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Discuss the ways in which situation comedy can be analysed in ideological terms

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Discuss the ways in which situation comedy can be analysed in ideological terms Situation Comedy (or Sitcom) began in Britain in the late 1960's. It is a narrative series comedy and is usually 25-30 minutes per episode and focuses more on the 'situations' the characters get themselves into rather than the comedian as a performer. Because the sitcom is more of a 'series' rather than a 'serial' viewers get to know the characters and can relate, in a broad sense, to their everyday lives and the situations they get themselves into. Sitcoms have been extremely popular since they began and have continuously dominated the airwaves in Britain and America. The continuing popularity of the television situation comedy can be accredited to two complementary characteristics: '..(1) Its multivalent social ideologies and mores that function within the larger framework of liberal democratic ideology and (2) the commercial system that produces and distributes the product for private profit alone. The former characteristic has tended toward emancipation, the latter, repression...' (Hamamoto, 1991, p. 1) I will be focusing my essay on the liberal democratic ideology of situation comedy in America and Britain. By this I mean the interplay of ideologies within the sitcom that have derived from the social culture and beliefs in the time in which they were made. ...read more.


The ideological implications in sitcoms are used to form a better and more structured society. By this I mean that every episode of every season shares views and ideals that can be spread throughout society and therefore imposing a general view or fear of something. For example in Only Fools and Horses the family usually end up having an argument about something and they fall out but by the end of the episode the person who was in the wrong makes amends. This establishes the closing of the narrative and that whatever happens a family should stick together. It is also the victory of good over evil or in the case of sitcoms right over wrong. The appeal of sitcoms lies in the familiarisation of the characters and the stereotypical approach to how they are represented. Usually this approach is to ensure that viewers continue to watch the shows and characters often, for example, dumb blondes, are funny to them due to them doing actions or saying something that reminds them of themselves or someone they know. he dominant force becomes the natural way of life while others that go against this are perceived as being 'radical' no matter how logical their approach may be. Viewers enjoy the idea of watching a 'dysfunctional' family because everyone aspires to have the perfect family but this doesn't really exist. ...read more.


If you analyse it by what Bowes said above you only see them in one way, and from one perspective which is not their own, and you don't learn anything new about their culture or lifestyle. In conclusion, the points in which I have talked about help to form the ideological framework within sitcoms. Ideology in situation comedy is derived from the social implications of the time in which they were made. In time stereotypes may have changed and the situations the characters get themselves into may mirror events in society but in the whole it reflects how people think society should be and how people should behave. It encapsulates the ideal that everyone should hold the same views, or similar views, on certain topics be it political or social and it helps to build a stereotype of certain people. The 'dumb-blonde' for instance, is taken to the extreme in the majority of sitcoms and it has led to idea that most women who have blonde hair are stupid and say silly things. Many forms of ideology can be displayed in sitcoms such as political; a set of ideas and principles that explain how the society should work, and offer the blueprint for a certain social order. The dominant ideoloy in sitcom is from the political angle and sitcom will always be structured on the views of those in power. ...read more.

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