American Family Culture

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For the past seven decades the family sitcom genre has been a part of American television. The genre was created to have a broad appeal to American families and society. The formula for a family sitcom is defined as comedy, whereas, each episode has an ongoing storyline or plot, which centers on regular characters (a family), who encounters and responses to “situations” that the viewers can relate to. Early family comedies were developed as a means for families to sit down together and enjoy the characters and story lines that each family member could identify with. The stories are generally lighthearted and tackle miscommunication, misunderstanding and topics in a humorous way. Unlike the drama shows and other comedies, family sitcoms are…show more content…
The storylines didn’t deviate from that of Ozzie and Harriet.”The shows were centered on the home and family, the wife/homemaker, the children and the father, who leaves in the morning and comes home at night, ready for his wife to serve him dinner and solve the problems of the day” (Artifice). The patriarch of Father Knows Best, Jim Anderson is a prime example of the classic archetypal father, who was a wise disciplinarian and the moral compass of the family. In each episode, Mr. Anderson “returned from his insurance job every evening, removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves to solve the problems of the family–crises that ranged from prom dates to homework to burnt pot roast” (Goudreau). The same is true of Ward Cleaver, the father in Leave It To Beaver, where this model father ends every show with wise words and a life lesson for his sons (Goudreau). According to Michael Indic’s, Psychology for Screenwriters, script writers must understand human nature to make a story come to live and to be more realistic to their audience. The family sitcom writers of the 1950’s utilized the “wise old man” archetype to present the mentors, the god, moral compass, the provider, and the strong male figure – the
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