Media Coursework Essay


What puts the comedy into situation comedy?





  • General explanation of what situation comedy is
  • Explain that there are certain conventions you would expect to see in all situation comedies. Give examples.

Types of character, both major and minor


Physical humour

Verbal humour

On going jokes

Comic timing


  • Say that this discussion will consider ‘Only Fools and Horses’ , ‘< xml="true" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" prefix="st1" namespace="">FawltyTowers’, any others.
  • Give reasons why these two series are good examples of successful situation comedies.



Body of essay:

Possible linking sentence:

One of the most important factors in determining whether a situation comedy succeeds or fails is the choice of characters involved. The characters in the comedy are the main vehicles to deliver the comedy and……………………..


Develop the examples you have given in the introduction making sure you make your point, explain it fully and relate it to the two series using examples from the episodes you have seen.


  • Types of character – explain how successful comedies include certain types of character. Use examples from the two comedies you are discussing. Refer to the episodes you have watched and try to explain WHY these types of character work well.
  • Settings – look at the settings of the two comedies. What opportunities for humour do these settings create? Try to explain WHY and HOW these settings are important to the success of the series.
  • Physical humour – give some examples of physical humour which works in the episodes you have watched. Try to explain WHY and HOW the physical humour is important.
  • Verbal humour – give some examples of verbal humour which works in the episodes you have watched. Try to explain HOW and WHY the verbal humour is important.
  • Ongoing jokes – are there any jokes which run through the episode or even the series? HOW and WHY are these jokes important in building the success of the series?
  • Comic timing – the actors who play the parts are very important to the success or failure of the comedy. The way the actors deliver the jokes determines how successful they are. Give some examples from the episodes you have watched and use these to explain HOW and WHY they show good comic timing.


An example introduction to the essay.



Situation comedy is a popular British institution with a huge variety of series presented on television through the years. Some have sunk without trace whilst others have become classics, loved by the viewers and repeated again and again. Although most situation comedies have their own individual styles and content, it is interesting to note that all successful series include certain conventions which are essential to achieve success. In order to consider what puts the comedy into situation comedy, it is necessary to discuss a number of the ingredients such as the types of character included, the settings, the use of physical and verbal humour, ongoing jokes and comic timing. For the purposes of this analysis, two situation comedies will be discussed – ‘Only Fools and Horses ‘ and ‘FawltyTowers’. Both of these comedies have been recognised as classic examples of their genre and are ideal to provide examples for assessment of the question ‘what puts the comedy into situation comedy?







Follow the guidance on the left of this page to produce a well structured GCSE coursework essay.

Remember that the example introduction is for guidance only and should not be copied.


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