Comedy drama

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Comedy drama, also known by the portmanteau dramedy,[1][2][3][4] is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and drama. In television, modern scripted comedy dramas tend to have more humour integrated into the story than the comic relief common in drama series but usually contain a lower joke rate than sitcoms.


In the very influential Greek theatre, plays were considered comedies or tragedies. This concept even influenced Roman theatre and theatre of the Hellenistic period. Theatre of that era is thought to have long-lasting influence, even in modern narrative works.[5] Even today, works are often classified into two broad buckets, dramas and comedies. For instance, many awards that recognize achievements in film and television today, such as the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards segregate several award categories into these two classifications.

The 20th century saw a rise in film and television works that could be described as comedy-dramas. The term was coined by the French. The portmanteau "dramedy" came to be in the 1980s.[4][6]


In January 2022, Rafael Abreu, writing for the StudioBinder Blog defined this genre as follows:[7]

A dramedy is a movie or program that balances the elements of a drama and a comedy. Also known as a comedy drama, this hybrid genre often deals with real life situations, grounded characters, and believable situations. The ratio between the drama and comedy can vary, but most of the time there is an equal measure of both, with neither side dominating.

Abreu also adds that dramedies often deal with relatable and serious topics such as divorce, illness, hardship, and heartache.

Notable examples[edit]

United States television[edit]

Examples of American television comedy dramas include: M*A*S*H, The Love Boat, Moonlighting, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd,[8] Northern Exposure, Ally McBeal, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives,[9] and Scrubs. The term "dramedy" was coined to describe the late 1980s wave of shows, including The Wonder Years, Hooperman,[6] Doogie Howser, M.D., and Frank's Place.[10]


  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)[7]- This movie follows the lives of a dysfunctional family of geniuses. It's known for its distinctive style, humor, and emotional depth.
  • Stranger than Fiction (2006)[7]- A unique story about an IRS auditor who discovers he's the protagonist in a novel, blending existential themes with humor and romance.
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006)[11]- A heartwarming tale about a dysfunctional family's road trip to a children's beauty pageant. The film is celebrated for its humor, character development, and touching moments.
  • Juno (2007)[11]- This film tells the story of a teenage girl dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. It's praised for its witty dialogue, memorable characters, and a mix of light-hearted and serious themes.
  • Silver Linings Playbook (2012) - Starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, this movie explores themes of mental illness, family dynamics, and romance, all while maintaining a comedic tone.
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) - Directed by Wes Anderson, this film is known for its unique visual style, quirky characters, and a captivating story that blends comedy with elements of drama and adventure.
  • The Martian (2015)[4][12]- Combining elements of science fiction with humor and human resilience, this film tells the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars.
  • The Big Sick (2017)[7]- A real-life love story with cultural clashes and a medically induced coma, delivering laughs and poignant moments.
  • The Farewell (2019)[7]- Based on an actual lie, this film explores family, culture, and the complexities of saying goodbye, balancing light-hearted moments with emotional depth.
  • Sideways (2004) - Focusing on two friends on a road trip through California's wine country, this film blends humor with moments of introspection, making it a standout comedy-drama.
  • Forrest Gump (1994) - Though often categorized in various genres, "Forrest Gump" has elements of comedy-drama with its blend of historical fiction, romance, and the titular character's unwitting comedic moments.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dramedy". Cambridge Dictionary. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Dramedy". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on September 26, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  3. ^ "Girls Gone Mild – Ian O'Doherty reviews Girls, Celebrity Big Brother, and Charlie". independent. 17 January 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "Rethinking the Dramedy: What Is It, Anyway?". Paste Magazine. July 1, 2021. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  5. ^ Cartwright, Mark (2016-07-14). "Ancient Greek Theatre". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  6. ^ a b Kelley, Bill (September 23, 1987). "The Best And The Brightest Abc's Hooperman – The Hands-down Winner Of The Best New Show Of The Year – Introduces A New Format, dramedy, While Slap Maxwell Reintroduces Dabney Coleman". Sun Sentinel. Archived from the original on September 24, 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e Abreu, Rafael (2022-01-09). "Dramedy Explained — A Study of the Comedy Drama Genre". StudioBinder. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  8. ^ Brinkmoeller, Tom (September 3, 2010). "Classic "Molly Dodd" Series Remains Locked Up, Awaiting 'Bail'". TV Worth Watching. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  9. ^ Weiner, Allison Hope (December 20, 2004). "Is 'Desperate Housewives' a comedy?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  10. ^ Hill, Michael (August 6, 1989). "Bochco gives dramedy another go with 'Doogie Howser, M.D.'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Dramedy Defined: Understanding the Comedy-Drama Genre". Daisie Blog. 2023-06-21. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  12. ^ Funk, Allie (2015-12-10). "'The Martian' Is A Comedy, Says The Golden Globes". Bustle. Retrieved 2024-01-21.