Project
The Sitcom: watching, understanding, discussing, and making our own
- A multi-skill project course about language, culture, and comedy
Fri. 2nd. Period David P. O'Donnell
Keywords:
Culture, Discussion, Film, Listening, Presentation, Project, Research, Speaking, Vocabulary, Web Activities, Writing

In this class, students will watch, analyze, and critique a wide variety of English language TV comedies drawn from 7 decades of American and British television. Programs will be watched in class and at home. Students will create their own webpages where they track their progress through the course, and will work in a group to create their own sitcom.


This class is intended to improve student motivation, cultural awareness, and vocabulary as well as to give practice in basic media design. It is a project course. The project will be to create a journal of commentary and critique of all the programs that we watch, and to create, in groups, our own sitcoms. Multiple aspects of English will be explored (reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, slang, pragmatics) and basic web page development and design.


Attendance: 25%
Class Participation: 25%
Web Work: 25%
Sitcom: 25%
Extra Credit: 25%


1

  1. Attendance
  2. Course introduction
  3. Sign up to make web page and begin constructing our individual websites
  4. Watch 1st sitcom & discuss themes
  5.  Discuss making our own sitcom / experiment with cameras.

Homework

  1. Watch 1-2 more episodes of today's sitcom
  2. Work on your web page and write about the sitcoms you watched.

2

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Discuss more possibilities for making our own sitcom (What kind of characters could we use? What kind of themes could we explore? What kind of jokes would work best for the members of our group - slapstick, wordplay, incongruity, comedy of errors/farce, etc.)

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) episodes of Couple-ish, an LGBTQ comedy on Youtube (watched with closed captions! They have some funny descriptions). 

3

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Write 3 sitcom pitches and share them with another group.

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) episodes of Carmilla, an LGBTQ vampire-monster comedy on Youtube (with two of the same actresses as Couple-ish). 

4

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Write 3 more sitcom pitches and share them with another group.

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) episodes of the Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl.

5

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Choose your top plot and begin to write character sketches.

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) episodes of Brooklyn Sound

6

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Expand your character sketches and begin casting from your group or from other members of the class.

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 episodes of Little Banks on Wall Street (rather adult content here exploring greed, toxic masculinity, power harrassment)

7

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Make a storyboard the first episode of your sitcom and begin writing the script.

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) episodes of Flat 3 (dealing with racial stereotypes, immigrant struggles - more adult themes).

8

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Make a storyboard for the second episode of your sitcom. Does it connect to the first episode, or is it an independent story within the same sitcom world? Begin writing the script for the 2nd episode. Does it have the same tone and pacing as the first episode (it doesn't necessarily have to, it is just something to consider, and to construct deliberately)? Where in the scripts do you think the audience will laugh? Does it edge into the world of drama or tragedy (such as sitcoms like M*A*S*H?), or is it intended as a straight-up chucklefest? 

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) TBA

9

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Make a storyboard for the third episode of your sitcom. Begin scripting and even rehearsing.

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) TBA

10

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Begin filmming your sitcom in earnest. What shots do you need? How can you get the best sound and lighting in the very noisy and chaotic campus?

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) TBA

11

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Filming and editing.

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) TBA

 

12

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Filming. Merge groups and watch rough cuts of your sitcoms.

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) TBA

13

  1. Attendance
  2. Discuss homework viewing assignment
  3. Previewing theme discussion for this week's sitcom
  4. Watch it
  5. Post-viewing discussion
  6. Watch some finished sitcoms.

    Homework
    1. Watch 1 or 2 more episodes of this weeks sitcom.
    2. Watch 1 or 2 (very short!) TBA

14

15