TV Lexicon: Dramedy
Dramedy, a portmanteau of drama and comedy, is a genre of movies
and television in which the lines between these very different genres were
For a few years beginning about 1969 in the US, there was a brief spate
of half-hour shows that purposely alternated between comedy and drama and
aired without a laugh track.
At the time, these were known as "comedy-dramas." Perhaps the
best known was Room
222. Later, the approach of these early shows influenced
better-known series such as M*A*S*H,
Day at a Time, and Eight
Is Enough. However, the term "dramedy" was not invented
until a few years after all these series had ended their respective runs.
The term first came into vogue in the mid-1980s to describe a new wave of
similarly genre-blurring series such as Moonlighting,
Wonder Years, and Hooperman.
A dramedy may be either an hour-long dramatic series with very strong
comedic elements, such as Moonlighting,
Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Buffy the Vampire
Slayer, Gilmore Girls and Ally McBeal, or a half-hour sitcom
with more subtle humor, shot on a closed set or on location instead of in
front of an audience, and without the usual laugh track, such as M*A*S*H,
Sports Night and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.
However, hour-long comedic dramas have usually proven more successful
in the ratings than half-hour dramatic comedies.