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May 1993


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BRIAN TAVES <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 6 May 1993 16:03:16 GMT
text/plain (26 lines)
          Pam--While this  is  not  directly responsive  to  your  request,
          perhaps it  will  give  some ideas.  I believe the  single father
          sitcoms you have noticed are part  of  a broader motif, extending
          beyond simply either television or  comedy, making  a fundamental
          statement  about  Hollywood's  typical  construction  of   gender
          importance and  family  needs. Whether  the  sitcoms  and  others
          mentioned, or dramas, or countless Disney films, we are presented
          with  an "essential" family that consists of father-and-children.
          Mothers and motherhood are simply absent, rarely even considered;
          these basic father-and-children families find themselves entirely
          self  sufficient without  even  considering  the  possibility  of
          feminine influence.It seems a  way  of reducing the feminine even
          beyond a subordinate role until it vanishes
          altogether.Ironically, this seems  most frequent in entertainment
          directed at children (ie, Flipper), and  I recall being struck as
          a child myself in the 60s by the prevelance of this theme. Almost
          never, at that time, did  I  see  a reversal that concentrated on
          the single mother. This  also  seems  to  go beyond  the possible
          budgetary consideration of minimizing the number of cast, since a
          long-running  series  needs  fuller  relationships.  Forgive  the
          informality  of   these  ideas,  without  supplying  titles   and
          annotations. Brian  Taves,  Motion  Picture Division, Library  of
          My ideas do not reflect the Library or Division.