"What Chuck Lorre wants us to find funny is not the jokes which the characters are making, it’s the characters themselves. At one point Howard mentions playing Dungeons and Dragons. There is no joke attached to this, it’s not the punchline to any set up, however it is treated as one. Howard says the words “Dungeons and Dragons” and the audience laughs. They’re not laughing at a joke, they’re laughing at the fact that Howard plays D&D. And this kind of thing happens all the time throughout the show. How many times has a joke been made out of Leonard owning action figures or Sheldon collecting comics? When, in season one, Penny invites the guys to her Halloween party and they are excited about making costumes, we’re supposed to laugh at them, to think they are silly for dressing as a Hobbit or Thor when everyone else is trying to look sexy."
I was on the show once, and it turns out, it is neither a laugh track, nor an audience's actual reaction. It is a "fake" audience of paid extras and show's crew pretending to laugh between every line.
If the fake audience doesn't fake-laugh hard enough, they get lectured, and we have to re-shoot the scene, so they hear the same scene over again but have to pretend to laugh even harder.
Visitors to the British Comedy Guide website voted Lab Rats as the "Worst New British TV Sitcom" of 2008 in its annual awards, with the website saying that: "The idea behind the show may have been good (to bring back silly studio-based sitcom to the BBC), but the execution was anything but good. An awful, awful comedy."
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