Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
For a few years beginning about 1969 in the US, there was a brief spate of half-hour shows that purposely alternated between comedy and drama and aired without a laugh track. At the time, these were known as "comedy-dramas." Perhaps the best known was Room 222. Later, the approach of these early shows influenced better-known series such as M*A*S*H and One Day at a Time. However, the term "dramedy" was not invented until a few years after all these series had ended their respective runs. The term first came into vogue in the mid-1980s to describe a new wave of similarly genre-blurring series such as Moonlighting, The Wonder Years and Hooperman. It appears in an early Usenet post  in January 1990.
A dramedy may be either an hour-long dramatic series with very strong comedic elements, such as Moonlighting, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Ally McBeal, or a half-hour sitcom with more subtle humour, shot on a closed set or on location instead of in front of an audience, and without the usual laugh track, such as M*A*S*H, Hooperman or The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.
However, hour-long comedic dramas have usually proven more successful in the ratings than half-hour dramatic comedies.
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