Response to Butsch Article

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Richard Butsch, much like Berube, calls my attention to an issue of representation that I previously hadn't noticed: the persistence of well-to-do families in sitcoms. Butsch notes that when he sent out surveys to producers and writers of TV pilots, the most common response was that, "the choice of occupation was incidental to the situation or other aspect of the program idea; thus, it was embedded in the creator's conception of the situation (579)." I interpreted this to mean that the concept of middle class suburban families living in comfort was so ingrained in the producers minds as to what was normal for TV, that they didn't even think to acknowledge that not all of America lives under the same monetary circumstances. This article made me think of one show that breaks from this traditional style.
The show "Two Broke Girls" is a sitcom revolving on two girls trying to make ends meet in New York City. The show entirely revolves around the idea that, "being broke sucks" especially for women in the city. This contrasts shows that revolve around upper-middle class families by focusing on money and class as the source of humor for the show. After reading the article, it makes sense why more shows haven't adopted the element of working-class individuals to add to some of the plots of sitcoms. Television shows are on a tight schedule when it comes to producing new content on a weekly basis, and as Butsch says, "When the general story line and main characters are set, the script can be written following a simple formula (580)." This simple formula allows them to throw out recycled content while still keeping on schedule. When producers and writers add money issues to the story though, they break the traditional formula and risk having to experiment or add new elements to the show. Additionally, today's culture seems so uptight about being politically correct that perhaps they are staying away from shows like "Two Broke Girls" in order to avoid criticism for promoting certain class stereotypes. Unfortunately, the show does little to actually address the issues faced by struggling workers in America, and rather focuses on poking fun at individuals in less fortunate circumstances.

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This page contains a single entry by foot0064 published on February 25, 2013 7:33 PM.

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