Television Situational Comedy

COM FT 543

The American television situation comedy has been an enormously popular and powerful art form. This course traces the growth of the sitcom genre from the beginnings in the early 1950's up to the present time and analyzes how American life has been influenced by it. We look at how sitcoms affected popular perception of working class, race, ethnicity, idealized family life and then the growth of different family structures, fantasy and war. We study how sitcoms initially portrayed women and then the emerging changes in response to the feminist movement. We analyze Norman Lear's series which talked about the real things Americans were saying but in the privacy of their homes and the revolution that his series created. Finally we examine anti-family satire and take a close look at contemporary single life, both straight and gay.

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