Paper3 - Liz Zharovsky Instructor Plunkett Comedy &...

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Liz Zharovsky Instructor Plunkett 19 December 2011 It’s Sometimes Sunny in Society Throughout history, comedy has arisen in a variety of forms, from tragicomedies to dramedies to sitcoms. Diverse genres of comedy exist within different types of comedy, such as the constantly growing field of comedy known as edgy comedy. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of edgy is “having a bold, provocative, or unconventional quality,” which pertains perfectly to the television program It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia . It veers away from a traditional sitcom and epitomizes the new generation of sitcoms, where the main characters do not necessarily have familial relations nor do they have to be likable people. The storyline of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia follows “The Gang” of Mac, twins Dennis and Dee, Charlie, and Frank, the unethical owners and employees of their subpar bar in Philadelphia, Paddy’s Pub. Popular culture expert Matthew Henry claims that since the 1990’s “[sitcoms] incorporated real- world problems into their stories” (266). The program defines a 21 st century sitcom, in that the characters’ humorous interactions satirize realistic American issues. The provocative and bizarre nature of the sitcom both bolsters and hinders the success of the show, as a distinct fan base developed alongside opposition to the situations in each episode. Sociology professors Lisa A. Barnett and Michael Patrick Allen claim that upper class people expose themselves to more artistic film, while the lower tends to watch mainstream film (161). As America’s population consists of a so-called melting pot, the societal and cultural differences among people influence their perceptions of humor.
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Each episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia begins identically: a glimpse into the content of the episode, followed by the title of the episode and the distinctly silly jingle of the opening credits. Most often, the introductory scene ends on an awkward or unsettling note, which then turns comical with the sole sound of the jingle. The first episode, titled “The Gang Gets Racist”, exemplifies the lengths to which the writers are willing to go to push boundaries, as they began a new show with an extremely controversial central theme of racism. The opening scene of the episode shows Dee asking Mac, Dennis, and Charlie to act normal because she has a friend coming to the bar to see her workplace. Soon, a black man comes through the door of the bar, and the three white men become cautious and unsure of what to expect. When they realize that the black man is Dee’s friend, they attempt to cover up their obvious assumptions about black people by talking over one another to collectively prove their acceptance of black people in their bar. The scene ends with Mac making the tension considerably higher by saying, “We didn’t expect you to be black” (The Gang Gets Racist). The black audience could possibly find such a
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Paper3 - Liz Zharovsky Instructor Plunkett Comedy &...

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