The Portrayal Of Television Sitcoms

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Families are the corner stone of society, and have long depicted as the comedic center of television sitcoms. Over the years, there has been an evolution of not only what families are like in life, but also their representation in the media. There has been a steady evolution of how families are portrayed on television since sitcoms in the 50s. I Love Lucy was ground breaking with its interracial marriage, and on-screen pregnancy, it was considered almost scandalous at the time. Imagine the 1950s public’s reaction of they watched a television series from today like Modern Family, Motherhood, or Glee. The progression of families on television is seen through shows over the decades. Some good examples are I Love Lucy from the 1950s, The Brady Bunch from the 1970s, The Cosby Show from the 1980s, Gilmore Girls from the 2000s, and Modern Family from the 2010s. These shows were/are not only popular and successful franchise, but they do a good job at showing how families were constructed at the time of the shows. How families are broadcasted on television reflects the makeup of families at that time, or what society deems a family should look like. The relatability is what makes shows popular, people want to watch a show about a family like theirs. Sitcoms are easy to watch, funny, relatable shows that people enjoy to watch (Kohne, 2012).
Season two episode one of I Love Lucy is titled “Job Switching”. This episode aired in 1952, and portrayed popular marriage in the 1950s, as well as a popular controversial topic- the difficulty of work outside the home versus inside the home. In this show the Lucy and her husband do not have any children, but are a young married couple. Ricky works outside of the home and Lucy stays home, cooks and cl...

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Over the years, the family structure as changed, but some aspects have held on. All the shows I analyzed had a few things in common with their family structure. All the families that had men, were “lead” by the men, but in every family, the mother took care of the children and home, regardless if they worked or not. Men were always painted as incapable of taking care of the children by themselves, not a good look for either gender. What I did find surprising about this assignment was how far back the pattern of “supermom” goes. It seems that the expectations of the mother have grown, but the father role has changed significantly less. The content of sitcoms changes quite profoundly from one decade to the next, especially comparing the 1950s to now. There has been a lot of evolution of the family structure on the silver screen over the years.
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