I Love Lucy


I Love Lucy Essay, Research Paper

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 on.

For example, in ?Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? we see that the shows main

character, Will, gets slapped in the face by a beautiful woman, who at first

hugged him. The show then cuts to a commercial having established the situation

and knowing that the audience is putting down the remote control and waiting to

find out why Will got slapped. In the television textbook, Wally and the Beav

agree to take care of a neighbor valuable cat against the advice of their

father, Ward, who thinks about what will happen while the cat is under their

care. That sets up the situation where the audience knows something is going to

happen to the cat but doesn?t know what. So the audience will remain glued to

that episode of ?Leave It to Beaver? until they find out what going to

happen. After the commercial break, the audience will see the complication in

that episode. In the ?Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?, Will finds out that Jackie

(the female character) slapped him because he never called her after he left

Philadelphia. Adding to that conflict, Will and Carlton are evicted from their

apartment because of a party that was thrown by Will?s friend Jazz. In the

television textbook, a friend talks Wally into going to the carnival and leaving

the cat with the Beav. On his way out, Wally leaves the yard gate open and the

cat disappears. After the Beav and Wally?s search ends up fruitless, the boys

try to figure out a plan to disguise the real reason the cat is gone for their

parents sense something is not right. After yet another commercial break, act

four will begin. As I stated earlier, act three is confusion. In ?Fresh Prince

of Bel-Air?, Jackie is confused and upset when she finds out that Will had

kept up with all his old friends from Philadelphia except for her. Carlton also

adds to Will?s problems when he decides to move back home and not to another

apartment. Will does not want to move back and is in a bind because he can not

afford a apartment by himself. In the television textbook the example that is

given for confusion is that Ward and June (the parents) realize that the cat is

missing and they confront the boys about it. Having no other options, the boys

confess. Then the Beav hears a cat?s meow, and he rushes to the sound, where

he finds the cat in the back yard. The fourth and final act in most cases solves

the dilemma that was addressed in that episode. In ?Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?,

for example, Jackie and Will talk out their problems and become friends again

and even become co-workers. Carlton and Will decide to compromise and move back

into Carlton parent?s pool house. In the television textbook, the neighbor

comes back to get his cat and is happy to see it is all right. The neighbor

gives them a dollar for their efforts. After the neighbor leaves, Ward confronts

the kids and makes them feel guilty about taking the money. Overcome with guilt,

the boys give the dollar to their father. In this essay, I have demonstrated how

almost all sitcom are cut from the same cloth, even though one was made in the

1950?s (Leave It to Beaver) and the other in the 1990?s (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).

By that I do not mean that all sitcoms are the same when it comes to social,

economic and political issues. But almost all of them including the ?Fresh

Prince of Bel-Air? follow the four-act formula.

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