Situation comedy: homosexuality and male camaraderie

Rebecca Feasey

in Masculinity and Popular Television

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748627974
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651184 | DOI:
Situation comedy: homosexuality and male camaraderie

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Situation comedies (sitcoms) have been categorised as those humorous classical narrative shows that use regular characters, a routine setting and variations of the same plot, over and over again. Such shows were first heard on American radio in the 1920s and have remained popular even after they transferred to the small screen. The genre has lost little of its appeal over the intervening years, with the sitcom continuing to dominate the contemporary television schedules. Throughout the history of this television genre, sitcom has tended to focus on the home-based drama of family and the workplace drama of sexual exploration. This chapter outlines the history of the sitcom, and considers the ways in which the genre has been seen to comment on a range of social and sexual concerns from the 1920s to the present day. Particular attention is given to the representation of the male in contemporary comedy programming. Although extant research suggests that heterosexual relationships are at the core of this particular genre, the chapter will examine programmes such as Friends, Coupling and Will & Grace in order to suggest that the representation of male friendship, homosociality and homosexuality are as important as heterosexual relations in the contemporary sitcom. Even though the sitcom has a long and successful history on British television, the genre's prevalence on American screens outweighs that of its British counterparts, hence, the chapter focuses on examining some of the long-running American programmes that have been imported to, and proved popular with, the British audience.

Keywords: situation comedies; sitcom; heterosexual relationships; male friendship; homosociality; homosexuality; Friends; Coupling; Will & Grace

Chapter.  5918 words. 

Subjects: Television

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