The Timeless Sitcom

Tyler Roberts

Looking back on the evolution of television programing, beginning with the earliest programs, the sitcom is perpetually a huge audience draw. While other categories of shows, like news programs, have also existed since the spread of the televisions in modern households, the sitcom has passed the test of time while constantly changing and introducing new shows each year. Early sitcoms, such as I Love Lucy presented a simple family dynamic with comedic, but easily resolvable, plot twists. The family was typically representative of the average American family and encountered many of the same obstacles and celebrations as their audience members. The key to the sitcom is the ability of the audience to relate to the characters, thus putting themselves in the characters’ shoes.

Over time the families and friend groups became more complex while mirroring the audience’s lifestyles. As society accepted new norms, the sitcoms of the time reflected these changes. In our present generation, we see the role of feminism and celebration of diversity in most shows. Modern Family, for example, hilariously shows the obstacles of a family with complex family structures including various generations and marriages. Additionally, Modern Family mirrors the acceptance of gay rights through the popularity of Cam and Mitchell’s family. Another show that gained popularity due to its cultural relevance is Veep. The premise of the show is a female politician working her way to the White House. This show would probably not be as popular in past generations, but the current support for females in traditionally male careers can been seen throughout media and especially television. Sitcoms gain and maintain timeless success through mirroring the viewers and giving them an outlet to laugh at our common struggles.

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2 Responses to The Timeless Sitcom

  1. It is interesting to think about current sitcoms that reflect our more accepting society today. Modern Family is a good example of a show that reflects our society’s increasing acceptance of same sex marriages. Additionally, shows like Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder feature strong African American females as the lead characters. This proves how far our society has come in terms of rights for females and African Americans.
    -Emily Elliott

  2. Tyler,

    I agree with your point that TV shows, including sitcoms, have followed the general trends in society and while they have changed as society has evolved. It is also interesting that you use “Modern Family” and “Veep” as clear examples that really do represent the change in our social structure, which is certainly for the better! Interesting points.

    -Alex Giacco

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