Situating the Comedy: Celebrating 50 Years of the American Situation Comedy, 1947-1997
Friday September 26th 1997, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Conferences

September 26-27, 1997

“Situating the Comedy” was an interdisciplinary, international conference sponsored by the Bowling Green Center for Popular Culture Studies, the Department of Popular Culture, and the Browne Library of Bowling Green State University. “Situating the Comedy” explored the resilience of the TV sitcom while at the same time promoting a greater humanistic and intellectual understanding of it. Panels and presentations shed light on multiple aspects of the television situation comedy, encompassing TV sitcoms in diverse international cultures as well as the United States.

Conference Program

Wednesday, September 24, 1997
7:00-10:00 p.m. – Screening, Film: M*A*S*H (1970)
An antiwar comedy feature film released during the height of American engagement in Vietnam, starring Elliot Gould, Donald Sutherland, and Sally Kellerman.
Courtesy of UAO Campus Film Committee
Thursday, September 25, 1997
7:30-9:30 p.m. – Screening, TV Sitcoms
Pilot episodes–Gilligan’s Island (CBS, 1964-1967), Hogan’s Heroes (CBS, 1965-1971), Martin (Fox, 1992-1997), Family Matters (ABC, 1989-1997; CBS, 1997), Boy Meets World (ABC, 1993- )
Courtesy of WTV5 (Toledo, Ohio)
Friday, September 26, 1997
9:00-10:30 a.m. – Concurrent Session #1
Title: Military Sitcoms of the 60s and 70s
Chair: Ms. Mary Kay Sanford, Riverbend Communications, Inc., Toledo, Ohio
Commentator: Jamie Farr (“Klinger” of M*A*S*H)
“Social History and the Situation Comedy: War and Militarism in M*A*S*H,” James H. Wittebols, Department of Communication Studies, Niagara University
“M*A*S*H and M*A*S*H: Radical Film Making and Liberal Television,” Ron Briley, Department of History, Sandia Preparatory School
“My War Was Funnier Than Yours; or, How Did Gomer Pyle Avoid Vietnam?: Military Sitcoms and the War in Vietnam: A Cultural Anomaly,” Stephen H. Wheeler, Department of History, Northeast State Technical Community College
9:00-10:30 a.m. – Concurrent Session #2
Title: Race, Class, and Gender in Sitcoms
Chair: Dr. Shirley A. Jackson, Department of Ethnic Studies, Bowling Green State University
“Black Women in White Sitcoms,” Brenda Fite, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
“Race, Class, and Gender in The Cosby Show and Cosby,” Deidra D. Donmoyer and Mary E. Stairs, Department of Interpersonal Communication, Bowling Green State University
“The Effective Diva: Representations of Blackness, Gayness, and Activism in Spin City,” Michael D. Lyde, Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Concurrent Session #3
Chair: Dr. Richard Knecht, Department of Communications, University of Toledo
Title: The Schlemiel and the Schlimazel: Sitcoms that Break the Conventions Yet Affirm Jewish Ethnic Roots
“Portrayal of Jews in Television Sitcoms as Seen in The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Nanny,” Gene Chintala, Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Bowling Green State University
“All That’s New Is Old Again: Seinfeld’s Unconventional Use of Comedic Conventions,” Jennifer Germann, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
“Bizarro Jerry: Seinfeld as the Anti-Sitcom,” Julio Rodriguez, American Culture Studies Program, Bowling Green State University
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Concurrent Session #4
Title: Education and Sitcoms
Chair: Dr. Shelby Pierce, Department of Communications/Humanities, Owens Community College
“Using Television Situation Comedies to Teach Gender Communication,” Rebecca Dumlao, Department of Agricultural Journalism, University of Wisconsin, Madison
“I Will Not Mock Mrs. Dumbface: Education and the Sitcom,” Mary E. Reeves, College of Education, Northwestern State University of Louisiana
2:00-3:30 p.m. – Concurrent Session #5
Title: African American Sitcoms
Chair: Jeannie Ludlow, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
“The Boys at the Beanerie: Poststructuralism as It Relates to Black Masculinity on Frank’s Place,” Darrell Mottley Newton, Department of Communication Arts/Cultural Studies, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
“Angry African American Voices: The Black Situation Comedy as Mediated Cultural Violence, An Audience-Oriented Ethnography,” Robin R. Means Coleman, Department of Communication, University of Pittsburgh
“Breaking the Mold: The Representation of Black Women in Television Sitcoms,” Rachel S. Barta, Department of Special Education, Bowling Green State University
2:00-3:30 p.m. – Concurrent Session #6
Title: Cartoons, Fantasy and Sitcoms
Chair: Alison M. Scott, Browne Library, Bowling Green State University
“Unidentified Sitcom-like Objects: Saturday Morning, Krofft, and the Strange Case of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters,” Michael G. Robinson, American Culture Studies Program, Bowling Green State University
“Dexter’s Laboratory: Dexter–Pint-sized Cartoon Kid, Mad Scientists, Beset Brother, and His Comic Conventions,” Kristin Ladnier, American Culture Studies Program, Bowling Green State University
“Lacan avec Beavis & Butthead,” Brent Adkins, Department of Philosophy, Loyola University, Chicago
4:00-5:30 p.m. – Concurrent Session #7
Title: International TV Sitcoms
Chair: Vida Penezic, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
“From Britcom to Sitcom: Norman Lear and the Processes of Transnational Communication,” Jeffrey S. Miller, Department of American Studies, Michigan State University
“The Sitcom in Africa,” Klevor Abo, American Culture Studies Program, Bowling Green State University
