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Updated version of an engaging overview of the television situation comedy.
This updated and expanded anthology offers an engaging overview of one of the oldest and most ubiquitous forms of television programming: the sitcom. Through an analysis of formulaic conventions, the contributors address critical identities such as race, gender, and sexuality, and overarching structures such as class and family. Organized by decade, chapters explore postwar domestic ideology and working-class masculinity in the 1950s, the competing messages of power and subordination in 1960s magicoms, liberated women and gender in 1970s workplace comedies and 1980s domestic comedies, liberal feminism in the 1990s, heteronormative narrative strategies in the 2000s, and unmasking myths of gender in the 2010s. From I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners to Roseanne, Cybill, and Will & Grace to Transparent and many others in between, The Sitcom Reader provides a comprehensive examination of this popular genre that will help readers think about the shows and themselves in new contexts.
Mary M. Dalton is Professor of Communication and Film Studies at Wake Forest University and author of The Hollywood Curriculum: Teachers in the Movies, Second Revised Edition. Laura R. Linder, a retired Associate Professor of Media Studies, is the author of Public Access Television: America’s Electronic Soapbox. Together they coauthored Teacher TV: Sixty Years of Teachers on Television.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. Origins of the Genre: In Search of the Radio Sitcom David Marc
2. Who Rules the Roost?: Sitcom Family Dynamics from the Cleavers to Modern Family Judy Kutulas
3. I Love Lucy: Television and Gender in Postwar Domestic
Ideology Lori Landay
4. To the Moon! Working-Class Masculinity in The Honeymooners Steven T. Sheehan
5. The Rural Sitcom from The Real McCoys to Relevance Rick Worland and John O’Leary
6. The 1960s Magicoms: Safety in Numb-ers Gary Kenton
7. Negotiated Boundaries: Production Practices and the Making of Representation in Julia Demetria Rougeaux Shabazz
8. The Norman Lear Sitcoms and the 1970s Gerard Jones
9. Liberated Women and New Sensitive Men: Reconstructing Gender in 1970s Workplace Comedies Judy Kutulas
10. “Who’s in Charge Here?” Views of Media Ownership in Situation Comedies Paul R. Kohl
11. The Cosby Show: Recoding Ethnicity and Masculinity within
the Television Text Michael Real and Lauren Bratslavsky
12. Roseanne, Roseanne, Reality, and Domestic Comedy Susan McLeland
13. Cheers: Searching for the Ideal Public Sphere in the Ideal Public House Robert S. Brown
14. Seinfeld: The Transcendence of the Quotidian Albert Auster
15. Cybill: Privileging Liberal Feminism in Daily Sitcom Life Laura R. Linder and Mary M. Dalton
16. Talking Sex: Comparison Shopping through Female Conversation in HBO’s Sex and the City Sharon Marie Ross
17. “It’s Just a Bunch of Stuff that Happened”: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Postmodern Comedy H. Peter Steeves
18. Breaking and Entering: Transgressive Comedy on Television Michael V. Tueth
19. Sealed with a Kiss: Heteronormative Narrative Strategies in NBC’s Will & Grace Denis M. Provencher
20. The Hidden Truths in Contemporary Black Sitcoms Robin R. Means Coleman, Charlton D. McIlwain, andJessica Moore Matthews
21. Disability and Sitcoms: A Legit Analysis James Schultz
22. Transparent Family Values: Unmasking Sitcom Myths of Gender, Sex(uality), and Money Maria San Filippo
Conclusion: The Evolving, Resilient Sitcom: Sitcoms are Not Dead!