Age and Sitcoms- Karly Morgan


Watching the interview about Roseanne this week made me think about Disney Channel sitcoms geared toward children. It dawned on me that Disney Channel sitcoms are almost an inverse of traditional sitcoms. Traditional sitcoms tend to focus on adults, with the kids being caricatures with simple plots as an accessory to the parents. In Disney sitcoms, the children are the focus of the show, while the parents are caricatured accessory characters. This is pretty obvious, and makes sense when targeting audiences. To me, however, it revealed a greater problem.

In this class, and the COM department in general, we discuss enjoying media no matter what demographic is being portrayed- white, black, asian, heterosexual, homosexual, rich, poor, middle class. However, we rarely talk about age. Why is it that adults cannot enjoy a sitcom about children? Why would it be considered immature or even creepy for adults to enjoy narratives from a different age perspective? On the same token, there are of course adult sitcoms with topics that are too mature for child audiences, but children should be able to enjoy more “clean” sitcoms about adults.

I understand the clear issues at hand. Questions of maturity, content, etc. I guess, for me, this just brought to light the concept of enjoying stories told by different age groups. For example, my friends and I are obviously in our early 20’s. We absolutely adore the show Grace & Frankie, which follows the story of 4 adults in their 70’s. The show is incredible, and we enjoy seeing the world from their perspective. The new popular show Stranger Things largely features children, and adult audiences also love that show. I’m interested to see what you guys think about the concept of watching sitcoms featuring different age groups


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2 Responses to Age and Sitcoms- Karly Morgan

  1. mediaphiles says:

    This is a really good point. I think a lot of it has to do with the different humor preferences between the age groups. But sometimes, shows get it just right and find the perfect mix. For example, my mom hated some of the shows my brother and sister and I would watch as kids mostly because she thought they were “stupid” in other words she didn’t like the humor in them. Occasionally though, she would always watch That’s So Raven with us and claimed she loved that show, and I personally believe it was because of the humor in it.
    Kendall Fischlein

  2. mediaphiles says:

    Very interesting, and a great question! Also something to think about though is the specific plot lines of these sitcoms. A lot of them seem to be very similar issues to those found in adult sitcoms, just the kid versions of them. A lot of the story lines are just recycled. -Katie N

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