Question of the week: do you prefer multi-camera or single-camera comedies?

On Friday, in response to my review of Whitney, Mark asked “What’s wrong with single-camera comedies?” (or something like it). Okay, let’s set out some definitions. Here’s 30 Rock as a single-camera comedy.

And here’s 30 Rock as a multi-camera comedy.

You’ll notice, for starters, that the multi-camera comedy

  1. Is shot on video, looks cheaper and is over-lit
  2. Has a studio audience guffawing at almost everything
  3. Has performances geared towards a guffawing studio audience and ensuring that the people at the back of the studio can hear what’s being said
  4. Largely is stuck indoors
  5. Not as funny

Okay, you might not be able to tell those last two instantly from those clips, but my points stand. Nevertheless, for much of sitcom history, multi-camera has been the way things have been done, single the rarity, so some might prefer it to single-camera.

So today’s question is:

Do you generally prefer single- or multi-camera comedies?

Author

  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.