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Research of Verbal Humors in the Modern American Sitcom Frie

Chapter One Introduction

1.1 A General View of the American Sitcom Friends
Comedy has been a part of TV life and played a key role in the development of thecommercial television in the United States since the first bunch of actors with loosepants appeared on American TV Screen in 1935. In the relatively short history of TVprograms, it was not until the year 1947 that the first true and regular situationcomedy Mary Kay and Johnny came onto TV and brought about the passion forsitcom and a large number of sitcom fans among Americans since ever. As the famousAmerican comedy writer Lenny Ripps (website) puts it: “It’s hard to imaginetelevision without the situation comedy, perhaps the most intrinsically American formof comedy today.” Although rooted in fierce competition with other commercial TVprograms,on-line videos and other forms of entertaining programs, as a main TVmedia, situation comedies nowadays have been recognized as one of the mainstreamtelevision entertainment across the world.One of the most successful and classic situation comedies of all time in the UnitedStates is the American modern sitcom Friends which is still wining people’sadmiration now. The program, produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions inassociation with Warner Bros. Television for NBC in the United States, was firstbroadcast on line in America then followed by other broadcast networks in numerouscountries throughout the world. In the United States, its first episode was aired onSeptember 22, 1994 and the last was aired on May 6, 2004. Friends has been one ofthe top TV series since its debut on NBC. It has been nominated for “AmericanComedy Reward” for many times and eventually won the reward in 2000.Friends is a typical and classic American situational comedy surrounding the dailylives of common people with ten seasons of over 200 episodes shot for ten years from1994 to 2004. The main characters are six persons in twenties (eventually in thirties)(three male, three female) who share neighboring apartments in Manhattan: Rachel, a spoiled girl who disappoints her wealthy doctor father by leaving her fiancé on theday of their wedding without notice and decides to move in with her childhood palMonica that she loses touch with for a long time to start her life over free from herfather’s financial support. Finally she earns a living from her first job as waitress inthe coffee house named “Central Perk” to a personal shopper at Bloomingdale’s thento an assistant buyer for Ralph Lauren, a well-paid decent office lady. Monica, whowas a laugh stock during her childhood for her extreme overweight, loves totalneatness and things well organized. She strives for success all the way in cookindustry and finally makes it as a head chef in a fancy restaurant; Phoebe, a vegetarianand environmentalist from the back slums who have gone all the bitterness andhardship in her childhood but still optimistic has little education. She ekes out a livingas a single song-writer and bar-singer and a freelance masseuse, and finally walksdown the isle with her Mr. Right, Mike who is a pianist and loves all her weirdness indaily life. Ross, a paleontologist and a young college professor, is Monica’s elderbrother and divorces three times (the first is with his first lesbian wife with whom theyhave a son Ben, the second is with Emily, a British with whom he fells in love at thefirst sight and the third is with Rachel after a hangover when they spend holiday inLas Vegas and get married for fun because of their drunkness). At last he ends hismarriage tragic and goes together with Rachel who he fell in love with secretly, givesbirth to their daughter named Emma in a one night stand and is doomed to be his otherhalf. Chandler, Ross’s roommate in college, changes his career from data processingto advertising. He begins his courtship and marriage life with Monica after they’reback from Ross’s London Marriage wedding ceremony which radically ruins theirlong time friendship; Joey, a handsome but poor educated Italian descendant,is aplayboy and Chandler’s roommate at first. He is struggling for success in his actingcareer all the time and is still unmarried till the end of the program.From the description of Friends, it is obvious that Friends is a well-receivedsituation comedy both at home and abroad. And it deserves people’s admiration for along time relying on its humorous conversation of high frequency and excellentcreation of the characters by perfect acting of the actors. Therefore, searching corpus for the research from Friends could not be a better choice.

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