Throughout its long history, the sitcom has been commonly understood to define the cultural norms of modern society through such comedy techniques as satire and irony. Like modern society, certain characteristics of the sitcom have evolved over time, while others have remained consistent. The evolution of the sitcom coincides with the generational shift in attitudes of society towards certain beliefs and values. So, it would seem that there must be some sort of correlation between the evolution of the sitcom and that of society, as if one is the cause of the other. * * While this can be safely said about …show more content…
It shows the absurdity of prejudice and racism. This draws comparisons, as Detweiler (2012,730) explains, to Randy Newman’s defense of his controversial song Short People. The song criticises short people in an essentialist manner, describing them as having small voices and little beady eyes. Randy Newman explains, “that by choosing an object of prejudice so absurd, he might expose the absurdity of all prejudice…” *
In the case of The Office (American version), Michael Scott is blatantly and shockingly racist, sexist and prejudice. The perception that the audience recognizes this view as essentialist, which is the basis of its humor, reinforces the idea that the text does not endorse this kind of behavior. As Detweiler (2012,730) describes, this is further broadcast by the occasional ironic facial expressions, to camera, of Michaels Scott’s colleague, Jim Halpert. Through the clever use of irony it sets an example of how not to act.
* Due to the satirical and ironic nature of the sit-com, the question of whether the inclusion of stereotypes and essentialist views warrant a critique as a conclusively essentialist text depends solely on the audience’s interpretation of the text. The writer’s intention here is irrelevant. As Lengbeyer (2005,7) points out, in respect to joke tellers: * * “…if joke hearers could understand only