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Television and Screen Writing, 4th Edition by Richard A Blum

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12

How to Write Professional Scenes in Sitcoms

Sitcom Characters and Dialogue

In sitcom, the comedy has to focus on the lead characters in the series. Comic dialogue must match the characters we’ve come to know and love. The “A” story must set up a driving force for the main characters, with some susceptibility, to face a crisis. Comedy lies in an effective setup and payoff of the action and dialogue for the characters. The “B” story might deal with other secondary leads in the series. Producers are particularly finicky about the familiarity of characters to set up the comedy to work properly.

Sample from “Frasier”

Let’s look at a “Frasier” script, entitled “Hot Pursuit.” This is a first draft written by Charlie Hauck. Each of the lead characters—Frasier, ...

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