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Situation Comedies

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Mary Tyler Moore Show is a satire of contemporary American culture. Mary embodies one of its paradoxes: a new freedom for women (and men) and a new sense of limits. She is one of a growing number of characters in sitcoms who are depicted as being trapped in circumstances. Ted, of course, is television.

The Bob Newhart Show Bob, the official wise man in this sitcom, is surrounded by endearing crazies.

Taking Sides: M*A*S*H and the Struggle of Life Against Death


Two societies in conflict: a society of life that embodies humane values and a society of death. The society of life is led by Hawkeye, a trickster and a subverter of institutions. 

Gilligan's Island: Exiled in Paradise
Gilligan's Island as a kind of parable about the human condition.

Andy Griffith and Comedy's Healers

Andy Griffith Text Essay

Sheriff Andy Taylor is an archetype of the wise man and benevolent helper. He is one of many characters in sitcoms who do good, without necessarily taking the credit for it.

Situation Comedies and
the Liberating Power of Sadism
Situation comedies mock the limitations of personality that keep us from leading a more complete life. But they use the depiction of our limitations to create the good feeling of the joke, thus giving us the message that it is okay to be flawed and that life is good after all. Like most popular fiction, their purpose is to give us a sense of hope.


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