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SITUATION COMEDY Characters Stereotyping Fictions and Ideologies Sitcoms have more a general grip on their audiences than other popular genres which have obvious connections with more general ideological formations like the spy thrillers in the 1960s or the crime series in the 1970s Ryall suggests that genres can be defined as patterns forms styles and structures which mean that the viewer knows everything will be alright in the end The insideoutside dichotomy can be seen in sitcoms eg when an outside character enters the situation disrupting the norm That is resolved by leaving it all as it was before in the end Comedy programmes routinely draw on social types in order to proceed with sufficient colour of character and pace of narrative Its nature is based in social relations sense of continuity and depiction of sexuality Sitcoms have limited number of characters and are filmed in cheap sets Normally 30 minutes long therefore immediacy becomes imperative However sitcoms cannot function without stereotypes though they are said to be based on real people The images of men and women present the viewers with characters they can easily relate to For a character to be immediately funny they must be a recognisable type a representative embodiment of a set of ideas or a manifestation of a clich The well rounded individual would not work in sitcom There are immediately recognisable types nagging sexual demanding wife with delusions of bourgeois grandeur and a threatened likeably devious husband Sitcoms rarely challenge traditional role models Youre not likely to have a character with a feminist viewpoint without being seen as a loony and not being taken seriously Thats because most sitcom writers are men and they find it easier to write humour for male characters Humour is therefore an excuse for perpetuating myths about the ways in which women and men are expected to behave in our society Sitcoms look at other
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