Top-Rated Free Essay

Irony

Topics: Comedy, Satire, Family Guy, The Simpsons / Pages: 4 (866 words) / Published: Apr 29th, 2013
Paper #2
Throughout time sitcoms have used satire, irony and parody to entertain and get laughs out of its audience. Almost everyone likes certain sitcoms for different reasons, but mostly because they enjoy a good laugh. I want to talk about sitcoms and what is hiding behind the satire, irony and parodies. Sitcoms are meant to help its audience through social anxieties without fully coming out and saying what it is doing. The word sitcom is actually two words put together which was once called a situation comedy. There are many things going on throughout the world that people are not comfortable talking about so sitcoms mask those anxieties with humor so that people can laugh about it while learning rather than just act like the problem does not exist.
In the 1970’s a show aired called, All in the Family. It was about a non-tradition family but the father had tradition views. The father (Archie) was a stubborn man with strict ideas on how people should behave and about the world. In each episode, Archie has to deal with something that he has a hard time with like colored people, gays, and strong women. This show was really popular in the 70’s and really helped some of its audience to see certain issues in a different light. Even though Archie was set in his ways and many people agreed with his views on things in that time, at the end of each episode he felt differently about the situation even if he did not say it, you could see it portrayed in his actions.
In today’s society, we have a different type of humor and that shows through different types of sitcoms compared to the 70’s but what does not differ is that like the 70’s sitcoms, today’s sitcoms also deal with the same types of anxieties. I watched the first episode of Family
Guy, which aired on January 31, 1999, to see what types of cultural anxieties it deals with and how it uses satire, irony and parody to mask those issues.
There are many instances in this episode where the character’s use satire to criticizes a topic using pointed humor to relate to larger cultural and social issues of modern times. When Meg (the daughter) wants to look good to feel better about herself, she comes up with the idea to get collagen in her lips. In today’s society many believe that woman have to enhance themselves to look good. The show also hits on topics like the “man of the house,” people on welfare, and the well-known, “dropping the soap in jail” term. The show even uses satire by having the infant Stewie hate his mother which is a big issue today with sons rebelling against their mothers.
In this episode, like most Family Guy episodes, we are targeted to laugh at every character. They all have their different personalities that many people like to make fun of. In this episode, we focus more on Peter for our laugh value. He goes on welfare because he is too scared to tell his wife he lost his job from being hung over at work. He goes through many obstacles that make us laugh when he gets his welfare check. We also like to laugh at his daughter Meg who gets lip injections then they deflate on her. We know these are the characters to laugh at because the writers make it a point to have them do silly things that relate to larger issues. They are trying to get us to laugh at things we usually would take seriously. This show really likes to poke fun at political and social issues from past to present. In this episode it mostly focused on welfare and what type of people are on it or abuse it.
The good thing about this show though is that it never really takes sides on political or social topics. With the welfare issue, we don’t know what they really think about it or what side they are on. In one scene, Peter is laying on top of the kitchen table with food on him while hung over. He then proceeds to say, “Somebodies got to put food on this table,” while rolling off the table taking all the food with him. Another part of the show that used irony was when Peter dropped the money on the super bowl trying to be a good person and help others, but instead people started fighting and getting hurt for the money.
Family Guy really makes a point at putting in as many cultural anxiety issues as it can in one episode so that people can see what needs to be dealt with. This differs from All in the Family which only really dealt with one issue at a time. I believe that sitcoms are a great way to help people understand what is happening in the world and how to deal with some situations that are harder than others. They were created to help people while not letting the audience know that is what they are doing and new sitcoms will continue to do so though out time.

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