• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent can it be argued that situation comedies package existing norms and beliefs for audiences (Selby & Cowdery 1995)?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent can it be argued that situation comedies "package existing norms and beliefs for audiences" (Selby & Cowdery 1995)? "Why do we need to laugh, even to the extent of inventing comedy over and above that which we can discern with ordinary life?" (Crisell 2006. p120) This question posed by Crisell sums up the type of comedy that is present in most sitcoms, hyperbole's of everyday life situations. A situation comedy (sitcom) is a setting and a group of characters that can be used with a comic narrative where the situation usually remains open so that it is available for future disruption. The sitcom uses a setting and characters that are believable but adds the twist of them encountering exaggerated problems with exaggerated consequences. However, it is important for the popularity of the sitcom that the beliefs and opinions of the viewers are catered for and this is where "existing norms and beliefs" (Selby & Cowdery 1995) are followed. Sitcoms use these contemporary ideologies constantly in their bid for popularity and will continue to do so as long as they continue to be aired. It has been argued that sitcoms are always "using a formula so 'transparent' that they could stand in for 'indigenous' programming for the local audience." (Creeber 2001. p.65) Creeber is suggesting that although the sitcom could be based in a different country or situation that one might encounter, the way in which it is made and written allows a variety of audiences to enjoy it. ...read more.


In workplace sitcoms, as in soap opera, the majority of events are possible in everyday life but not with the same intensity. Some even push the realms of surrealist by either the setting or a particular character that could be considered unusual or eccentric. Workplace sitcoms seem to be based largely around sexual chemistry rather than about the actual occupation. This is because in 'real life' sexual partners are often chosen from the workplace; therefore the sitcom yet again follows 'real life' norms to attract the audience. When it comes to a sitcom taking realistic, everyday situations and exaggerating them, the 'unruly women' sitcom is best known to do this. "The term [unruly women] describes an icon of a grotesque female whose excesses break social boundaries". (Creeber 2001 p. 68) These social boundaries being the beliefs that are held by the society in which the sitcom will be shown. Examples of the sitcoms where these unruly women are from are Rosanne and Absolutely Fabulous. The excesses that these women represent are fat for Rosanne and excessive make-up and strange clothes for the Absolutely Fabulous women. These characters are created to be this way in order to go against the social acceptance and therefore bring attention to them. Sometimes sitcoms can fall into a number of categories and these are usually considered to be called hybrids. These are when conflicts can arise between work and home and the sitcom shows scenes at both. ...read more.


However, even though the positions that are given to the men and women in sitcoms may have changed, stereotypes are still followed. A male secretary for example, in a sitcom is likely to have feminine traits. 'Less Than Perfect' for example features a secretary called 'Kip' who shows effeminate traits such as constantly checking his appearance and an interest in fashion. Furthermore, the boss in a workplace sitcom, even if it is a woman, is likely to have masculine traits and characteristics. These stereotypes are held on to because that is what the viewers want to see as it is what they know and understand. It seems clear that sitcoms "package existing norms and beliefs" (Selby & Cowdery 1995) in order to gain an audience as it are these beliefs that the audience want to see reiterated. The sitcom does not always follow these beliefs rather than use them to emphasise the difference between the commonly held ideal and the character that the sitcom has created. Nevertheless, the beliefs held by society at the time are used in sitcoms. Whether these beliefs are presented through characters or gone against by the idea of exaggeration through other characters, it is still the known stereotypes that are being used in order to create the sociologically ideal character, or the obscure counterpart. The extent to which sitcoms "package existing norms and beliefs" (Selby & Cowdery 1995) is high because even when it is not creating characters using the stereotypes, it is making a character using the stereotypes as a basis to go against the beliefs that society holds. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Television & Radio Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Television & Radio Studies essays

  1. How does the Television Drama Series Shameless, Disrupt Stereotypes of Working Class Ideologies?

    What television did was move away from representations of working class father roles to representing roles of middle class fathers, in which this newly found middle class man would 'discover' the importance of bonding with the children. At an early age children are lot more emotionally connected to the mother

  2. An analysis of the Sitcom, Will and Grace.

    When analysing an episode of Will and Grace from www.durfee.net/will/transcripts, I found the conversational structured differed from many theorist's research into sitcom CA. I found that it abided by particular structures that were apparent in a lot of the episodes and have become a formula for its unique comedy appeal.

  1. Active audiences have a mind of their own and they inject their own meanings ...

    Thompson (1997:38) argues that it is essential to study the reception/appropriation of media messages because it considers both the social-historical conditions within which messages are received by individuals and the ways in which these individuals make sense of the messages and incorporate them into their lives.

  2. The Sexual Exploitation of Women in the Music Industry - study of the portrayal ...

    Results Content Video #1 Video #2 Video #3 Video #4 Video #5 Video #6 Video #7 Video #8 Video #9 Video #10 Women in skimpy clothes X X X X X X X X Women undressing X X X Woman artist yearning for male X X X X Woman touching

  1. How queer sexuality is mediated in "Glee".

    On one hand it brings attention to something that was once a taboo and makes it more commonplace, but on the other it creates stereotypes that teenagers and young adults associate with queer people. Consequently, the show has been both lauded as ??leading TV?s gay teen revolution?? and criticized for

  2. My essay is based on how Blacks and Arabs are represented in the media, ...

    interrogated and searched as many Black men as they could in a Black neighbourhood, a measure unthinkable in White neighbourhoods, which are rarely seen as representational sites of crime?. The result of the media stereotyping Arabs as fanatics and violent could lead to people thinking that Arab people are extreme


    All mass production produced by entertainment manufactures will be consumed with attentiveness even when the consumer is distraught. Adorno argued in his book Dialectic of Enlightenment that the more the cultural industry implants itself into society the more choices it can make for the consumers by controlling and disciplining them (Adorno, 2002).

  2. The Portrayal of Women in The Walking Dead TV Show.

    However, the writers make sure the viewers see Rick as a victim of Carol?s irrationality. Although Rick did nothing wrong (he directed Sophia to hide in a small crevice and not move until help came while he courageously drew the zombie away), Carol inexplicably blames him nevertheless.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work