Before writing this essay, I watched a old re-run of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, and I read the chapter in the television textbook where a episode of “Leave It to Beaver” was broken down into Act One, Act Two, Act Three and Act Four. It was there that I realized that since 1951, with the premiere of “I Love Lucy”, that most sitcoms follow a very basic, but successful pattern. I will demonstrate how this is accomplished in the sitcom week in and week out. The first act must establish the situation in the show. The second act must show the complication involved in the particular episode. The third act must show the confusion the actors or actresses go through, and the fourth must have the solution for the complication and the confusion.
In the first few minutes of a sitcom, the viewer will be shown something that catches their eyes. In most cases, that will establish the situation for which the episode will be based...