Stage-produced sitcoms and scenes set elsewhere

This is not one of the big questions of life, only a small thing that I’ve wondered about. As I understand it, the conventional way of producing sitcoms is to record them in front of a live studio audience, where the stage is set up as the venue where most of the plot takes place (often the protagonists’ living room). But quite frequently you will have scenes that are set elsewhere, either in another room or outdoors. For the former, I suppose there could be a stage right next to the main one, so these scenes can also be recorded in front of the audience. But what about outdoor scenes? These must, obviously, be shot externally. How does the live studio audience know about them in case they’re important to understand the plot? Are they pre-recorded ahead of the studio session and then simply presented to the audience on screens?

Usually, yes. If for whatever reason that can’t be done, someone will come out and fill in the blanks describing the scene to the audience. When recording a show, there are long delays as sets and costumes get changed or any special effects get jiggled about, so it’s often a disjointed experience anyway, which means things like that aren’t a big obstacle to following the story.

I’ve never sat in on a show recording (you don’t get shows like that where I live) but I’ve read up on it a bit.

Here’s a partial answer to your question: much of the humor of the UK sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys involves breaking the fourth wall; and each episode ends much in the way a short play would end, with the players bowing to the audience. If you watch this from just before 28.00

- there are shots showing the complete stage set up for recording, followed by the players bowing to the audience from (left to right) Mrs Brown’s kitchen, then her living room, then the bar of her local pub, with Agnes Brown (Brendan O’Carroll) scooting between locations to bow with each of the groups of actors.