Analyse and Evaluate the Interrelationship Between Society and a Media Genre

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  • Topic: Situation comedy, I Love Lucy, Family
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  • Published : October 26, 2005
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Analyse and evaluate the interrelationship between society and a media genre

The interrelationship between society and sitcoms is due to the affect of societies influence on sitcoms and the influence sitcoms have on society. Certain aspects of this interrelationship include the role of women and how they are perceived, the role of the family group and the cultural ideas and products that are presented in particular sitcoms and how they relate to the time of society.

Societies influence on sitcoms originates from political values and the level of importance that is brought upon families at the time. The role of women has considerably changed since the 1950s where a woman's agenda in life was to be known as the obedient housewife, caring for the children and breadwinner husband. During World War II, some women had taken over male dominated jobs during their time at war and became accustomed to the life of the workforce until the return of men led women to return to their place in the domestic realm of society. Due to the sufferings that the men had been exposed to during the war, this resulted in the actions of women being caring and looking after the household, with dinner on the table, while the male worked to support the family.

The first American sitcom premiered on 15 October 1951 titled "I Love Lucy" starring Lucille Ball as the show's protagonist. The character of Lucy was somewhat an outstanding and unexpected role for women to play at the time and gave women, who were trapped in the role of a housewife, a liberal and enticing view of another aspect of life. This included moving away from the dominant stance that males held in a women's life. Men, at this time, were able to decide where and when a woman was allowed a social life and due to Lucille Ball's character Lucy, she acknowledged the fact that a change from ‘male suffocation' was an acceptable advancement for women. Lucille Ball paved the way for women to promote their personality and live outside the realm of domesticity. She was the first female comedian of this time where it was inappropriate for women to play such a role that was male dominated and continued to do so, leading many others in her wake such as Mary Tyler Moore and Cybill Shepard.

The debut of this sitcom greatly influenced society as it led to out-of-character behaviour in women and promoted the idea of pregnancy in a public approach. This was because of the zany and disobedient character played by Ball whom also included her own private life pregnancy into the world of television. She endorsed the fact that pregnancy was acceptable by publicising the birth of her own child and also played her character as one who was not always willing to do her husband's duties and orders. Lucy Ricardo played by Ball, does not conform to the ideas of a housewife as she publicly seeks for a future in the workforce and constantly disobeys Ricky's orders. For example, in the episode "Lucy Does A TV Commercial" in 1952, Lucy and Ricky have a disagreement where her exposed stubbornness leads to her lack of household duties. "What do you want me to do starve to death…would you please…" This particular behaviour freed women in society of conventional roles and behaviour that they were authorised to stick to and gave them a refreshing and inviting release to be at an equal status to their husband or partner. Also, this particular sitcom was a possible opening of censorship norms as the audience viewed certain incidents that were not considered orderly and respectable of a young, newly married housewife, such as the state of drunkenness Lucy gets herself into.

Due to the strictness of the unwritten laws of society, such sitcoms were developed to allow equal gender roles to be established and to banish the idea of women being degraded and seen as a "prize".

The role of the family group was predominantly the main focus of one's life in the 1970s. Life in this decade revolved around those closest to...
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