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Essay on Gender and Stereotype in Sitcom

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Introduction

In your chosen situation comedies, discuss the extent to which situation comedy is dependent on stereotypical representations of gender. In both sitcoms, Black Books and Men Behaving Badly, comedy is generated and dependant on the representation of stereotypes shown through characters. Some follow stereotypes and others don't, but throughout both sitcoms, this is where the humor comes from, and this is extremely visible in the two episodes chosen for each sitcom. In Men Behaving Badly, the two main characters, Tong and Gary have fixed views on gender and couldn't be closer to the modern day stereotype of a youngish male. They are two men who are lager swilling and football crazy, and even though both in their thirties, adult life hasn't dawned on either just quite yet. The mise - en - scene of their flat is very boyish and the pub is dark and dingy. They never change throughout the sitcom and seem extremely content with their laidback lifestyles. ...read more.

Middle

The whole audience is able to relate through the portrayal of stereotype in this sitcom, and humor is generated along the way. Men will find the parts played by the men funny, and the women watching vice versa, but it can be viewed by all in confidence that laughs will arise from any episode. The women mock the men, but the men get their own back with their loutish, get away with anything attitudes, and by the end everyone is satisfied. On the other hand, in Black Books, most of the comedy is generated due to characters deviating from their stereotypes. Bernard is the only main character who does not. He is a stereotypical Irishman, who is an incredibly easygoing, drinking smoking lout, whose witty humor generates from him ordering about his only employee and best friend Manny. Manny is the other half to this relationship, and the much more the feminine personality wise. His appearance is of a hippy, and for much of the time he is acting as the forgiving wife to Bernard's demanding husband role. ...read more.

Conclusion

When her friend Eva and she are together the mise - en scene is bright, light and modern, but by the end of the episode she is back as being considered one of the boys in the way. She returns to the dingy bookshop and has the last line in this particular episode, a belch, which sums her up in a way. By the end of the episode the unity of the group is definitely restored, and so are all normal ways of living. Manny and Fran's deviations from stereotype are back in place and Bernard's was never in doubt. This particular sitcom provides a different type of comedy to Men Behaving Badly; in that stereotypes do not have to be adhered to in order to produce comedy. A different type of humor is created, whereby the audience is laughing at the characters rather than relating to them. All in all, the humor created by both situation comedies comes back to the portrayal of stereotype, or deviation of it by characters, but Black Books just shows a different edge to how it can depend on the stereotypical representation of gender in situation comedies. ...read more.

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