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3.4 | Understand the relationship between a genre and society. Ian Thomas | Saint Kentigern College Sitcoms and US Society 1960-now. Politics – Republican vs. Democrat Family Unit – Nuclear / Dysfunction / Divorce / Pseudo Civil Rights – Feminism / Racism

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Presentation Transcript
threads for discussion

Politics – Republican vs. Democrat

Family Unit – Nuclear / Dysfunction / Divorce / Pseudo

Civil Rights – Feminism / Racism

Generations – generation gap / Baby Boomers / Gen X / Gen Y

Television – broadcasting / fragmented and niche markets / narrowcasting / internet

Sex and Sexuality – social discourse / female empowerment / homosexuality

The Future – changing technology / internet-based sitcoms / Obama / societal change

Post-Modernism– re-writing the rules / rejection of tradition / open acceptance

Threads for discussion

why sitcoms

Families watching “families”

Familiar characters and situations

Appeal – Common to society, grown up with them

Humour as a tool for social engineering

Sitcoms are common to each decade – TV staple

Old sitcoms are social time capsules – a window into a different time/era on social level.

Why sitcoms?

america s relationship with sitcoms

US society sees change through non-confrontational nature of humour – catching more flies with honey than vinegar.

Removed expectation of fulfilment of American Dream – through the latter decades, the sitcom assures US society that it’s okay to NOT fit the American Dream.

Society influenced political/social content – Relevant and reflective of era.

Roles – Catharsis \ Counselling \ Couching \ Comfort Food

America’s relationship with sitcoms

the 60s magi com the 70s sex com the 80s family com the 90s single com the 00s me com
The 60s – Magi-com

The 70s – Sex-com

The 80s – Family-com

The 90s – Single-com

The 00s – Me-com

The sitcom modes

sitcom conventions

The comic trap – the family unit in whatever form.

The fish out of water – most often women though later men. Each struggling to find their place in society amidst social change and upheaval.

The naive fool – typically men who assume traditional patriarchal structures of social rule and family dynamics.

The acerbic servant – the ‘other’ voice who offers ‘outside’ context.

The Running Joke – recurring humorous ideas often satirising outmoded views and ideas of social behaviour, very audience inclusive.

Humour – slapstick, one-liners, satire, punch-line, conflict, juxtaposition

Sitcom conventions

pre 60s

Establish American Dream as cornerstone of Post WWII US society

The move to suburbia

Introduce the housewife as the post Rosie the Riveter ideal for women – can link to post-Noir study well.

1950’s Father Knows Best – taste of early sitcoms.

Pre-60s

bewitched 1964 1972 i dream of jeannie the munsters the addams family my favourite martian mr ed
Bewitched (1964 – 1972)

I Dream of Jeannie

The Munsters

The Addams Family

My Favourite Martian

Mr. Ed

The 60s | The Nuclear Family

the 60s the nuclear family

The American Dream of white suburban middle class (Comic Trap)

Metaphor of witch as modern woman (Fish out of Water)

Traditional patriarchal man/husband (Naive Fool)

The 60s | The Nuclear Family

slide11
Soap (1978-1982)

All in the Family

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The Jeffersons

Welcome back, Kotter.

One Day at a Time

The 70s |The Dysfunctional Family

the 70s the dysfunctional family

Class differences evident between the Tates (upper-class) and the Campbells (middle-class) for the first time in a sitcom (Comic Trap)

Dysfunction and conflict prime source of humour

Race and sex openly discussed – development of innuendo as a sitcom staple.

The 70s |The Dysfunctional Family

slide13
Kate and Allie (1984-89)

Designing Women

Golden Girls

The Cosby Show

Roseanne

Growing Pains

Family Ties

The 80s | The Divorced Family

the 80s the divorced family

Traditional family sitcoms harked back to a “Father Knows Best” era with little regard to class or gender conflict.

Though many Americans struggled with the impact divorce had on their lives (comic trap)

Women especially as the American Dream had not equipped them well for single life after divorce.

The 80s | The Divorced Family

friends 1994 2004 seinfeld frazier caroline in the city will and grace ellen
Friends (1994-2004)

Seinfeld

Frazier

Caroline in the City

Will and Grace

Ellen

The 90s | The Pseudo Family

the 90s the pseudo family

Rachel is the original fish out of water – appearing in the first episode as a dripping wet bride.

The pseudo family becomes the comic trap.

Male and female relationships are more equal in sitcoms and society

Sex and sexuality is open for discussion

The 90s | The Pseudo Family

slide17
Entourage (2004 )

The Big Bang Theory

How I Met Your Mother

Sex and the City

Two and a Half Men

Scrubs

My Name is Earl

The 00s | The Post Modern Family

the 00s the post modern family

The family is now fragmented to the viewer’s own choice and experience of family and TV access.

All forms of family exist and are treated with the same sense of humour, respect and accessibility.

There is potential backlash with the advent of the male-com.

The 00s | The Post Modern Family

television modern family cougar town the united states of tara the internet red vs blue the guild
Television

Modern Family

Cougar Town

The United States of Tara

The Internet

Red vs. Blue

The Guild

The future of the sitcom/TV

www skc media studies wikispaces com www youtube com user skcmedianz thomasi@skc school nz
www.skc-media-studies.wikispaces.com

www.youtube.com/user/skcmediaNZ

thomasi@skc.school.nz

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