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British situation comedy

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British situation comedy, referred to as Britcom outside of the United Kingdom, is situation comedy produced in the UK, where it is simply known as situation comedy or sitcom. Although the origins of situation comedy are indisputably American, the genre as it developed in Britain has elements which are unique and Britcom can stand alone as a comedic genre.

All situation comedy involves the presentation of diverse characters interacting in the same general setting, or situation, over a period of time. Britcoms differ from US sitcoms in programming format (that is, fitting the requirements of content and advertising time slots) and perhaps in tone, with the majority of Britcoms having a darker feel than American ones. This is not to say that American situation comedy never deals with serious subjects, it can do, but this is often episodic, as opposed to the whole tone of the series dealing with pathos. Satire features higher in Britcom than in American sitcom, as does exploring the everyday life of the disadvantaged, and as a result British situation comedy has had a bleaker, more realistic feel that its American counterpart, which still maintains an optimistic, upbeat quality, even when dealing with serious subject matter. Still, there are certainly very light-hearted Britcoms, as in the very broad and often slapstick humour of Are You Being Served?, or the social-climbing antics of Keeping Up Appearances.