Salon's Kartina Richardson doesn't like this season's live-audience sitcoms (few critics do), but she's hoping for a rejuvenation of the format:
When we watch these shows, we are part of an audience in a way that we aren’t in the more intimate viewing experiences that single-camera shows offer us. The theater-like form of the multi-camera show requires us to embrace artifice in an era where performance and deliberate creation are hidden.
As our society continues to create new ways to communicate while we remain in individual isolation, the multi-camera sitcom might be one of the last places many of us participate in a communal viewing experience (even if it’s a simulated one). Movies are increasingly viewed at home and hardly anyone can afford to go to live theater. As I struggled through “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” I felt a tingle of that camaraderie that arises when we’re part of an audience.
Perhaps there will be a "skipped generation" phenomenon in which the children of Arrested Development fans prefer the 1970s-style comedies of their grandparents' era. Right now I watch mostly single-camera sitcoms, but I miss the high-wire acting in shows like All in the Family. (It's no spoiler that multi-camera shows will make up most of my Top 100 episodes list.) One barrier to a comeback, however, is that even cable networks seem loath to cast actors with lots of theatrical experience as leads in any kind of programming. They just don't look as sexy blowing air kisses as Whitney Cummings does.
NOTE: I initially wrote "grandmother effect" to refer to the phenomenon of people adopting their grandparents' tastes in music, clothing, baby names, etc., either as a form of rebellion against their parents or just an a desire to be different. But when I looked it up, the phrase means something quite different. So is there a phrase that describes what I'm talking about, or did I imagine the whole thing?
UPDATE: The groundswell for a return to decently written multi-camera sitcoms continues with the A.V. Club's Joel Keller, who contributed to a forum on "magic pop-culture wishes":
When a show like Frasier or Everybody Loves Raymond comes along, the comedy seems so natural and effortless that it’s easy to forget the show is being done in front of an audience. Thanks to CBS, TV Land, and—surprisingly—Disney and Nick, the format is far from dead. But with more writers coming up who were “raised” on web shorts, Adult Swim, and single-camera shows like The Office, the legions who were students of the multi-camera form are starting to disappear.