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April 15th, 2003

The Dark Background

Tonight while watching Boy Meets World, I noticed a sitcom trick that I saw only a few days ago on Family Ties: the dark background.

Clearly inspired by theatre, both shows used a darkened background to emphasize the monologue given by the characters on screen. On the Boy Meets World episode titled They’re Killing Us, Cory and Topanga talked one-sidedly to a group of their family and friends about their upcoming wedding and how much of a pain in the ass they were all being (remember that one? It’s the one that ended with a wedding invitation for all viewers, telling them to RSVP at, a dead domain that’s still owned by ABC). There were a lot of flashbacks in this episode, though, so the actual dark background footage was limited.

On the two-part Emmy-winning episode of Family Ties titled A, My Name is Alex, the darkened background was used much more extensively. In this episode, one of Alex’s close friends dies and Alex begins to wonder what it’s all about. He goes to visit a psychologist (a graduate of Grant College, no less) and though we never see the psychologist, Alex wanders around his office with a darkened background, discussing memories of his childhood. As he remembers each bit, a different mini-set is lit and he “joins in the action.” It’s a pretty heavy-handed episode, but still has its light moments. It may have been a little artsy for some, but I always dug it.

Were there any other sitcoms that used this theatrical technique to emphasize a monologue? I can’t think of any, but there must have been others.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

Britney October 6, 2006, 3:28 pm

Thanks for the late notice i really wanted to see your wedding when is the redew or something cause i am your biggest fan!!! 🙂
I love you Topanga and Cory I wish you the best (*word*)

The Fiz March 20, 2007, 12:31 am

Do you guys actually think anyone is reading this shit??? Probably not….
I wasnt going to comment on this site until i saw people actually “talking” to cory and topanga… Boy meets world is said and done…. Everyone has to hop on the band wagon with me and get over it…


cristina August 21, 2007, 3:37 pm

cory and tapanga thank you for the invitation i will be there i love your show please dont stop makin it thank you

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