thing. To the point that if this was presented as a straight drama, it would work fine – possibly better.
To demonstrate that the above video was not a bit of the show that happened to not be really funny, here are a quick couple of other short “no Laugh” videos to prove that this is typical of the entire show.
Or this one…..
The odd thing is that when there is a laugh track this show is genuinely funny, but when the laughter is removed it becomes totally unfunny, and actually a very slow moving drama of human relationships – which might actually make a better show than the funny version.. Sort of yet another daytime TV soap drama perhaps?
I do realise that music and things such as laughter tracks can be very important in setting a scene and shaping the emotional content of a scene too, but most sit coms if you remove the laughter tracks are still moderately funny – but sadly this is not the case with the Big Bang Theory… It becomes stilted, slow, ponderous and absolutely unfunny, not even mildly witty.
This video seems to me to explain it all pretty well.
So whilst I can understand the makers of TV sit coms wanting to have the correct audience reaction to any given joke (even after it has been repeated numerous times until the “take” is correct), and thus make use of such laugh tracks, when in fact there are no jokes for the audience to laugh at in the first place… then we end up with what I have shown you here….