66. Tagung der Deutsche Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien 2018

Aktivität: Wissenschaftliche und künstlerische VeranstaltungenKonferenzenForschung

Sabrina Völz - Sprecher*in

Overcoming Barriers to Politically-Themed Content in the Sitcom Black-ish

Many viewers watch sitcoms to see glimpses of their own lives on television through the lens of humor and to be entertained. In fact, the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s were devoted to the theme of escapism.

Until recently, there have only been a few sitcoms that dared to engage in politics, and if they did there was often a price to pay. Although there has been some success in politicizing the scripts of animated sitcoms, such as The Simpsons, and Bojack Horseman, non-animated sitcoms on commercial network TV have mostly not followed suit. Fearing the backlash of advertisers or viewers, network television seems to be another factor that that has curbed the development of political content in situation comedy. After all, ABC is owned by Disney. With a few exceptions, sitcom features have also remained much the same over the years, features that have not made the genre conducive to stark political criticism. 
Black-ish (2014- ) is a sitcom about an upper-class advertising executive, his biracial wife who is also a successful doctor as well as their parents and children. In contrast to The Cosby Show, to which it has been compared, Black-ish deals directly with some form of race and/or racial relations in every episode. In this paper, I will briefly introduce the show and then demonstrate how Black-ish has refused to be limited by genre conventions, political correctness, Donald Trump’s tweets, and even its own network.

66. Tagung der Deutsche Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien 2018


66. Tagung der Deutsche Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien 2018: U.S.-American Culture als Popular Culture


Hamburg, Deutschland

Veranstaltung: Konferenz