I have real big problems watching shows like Friends or The Big Bang Theory.

The dialogue and character interactions in these shows always has the same forced un-natural feeling to it where one character will deliver a single line… then everyone will stop and pause for an audience reaction. It doesn’t matter what the dialogue is.

I find myself looking at my watch and wondering how long it will be until the scene reaches its natural conclusion, which should be a joke, but more often than not, there isn’t one lined up, and the only way the writers can think to get a “laugh” is to throw in a complete non-sequitur.

These two aspects of the all-american sit-com aren’t completely constant… but for me, they’re actually painful to watch.

On the other hand, if you take shows like Yes Minister then you still have an audience laugh track, however the actors aren’t ever leaving gaps for it. It’s a subtle difference, but one that makes the world of difference to pacing and flow.