A sitcom – or situation comedy – is a comedy show that is always based around a particular situation. The first sitcoms began in the early to mid 20th century, though the form has remained popular to this day. Very often, a sitcom will reflect the changing social times, and the situation around which the show is based will vary. For example, Father Knows Best, an early American sitcom, showed a very traditional family setting with two parents and children. In more recent years, sitcoms such as My Two Dads reflect the changing status of the family in American society. Because sitcoms changed with the times, they rarely last more than 5 to 10 years.
A soap opera is an ongoing drama serial usually focusing on real-life issues. Some soap operas show the lives of ordinary workers and people. These appeal to the audience because the characters lives are very familiar to them. Others focus instead on wealth people, and these appeal to the audience as fantasy. Some successful soap operas can continue for decades.