chapter  3
Class and gender through seven decades of american television sitcoms
ByRichard Butsch
Pages 15

This chapter focuses on the remarkable persistence and stability of stereotypes over seven decades about the working class. It explains the representation of the working class across the broad television landscape to reveal how American television sitcoms, watched by tens of millions every night, reproduce and reinforce stereotypes of social class. Hollywood and Americans have become more adrift than ever about class without the old class categories. As an additional and unplanned bonus, the spouses and children in domestic settings capture gender and age relations as facets used to reinforce class representations. The chapter also focuses on the representations of two classes, a working class of manual labor occupations with little work autonomy, and an upper-middle class with managerial and professional occupations. These two constitute about ninety percent of all domestic sitcoms. Representation of class in domestic sitcoms begins with the relative frequency and visibility of different classes.