Follow TV Tropes


The Couch

Go To
Often not a Cool Chair.

What's a Dom Com without a couch? It's usually center-stage and positioned so that anyone sitting there is facing directly into the audience; presumably it's right in front of the Fourth Wall. Sometimes a TV is set between it and the audience. The couch is typically set in the center of the room, rather than pushed against a wall, so that standing characters can converse with sitting characters while both are still facing the audience.

And everybody sits on The Couch at some point during each show. Even the dog. They probably sit in the same place every time, too.

If you can remember the show, you can almost certainly picture the living room (or coffee bar) and the requisite couch.

The couch is, of course, prepackaged in Standardized Sitcom Housing (however, you do have to buy your own TV), and can often be found in a Social Semi-Circle. (That said, don't put two gamers on it).

See also Local Hangout and Prop.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Strips 
  • Arlo and Janis has one that, unusually for this trope, sometimes faces away from the fourth wall. Characters sitting on the couch have their heads visible (and are usually shown in profile, as is common for these characters anyway).

    Live-Action TV 
  • According to Jim: There is a couch in the living room the other cast members use, but Jim normally sits in his chair to the left of it.
  • All in the Family (no, not the two chairs in the center. Over to the right some, by the door, under the window — yeah, there).
  • Are You Being Served? had its own version of The Couch: the long cafeteria table at which every character sat on the same side, so the set could be built with only one wall.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon's extreme territoriality regarding his "spot" can be seen as a parody of strict sitcom seating arrangements. In one episode his spot is splattered with paint and, being the high-strung, type-A nerd that he is, he has to deal with either finding a new place to sit or simply turning the cushion over, which he refuses to do, because it doesn't have his butt imprint on it. Before the couch was there, it was simply a lawn chair Sheldon used as his "spot."
  • Of course, there is The Big Comfy Couch.
  • The Cosby Show
  • Coupling has the couch and chairs at their oft-frequented bar. Occasionally, they'll sit in another spot, but if you need to gather all six of the cast around, it'll be on the couch.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: Don't trip on the ottoman!
  • Everybody Loves Raymond, in which The Couch is central in both households and, in the case of Raymond and Debra, gets totalled by a runaway car. Somehow, the damage to the couch is more shocking than the fact Frank and Marie have just driven a car through the wall.
  • Family Ties
  • Frasier played it straight with an actual couch, but Martin Crane's nearby banged-up old recliner was arguably more well-known, well-liked and certainly more frequently used in the series, to the point of becoming the center of a border-line Running Gag.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • In Friends the classic audience-facing couch setup is actually in the coffee house, while the couch in Monica's apartment is perpendicular to the audience facing the TV on the right wall, and the guys' apartment sports two recliners, faced perpendicularly to the TV on the left.note  The reason for this may have been that unlike virtually all other sitcoms, Friends usually lets us see the characters' television screens while they're watching them, presumably because what they're watching often involves Joey.
  • In The George Lopez Show, George's kitchen table is like this.
  • The Golden Girls had two of these: The actual couch, and the kitchen table. It's about a fifty-fifty toss-up which one was featured more prominently.
  • Good Luck Charlie had two: The Duncans' living room couch was in the center of the set and directly faced the audience, although in many episodes a TV set can be seen facing the characters. A similar couch and TV setup is seen in the basement although it doesn't directly face the audience.
  • Growing Pains
  • Happy Days
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Not only is there a couch in the main apartment, the cast never has a problem getting the exact same booth in a crowded, lively bar. One episode shows that this was because one of the bartenders would shoo away anyone sitting in their regular booth. The writers wanted to avert the latter and have them more realistically sit in different places at different times, but they were told this would be too expensive.
    • Barney's couch faces the Fourth Wall, which in his apartment is a TV. Then cut to his bedroom... Where it's revealed he has a second TV like this.
  • iCarly
  • The Jeffersons
  • Kevin Can F**k Himself features the standard sitcom couch, featured especially during the sitcom sequences.
  • Married... with Children. One episode even revolved one of Kelly's dates inadvertently burning down the couch with his cigar while he and Kelly make out, making Kelly and Bud travel to find a replacement.
  • On M*A*S*H, the cots in the Swamp frequently served much the same purpose.
  • Men Behaving Badly: The sofa became practically another character in the show, and the last non-special episode, "Sofa," was even about its replacement.
  • The Odd Couple (1970) always had a living room couch, but in the first season, which was shot single-camera, it's not terribly prominent. When the show went to three-camera the set was redesigned and the couch, placed squarely facing the fourth wall, finally came into its own.
  • One Day at a Time
  • Our Miss Brooks: Mrs. Davis' living room has a couch, in the living room under a window and to the left of the fireplace. It's always facing the fourth wall, as the show was shot using the three camera configuration. It's not too prominent, as Mrs. Davis (and therefore Miss Brooks) doesn't have a television set. Much of the talking and action usually takes place in front of it. However, there are exceptions, notably "Old Age Plan".
  • Red Dwarf, being set in space, had no actual couch. This was actually cited as a reason why it wouldn't be funny in one of the rejections the writers received when they were trying to pitch the show. Their answer to that was to use the man's name as an insult in a second-season episode. It's "You're a total Gwenlan, Kryten." Various locations served as a sort of couch substitute - initially, Lister and Rimmer's bunkroom fills the role, later Starbug's mid-section - but usually, the characters meet up where the plot requires them to be.
  • Roseanne — And, damn, that couch (and the ever-present blanket flopped over the top of it) was uglyyyy!
  • The Royle Family: Although neither the sofa or Jim's chair are the standard "facing the fourth wall" set piece. Instead, the camera freely shifts around the room and we do even get to see the fourth wall a lot.
  • Rules of Engagement has one in each of the two couple's apartment. There is a room in the back of one apartment that has two chairs facing a TV against a wall, periodically used.
  • Scrubs: The one in JD and Turk's (later Turk and Carla's) apartment.
  • Seinfeld
  • Still Standing had the couch. In fact, most scenes took place in the living room in the vicinity on and around said couch.
  • That '70s Show: Eric's basement and living room both had a couch front and center. Both sets, however, erected a fourth wall whenever characters were depicted in "The Circle", where the camera rotated 360 degrees from the center of the room.
  • Three's Company.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun - the Solomons' loft apartment as well as any other character's home (Mary, Don, Nina, etc.). Subverted in that the Solomons don't own an actual couch. They make do with two or three ratty chairs and an ottoman. In the episode when Harry gets amnesia, the first thing he says when he sees the living room is, "No sofa, that's weird."
  • 'Til Death: Played straight with a couch, though the easy chair to the left of it was used just as often. The other is a literal one in front of the kitchen, of the TV variety. Rarely are people seen in the kitchen when this second couch was used.
  • Too Many Cooks: Being a spoof of Dom Com shows (among other things), of course The Couch is featured prominently in many scenes.
  • Two and a Half Men has 2. The first is the kitchen table, where normally only 3 of the 4 seats are ever used.
    • Subverted in one episode. The kitchen table hosted Alan, Lauren and their children around the table. While the least important character has his back to the fourth wall, a camera cuts around to show him face on, and the fourth wall is indeed visible behind him.
  • Naturally Wanda and Vision have this in Wandavision, with the style of couch updating with each "decade" Westview goes through.
  • In one episode of Yes, Dear, Greg moves the couch so that it faces away from the Fourth Wall, arguing that the previous arrangement made no sense. His wife complains that it doesn't feel right somehow.

