Living the age through sitcoms

Vanshika Nevatia (21), a law student studying in Mumbai, says she is a fan of the sitcom "How I met your Mother" and discussed it with all her friends after watching the episodes.

Four back-to-back seasons of the show stirred Nevatia to share a day with them playing "laser tag" (game), just as the characters did. "We had so much fun there! Pretending to be like Barney and Robin (characters) and all."

Nevatia is part of a successive generation of young adults who identify with English sitcoms (or situational - comedies for their constant characters, comic situations and repartees) which are a staple of their television or Internet viewing.

"It's kind of growing up with them (the characters)," says Tanya Bhatnagar (23) who has been following her favourite sitcom "Friends" since nearly a decade.

Terming the situations portrayed as "our issues" she says, "Had I been in their place, I would have done the same thing."

A majority of English sitcoms currently airing on Indian television have friendship as an integral part of the storylines.
Contrarily, their Hindi counterparts run on family or community-living storylines.

"You have special people in your life to share your life's ups and downs with... You don't run around to your parents...That is good!," says Bhatnagar, who lives with her parents in Delhi.
"The characters are living alone, they are not living with their parents and they are pursuing a career...very diligently," says Udhav Sureka (23),who hails from Kanpur and is pursuing a career in Delhi.

"I pick up so many things about work ethics, about work situations from the show."

The sitcoms have take-aways on love relationships too.
Kim Remmawi (24) began watching 'Sex and the City' in college and is "pretty clear about what is television and what is real life. "

"It's all about the right timing," she says on the one thing she has learnt from the show.

Like her preferred character, she says, "When it comes to my other guy relationships, I'm like 'it's alright', 'whatever,' 'let it be.'"  

Fans say they sometimes adopt the mannerisms of their favourite characters too.

"If I want to say something, I would think 'How would JD(character) say it?'" says Sureka, a fan of 'Scrubs'.
Meanwhile Nevatia says,"I have seen so many people trying to ape the characters. They start using words like 'awesome' and 'legendary'(used by characters)...in their conversations, in their messages, in their e-mails. "

Carving a niche, sitcoms have reached viewers who are experiencing a rapidly changing lifestyle.

"We depend on our imagination- as in how would it be if we were living that life and it's something which most of us want to achieve," says Sureka.

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