Listening & Discussion
The Sitcom: short form TV and Web comedy for language learning
Thu. 2nd. Period David P. O'Donnell
Culture, Discussion, Film, Intensive Reading, Listening, Vocabulary, Web Activities

This an intermediate proficiency language course in which students will be introduced to a wide variety of situation comedies (sitcoms) from America, the UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere. These programs will be used to learn about language and culture, and to spark creativity in students, who will create a short situation comedy of their own, starting with a basic idea, drafting a pilot episode, and eventually filming and sharing their own original sitcom. This course will compete, in a fun and playful manner, with students of Professor Nakahama, as well as with students from my Curating Youtube Content for Learning course.

Attendance and participation will be very important in this class, because not only will group members in our class be counting on you, but members of 3 other classes will depend on your feedback and assistance.

Attendance: 25%
Class Work: 25%
Homework: 25%
Final Project (Video Production): 25%


1. Introduction to the course 
2. Review particulars about the video making project
3. Discuss the history of sitcoms and watch a golden age sitcom "The Honeymooners"
4. Discuss some elements of the program that are problematic to modern viewers

Make a review and discussion video and post to YouTube.

1. Watch Research the Series and post a video review to YouTube.


1. Discuss Speech Acts
2. Practice Speech Acts
3. Watch Speech Acts in Research the Series.
4. Watch modern Sitcom, The Big Bang Theory
5. Discuss elements of this program

HW: Watch -
1. The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory and write a response in the place provided.


1. Review homework
2. Watch sitcom The Middle - discuss the meaning of the title and aspects of the episode.
3. Listen to "Pretty in Buffalo" and discuss its relationship to "I Love Lucy".

1. Watch Danny the Manny.
2. Post your reaction in the place provided.


1. Review homework.
2. Watch "I Love Lucy" - discuss, review, and react to it in the place provided.
3. Discuss what type of sitcom you would like to make. Explore themes, settings, and plotlines.

1. Watch The Guild Season 1
2. Post your reaction in the place provided.


1. Review homework.
2. Watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Discuss, review, and react in the place provided.
3. Write a two paragraph pitch for your Sitcom


1. Watch student and teacher created video dramas that utilize Speech Acts
2. Discuss the Speech Acts shown, and brainstorm ways to include similar functional English in your sitcoms.
3. Watch How I met your mother - Discuss, review, and react in the place provided.


1. Review homework.
2. Submit the first draft of your sitcom skit script, episode 1.
3. Practice your skit, and draft scripts for episodes 2 and 3. 


1. Review homework.
2. Submit your drafts for episodes 2 and 3.
3. Practice your skits for episodes 1-3.
4. Watch an episode of Trial & Error / Discuss, review, and react in the place provided.

HW - Attempt to cast your sitcom among your friends and classmates. Post an actor advertisement on the forum.


1. Review homework.
2. Rehearse your sitcoms with your actors (if they are in our class, or if they are available)