The Influence of Essentialst Attitudes Portrayed in the Modern Day Sitcom on the Views and Beliefs of Modern Society.

Topics: Seinfeld, The Yada Yada, Jerry Seinfeld Pages: 4 (1016 words) Published: May 20, 2013
* The Influence of Essentialst Attitudes Portrayed in the Modern Day Sitcom on the Views and Beliefs of Modern Society.

Throughout its long history, the sitcom has been commonly understood to define the cultural norms of modern society through such comedy techniques as satire and irony. Like modern society, certain characteristics of the sitcom have evolved over time, while others have remained consistent. The evolution of the sitcom coincides with the generational shift in attitudes of society towards certain beliefs and values. So, it would seem that there must be some sort of correlation between the evolution of the sitcom and that of society, as if one is the cause of the other. *

* While this can be safely said about the effect of society in shaping the structure of the sitcom, whether the modern sitcom has a significant effect on the views and beliefs of society is debatable. This essay will demonstration that, although the modern version of this genre contains essentialist themes and characters, it does not promote essentialism and therefore does not negatively influence society. *

From the fifties to the eighties, sitcoms have adhered to a rigid structure involving a live studio audience and certain unchanging characteristics that would define the genre. They also conveyed a very apparent moral code. In the 90’s, Seinfeld’s seemingly non-existent moral code would see it labeled by some as “apolitical or nihilistic“ (Gencarella 2005,390). However, even if these aspersions were true, it would not necessarily follow that the audience would agree with these moral values and thus accept them as normal behavior. In any case, Gencarella (2005) argues that, although the four main characters do show an extent of self-interest, their moral behavior does not reflect the teachings of the show. Issues of race, gender and politics are still addressed but are presented in a different way than they were ten to forty years ago. *

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