  • All of Mary Mary takes place on one domestic set in which the "customary sofa" (as the scenic directions call it) plays more than a small part. Mary and Bob have a dialogue near the end of the second act whose UST quotient only rises when they sit down on the sofa together, only for the two of them to take the moment in the wrong direction entirely. At the start of the third act, the sofa has a sheet and blanket which Mary laid out for Bob in case he came back during the night to sleep there, which he obviously didn't.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, the living room couch in front of the TV is the hub of all happenings in the protagonistís apartment.

    Web Original 
  • The RPG Fanatic: Almost every episode involves the RPG Fanatic sitting on his couch playing videogames.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: Linkara's futon.
  • Present in Manwhores
  • Episodes of Just Between Us open on one.
  • The Music Video Show has the host sit on a black couch since season two. It was changed to a light brown futon in season three.
  • Strong Bad's couch has become a staple of the Homestar Runner cartoons, despite being in his (not particularly well-furnished) basement and in questionable condition. It's also where he sleeps. Earlier cartoons would occasionally show characters watching TV at Homestar's house instead.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons (which even became famous for the Couch Gag)
  • Family Guy, though the couch and furniture often move around for the sake of keeping a wide number of characters on the screen at once.
  • Beavis And Butthead: The title characters were well known for sitting on a couch and critiquing music videos.
  • Sidekick during lunch has the four main characters all sitting on the same side of the table.
  • Futurama has both a literal couch (in the Planet Express break room) and the meeting table.
  • In Teen Titans Go!, the Teen Titans have a large red couch in the living room where they are very often seen.
  • Bob's Burgers: The Belchers' apartment has the classic couch set-up, and most conversation scenes take place either there or the dining room table. One episode revolved around the Belchers buying a new couch, only to feel sorry for the old one and put it back.