|Posted on March 25, 2010 at 2:14 PM|
(Before starting, I feel compelled to preface this post by saying that I am a huge fan of Patrick Warburton. I realize that he basically only plays *one* character, but that character is just an ever evolving version of Puddy from Seinfeld (“Talk to the 8 ball”), and I happen to find that one character continually engaging and HI-larious.)
Having said *that*, Dana and I were watching Rules of Engagement the other night (which stars Warburton) and all I could notice throughout the entire show was the incredibly grating and irritating laugh track. With each use of it, I just got more and more irritated, until it became like the dripping water that you just couldn’t NOT hear. And the laughter is just so repetitive and fake sounding. Instead of being inspired to join in, all I could picture was some weasely guy sitting alone at a mixing board, chewing on a big bag of Red Vines and slurping down a diabetes-sized soda raising different sliders to approximate how funny he thought a joke was. And you know he’s a sweaty, mouth breather. The whole thing was totally the OPPOSITE of funny.
Now I know that laugh tracks have been in use for years –a quick Wikipedia search says that it was first used back in 1950 – so I don’t know why I am suddenly so pissed off by it. Maybe it’s because my new sound system is SO much better, that the phony laughter comes through even clearer and faker. Maybe it’s because Engagement is recorded in Dolby Digital and that allows the isolated center channel laughing to really stand out for the affront that it is. Maybe it’s because the show we watched right before Engagement was How I Met Your Mother which doesn’t use a fake laugh track, or because the show before *that* was Lost, one of the best audio engineered shows on TV. Or maybe it was the final sips of the giant martini which revealed that Engagement without Puddy on the screen is really justa glossed-up turd.
Hollywood, if you don’t think your show is funny enough to garner real laughs on its own, then maybe take that as a clue to pull it off the air.