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Laugh with, Not at, the Laugh Track

Unpopular Opinions is a bi-weekly column in which a writer takes a stand against popular opinion, whether it's asserting the true merit of a supposedly guilty pleasure or dissenting against the universally lauded.

Cheers is filmed before a live studio audience.” Those are welcoming words to people of a certain age. They make you think about a home cooked meal after soccer practice. Or a sack of McDonald’s you happily shoved down your throat while waiting for your mom and dad to come home from their weekly night out. Or the can of still beer you guzzled by yourself after stealing it from the front yard of a frat house when you were 11 years old.

Most of all, if you’re like me, it makes you think about how this television show about a group of lonely people who hang out together in a bar in downtown Boston made you feel less alone, through its stories and its characters and, most importantly, its funny jokes. Jokes that I think could have only been as funny, as poignant and as well performed as they were, because they were delivered in front of a live studio audience whose laughter was being recorded to be affixed to the broadcast. READ MORE