Cookie-cutter TV show set?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Thomas, Jan 2, 2003.

  1. John Thomas

    John Thomas Cinematographer

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    I just had to get this one out for circulation.

    Has anyone noticed how there seems to be a model to sit-com/drama house set-ups? The entrance is on the right, the living room is in the middle and the kitchen is to the left.
    Examples: The Jeffersons, Married With Children, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, All In The Family, Mama's Family. I was wondering if there was a reason for this? Ease of accessing different sets I suppose, but I did think it rather odd.

    [Kitchen]---[Living Room]---[Entrance to house/apartment]
     
  2. ollie_k

    ollie_k Stunt Coordinator

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    Friends is the opposite, the girls aptment goes the other way

    oh and the same with drew carey show
     
  3. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I've noticed this... I've even noticed some sets look like they reused a set from another show even. I swear I've seen one of Seinfeld's old apartment sets on Friends or something.

    But you're right.. a good majority of them have the entrance to the right, kitchen to the left, stairs in the back. There are a few exceptions that seem to be backwards (ie: Drew Carey, Roseanne).

    Is there some sort of psychology behind this?
     
  4. ollie_k

    ollie_k Stunt Coordinator

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    wow dave, we posted the same thing at the same time almost!
     
  5. Mark C Sherman

    Mark C Sherman Second Unit

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    Or what about the happy Days house The way that the House was set up was Totally Different from the way it looked from the outside. The "FRONT" and "BACK" door were all wrong
     
  6. John Thomas

    John Thomas Cinematographer

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    I'd thought of a fwe that were reverse to this but for the most part it seems to be a standard setup. I just thought it "one of those unusual things" that hadn't been discussed yet and thought there was someone here "in the know" that could tell us alllll about it.
     
  7. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    LOL! Guys, it seems the front door entrance is going to be on the left or right side of the screen. Wasn't it on the right side on I Love Lucy?
     
  8. ollie_k

    ollie_k Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, if you were a set designer, where else would you put the front door for easy access/filming etc? I dont think they have much choice. Ever notice almost all sitcoms center stage is the living room and we never see the tv? or just the back of the tv? Cosby Show, Seinfeld, Married with Children etc do this.
    I guess it beats watching/filming a show from the top down
     
  9. Mark Kalzer

    Mark Kalzer Second Unit

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    I think the reason we never see the front of the TV is because it's just so complicated to rig the TV with appropriate video, get it synced, and avoid the weird flickering effect so common with an NTSC video screen on an NTSC video. I seem to remember hearing about it on a Simpsons commentary where they were bragging about how easy the effect is for them!
     
  10. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    Home Improvement had a totally different set design. In fact, if I recall correctly, you can even see the front of their TV.
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    a lot of it has to do with the practically and logistics of taping a show.

    most shows have what is commonly called the "master set". this would be the bar in 'cheers', the living room in 'happy days', etc. that's where most of the show happens.

    the walls are typically designed to move or swing out. a good example is the cheers set. when sam walks into his "office" he actually only has about two feet of space once he clears the door.

    then they have to swing out the walls and redress the set. since most comedy shows rely on continuity, they're always taped chronologically - mostly so that everyone gets the jokes as they develop.

    so, you can imagine with all the set dressing going on, they're not going to make anything too fancy.
     

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