Feminism in Situational Comedy: Discourse Through Laughter in 22 Minutes

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Feminism in Situational Comedy: Discourse through Laughter in 22 Minutes In American households, most people can claim to watch sitcoms. Typical situational comedies, or sitcoms, can be described as a brief encounter with familiar characters who encounter "situations" and solve any dilemmas within 22 minutes, making sure to do so in a humorous way. It remains true that most TV shows feature male leading actors, as well as most of TV programming. However, one genre where the female lead is gaining ground is in TV sitcoms. I wish to examine some recent shows and characters that have served to address feminist issues by first drawing a parallel between these shows, and then analyzing the characters. While each differs in how their female lead(s) are portrayed, I argue that these shows still further feminist discourse. By also defining the standard of femininity, we will be able to contrast these characters against it. Since these characters are at times criticized for their choices, I will also analyze some general criticisms of these characters and address them. Before I begin to analyze the shows, it is important to define what a sitcom/sketch comedy show is. A basic sitcom is meant to be a predictable safe-haven where the laughs are perfectly timed to ensure that the viewer is entertained while also being able to tune out. However, a GOOD sitcom will also prompt the viewer to think in a way that addresses big issues without losing the laugh factor. An element that is crucial to sitcoms is “that audiences can take away moral lessons that are applicable to their real lives after the medium that has delivered the messages has ended. These lessons usually exist in…alternating between socially relevant topics to more basic fundamentals concerning how characters should interact with each other to produce harmony within whatever familial space a series’ characters were
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