The situation comedy genre has been a staple of American television viewing nearly as long as televisions themselves have been in existence. Although
many like to think that television has come a very long way since its first waves of popularity, the truth is that some things really haven't changed. The
longevity of the sitcom as a genre speaks volumes about its adaptability and appeal. While these characteristics are interesting from a historical
perspective, the question we're all asking is: Which one should I watch?
Well, although we here at wiseGEEK can't know your personal preferences, and many of the lesser-known sitcoms are no longer available in reruns, we
decided we'd do some research and develop a strategy for answering this very important question.
wiseGEEK chose 18 sitcoms for our analysis, based on a combination of two factors: Availability in reruns and popularity of series
in its first run. You may notice that some of the shows we looked at are not from a particularly popular series, but what they lack in popularity, they make
up for in rerun availability.
Our data collection process was simple: Each sitcom was analyzed for the number of laughs over the 30-minute time slot, as well as the Laugh Intensity for each occurrence. Laugh Intensity (LI) ratings are based on a 4-point scale; snickers, giggles, or chuckles ranking a 1, and knee-slapping, tear-wiping, wake-up-your-roommate guffaws ranking a 4.