In this new Routledge Television Guidebook, Jeremy G. Butler studies our love-hate relationship with the durable sitcom, analyzing the genre’s position as a major media artefact within American culture and providing a historical overview of its evolution in the USA.
Everyone loves the sitcom genre; and yet, paradoxically, everyone hates the sitcom, too. This book examines themes of gender, race, ethnicity, and the family that are always at the core of humor in our culture, tracking how those discourses are embedded in the sitcom’s relatively rigid storytelling structures. Butler pays particular attention to the sitcom’s position in today’s post-network media landscape and sample analyses of Sex and the City, Black-ish, The Simpsons, and The Andy Griffith Show illuminate how the sitcom is infused with foundational American values.
At once contemporary and reflective, The Sitcom is a must-read for students and scholars of television, comedy, and broader media studies, and a great classroom text.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Comedy Genre, Humor Theory [Modern Family] 1. Understanding the Sitcom 2. A Critical/Cultural History of the Sitcom [I Love Lucy] 3. Comedy, Family, and Small Towns [The Andy Griffith Show] 4. Comedy, Sex, and Gender Identity [Sex and the City] 5. Comedy, Race, Ethnicity, and Religion [Black-ish] 6. Comedy, Televisuality, and Convergence [The Simpsons]
Jeremy G. Butler is Professor of Creative Media at the University of Alabama. He has published book chapters and articles on the sitcom in Journal of Film and Video and Cinema Journal. He is the author of Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture and Television Style.