“Our Real Family, The One We Chose” : the function of comfort in the sitcom family.
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Romanowski, Max, 1994-
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Throughout history, the sitcom has continually been used as a form of comfort for the viewer. The original sitcoms of the 1950s were filled with themes that reinforced the stability of the traditional family model after the cultural shifts during the world wars. While that style of sitcom and its family has changed, its function to the viewer has largely stayed the same. While it no longer is about reinforcing a traditional family structure, the sitcom does work to comfort the viewers that are watching. This study works to examine the how and why the sitcom family has evolved, what the new sitcom family looks like today, and what that means for our societal values. The sitcoms Friends (1994), The Office (2005), Parks and Recreation (2009), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013), and Community (2009) will be used as case studies to understand the new dominant type of sitcom family: The constructed family.