A (mostly) verbal analysis

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Each student will select a half-hour TV comedy and analyze its use of humor. Elements of the analysis include:

  1. Recaps of five sitcom episodes.
    • Choose any half-hour comedy.
    • Write short, one-paragraph summaries of episodes' plots.
      • Here is an example from IMDb, using the Bunheads episode we watched: "Michelle finds a "new" local coffee shop with an award winning barista. After frequenting the shop a few times, she manages to upset the barista & their personalities clash. Fanny is on the search for a dancer to portray Clara in the Nutcracker since Sasha is gone, but is finding it difficult to replace her. The girls are exhausted from the extra rehearsals & decide to go see a basketball game to watch Sasha cheer. Boo realizes she has a crush on Charlie & wants to tell him but, it might be too late. With the opening of a new grocery store canceled, Michelle decides it's time to protest.—Carrie DeCosta"
    • Post to your Blackboard journal. One recap is due each week, starting October 11th.
  2. Oral presentation and written analysis of your sitcom.
    1. Identify the show's narrative problematic.
      • Discuss how it plays out in two specific episodes (using the recaps for reference).
    2. Discuss of specific examples of theories of humor: superiority, relief/release, and incongruity.
      • Explain the theories of humor first and then provide at least two examples for each theory.
      • Use the analysis of Modern Family in The Sitcom as a model for analysis. (PDF on Blackboard under the title, "Butler, Jeremy. "Introduction: Comedy Genre, Humor Theory," The Sitcom".)
    • Present your findings to the class during the week before Thanksgiving (11/15 and 11/17).
      • Groups A & B on November 15th, Groups C & D on November 17th.
    • Collect your findings into a 1,500-word essay and submit it via Blackboard/TurnItIn. Due Friday, 11/18, 11:59 p.m.
    • Worth 45 points.