COMM 140 Middle and Upper-Class Buffoon Paper

COMM 140 Middle and Upper-Class Buffoon Paper - Jake Unger...

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Jake Unger 11/16/09 COMM 140 Paper #3 The Rise of the Professional-Class Buffoon I agree with Richard Butsch’s assessment in, Ralph, Fred, Archie, and Homer, Why Television Keeps Re-creating the White Male Working-Class Buffoon , that the working-class is underrepresented on TV, and shows that represent working-class people almost always depict them as buffoons that are, “dumb, immature, irresponsible, or lacking common sense” (Butsch 576). Although TV representation of working-class and professional men has remained quite stable throughout the decades, the perception of a “buffoon” as a working-class entity has been eroding into a less class-conscious characteristic, which is now represented within all socio- economic classes. No longer are “buffoons” on TV simply just underrepresented, working-class men, but now they are accountants, network executives, detectives, and company managers. While working-class men are still commonly represented as “buffoons”, the trait of a “buffoon” is no longer a stigma of the working-class male, but rather a characteristic that is seen throughout television among men of all occupations. Butsch is correct in observing the gross overrepresentation of higher economic classes on television, but he fails to recognize the transformation of the “buffoon” character that has occurred. There are still stereotypical characterizations of working-class buffoons such as Homer Simpson, Hank Hill, and Kevin James’ character on Kings of Queen ; as well as overrepresentations of professionals that are intelligent, well-put-together, level-headed, and usually good-looking, such as the businessmen of Mad Men , lawyers and detectives on Law and Order or the CSI series, or doctors on any medical show besides Scrubs. Despite the continual prevalence of these characters, the “buffoon” is no longer transcribed solely to the working-class,
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but is now a character prominent throughout all classes. For example Kevin Nealon’s character in the first two seasons of Weeds is an upper-middle-class accountant and city councilman, who is also a bumbling idiot who loves smoking pot. In Weeds the “buffoon” is not a bus-driver or nuclear-power plant worker, but a man with a high-earning professional position. There are
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COMM 140 Middle and Upper-Class Buffoon Paper - Jake Unger...

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