Sitcom Society Social Stratification and Social Mobility in Situation Comedy
by Lewis Freeman (9783639012842)

Sitcom Society Social Stratification and Social Mobility in Situation Comedy
 
Lewis Freeman
Release Date: 01 December 2008
Format: Paperback
Pages: 244
Category: Social Science
Publisher: VDM Verlag
ISBN: 9783639012842
ISBN-10: 3639012844



This book examines the symbolic representation of social class and social mobility in situation comedy from a content analysis of 13 sitcoms, including Cheers, The Cosby Show, Roseanne, Seinfeld, and The Simpsons. Social structure and processes were conspicuously, and characters' social positions were static, regardless of changes in their finances, educational attainment, or employment. The complicated social structure of sitcom society facilitated humorous situations and the representation of public issues as characters' personal troubles. Foundational values of American culture - individualism and success based on merit - were present in the ways characters handled financial and occupational issues. The emphases on characters solving their own dilemmas, being resourceful, and being industrious are all indicative of the premium these sitcoms placed on individualism and meritocracy. The failure of an important genre on such a ubiquitous medium to challenge the causes, nature, and consequences of the American class structure seems largely an artifact of the structure and practices of the industry that produces American situation comedies.

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