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February 1997, Week 4


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Leslie Zupan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 08:25:20 -0500
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In a message dated 97-02-25 23:20:46 EST, Chris Pyle write:
<< If Basil Fawlty were an American, he would be forced to rediscover
 his love for Sybil and to see how much he depends on Manuel. >>
Even within American sitcoms there are differences of tone, although this may
owe a lot to the length of the season and the show's longevity.  Whenever
writers exhaust most of the twists and turns inherent in the situation itself
(a night court, a radio station in the midwest, a field hospital in Korea, a
bigot at home, etc.), they begin to turn to popular "messages."  Watch your
weight and cholesterol, get a mammogram, drugs and alcohol are bad, rape
isn't the victim's fault, etc. etc. etc.
In short, this is part of the characteristic American fervor for
self-improvement and  regeneration (not to mention the love for preaching
unto others) -- something that is still pretty foreign to British culture.
 "Cheers" was one of the few American sitcoms that never gave in to this
trend and continued to draw its humor  from the personalities and quirks of
its characters.  And that's where I think there is a certain link to British
sitcoms -- the British shows rejoice in the crankiness and individuality of
their characters.
Leslie Z.
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