4:00-5:30 p.m. – Concurrent Session #8
Title: Women in Sitcoms
Chair: Christopher D. Geist, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
“TV Misogyny: Sitcom Sexism: Reviewing the Status of Women Characters in Situational Comedy,” Mary hricko, Department of English, Kent State University, Geauga Campus
“From Family Affair to Life’s Work: The Representation of the (M)other in the Situation Comedy,” Romi Stepovich, Department of Film & Television, Critical Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
“The Screaming Mimis: A New Female Character,” Rachel Berens, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
7:00-8:15 p.m. – Plenary Address
Dr. Mary Beth Haralovich, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Media, University of Arizona-Tucson
Introduction of Speaker: Dr. Ray B. Browne, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
Title of Address: “Honey, I’m Home!: Class and Ethnicity in 1950’s Domestic Family Comedies”
8:30-10 p.m. – Panel Discussion, Northwest Ohio Broadcast and Cable Television General Managers and Promotions Directors
Title: The Organization and Operation of Television in America at the Local and National Levels
Moderator: Marlene Harris-Taylor, WBGU-TV Channel 27, Public Affairs Host/Producer
Panelists: Nancy S. Duwve, General Manager, WTV5
Patrick Fitzgerald, General Manager, WBGU-TV Channel 27
Ellen Jackson, Promotions and Marketing Director, Buckeye CableSystem
Matt Laws, Director of Marketing and Promotion, WUPW Fox 36
Bruce A. Opperman, General manager, WLIO-35 Lima TV
Larry Scudder, General Manager, Wood CableComm
Bill Sheehan, Creative Services Director, WUPW Fox 36
Mel Stebbins, General Manager, WTOL-TV Toledo 11
Saturday, September 27, 1997
9:00-10:15 a.m. – Concurrent Session #9
Title: Undergraduate Student Responses to Family Matters and Living Single
Chair: Angela M. S. Nelson, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
Kara Obermyer, Creative Writing/Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
Lakeesha Harper, Psychology, Bowling Green State University
9:00-10:15 a.m. – Concurrent Session #10
Title: British TV Sitcoms
Chair: Alison M. Scott, Browne Library, Bowling Green State University
“Fawlty? What’s Wrong with Him?: Sources of Humor in Fawlty Towers,” Cynthia Perantoni, Department of English, Youngstown State University
10:30-11:45 a.m. – Concurrent Session #11
Title: Undergraduate Student Responses to Family Matters and Martin
Chair: Angela M. S. Nelson, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
Sarah Williams, Undecided, Bowling Green State University
Michael Brewster, Political Science/Aerotechnology, Bowling Green State University
Liz Delzani, Actuarial Science, Bowling Green State University
Rashawn Williams, Telecommunications, Bowling Green State University
Tiffany Terrell, Interpersonal Communications, Bowling Green State University
Karin Lockwood, Elementary Education, Bowling Green State University
Carrie Cain, Communications, Bowling Green State University
10:30-11:45 a.m. – Concurrent Session #12
Title: Sitcoms in New Settings
Chair: Douglas Ferguson, Department of Telecommunications, Bowling Green State University
“sit.com: The Presence of Situation Comedies on the World Wide Web,” David Sedman, Department of Communication Arts, Southern Methodist University
“My Favorite Martian: Trapped in a World He Never Made,” Randall Clark, Department of Communications, Pfeiffer University
1:30-2:45 p.m. – Concurrent Session #13 – Community Suite
Title: Self-Reflexivity and Cultural Reality in 50s Sitcoms
Chair: Mary Beth Haralovich, Department of Media, University of Arizona, Tucson
“From Burns & Benny to Garry & Larry: A Discussion of the History and Development of the Show-within-a-Show and the Self-Reflexive Sitcom,” Rebecca Zisch, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio
“Redeeming the Beaver: Leave It to Beaver as Cultural Reality,” Michael B. Kassel, Department of History, Michigan State University
1:30-2:45 p.m. – Concurrent Session #14
Title: Age, Gender, and Sitcoms
Chair: Nancy S. Duwve, General Manager, WTV5
“X Marks What’s Not: The Media Culture’s Perpetuation of Stereotypes of Generation X in Sitcoms,” Kriss Ferluga, American Culture Studies Program, Bowling Green State University
“Little Big Men: The Little Man in Contemporary Situation Comedy,” Brent Malin, Department of Communication Studies, University of Iowa
“Television Portrayals of Aging on Golden Girls,” Debbie Owens, Department of Journalism, Bowling Green State University
3:30-4:45 p.m. – Concurrent Session #15
Title: American Ethnic Sitcoms
Chair: Michael T. Martin, Department of Ethnic Studies, Bowling Green State University
“Sorry About the Margaret Cho Show!: Reality, Ideology, and Television in the Case of All-American Girl,” Hsiu-chen Lin, Department of Theatre and Drama, Northwestern University
“Pasta, Passion, Power: Italian Ethnicity and the Sitcom,” Charles Coletta, American Culture Studies Program, Bowling Green State University
“Black Sitcoms of the 1990s: Friend or Foe?” Tina M. Harris, Department of Interpersonal Communication, Bowling Green State University
3:30-4:45 p.m. – Concurrent Session #16
Title: Postmodernism and Sitcoms
Chair: Christopher D. Geist, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
“Postmodern Power Plays: Analyzing the Mixed Signals on Home Improvement,” Barbara Knop Karman, Department of English, Youngstown State University “’Whaddya Say, Cosmo? Everything, My Man!’: A Freudo-Rousseauean Perspective on Seinfeld’s Kramer,” Liam Harte, Department of Philosophy, Loyola University, Chicago
“A Semiotic Analysis of the Humor in Sitcoms: ‘Chuckles Bites the Dust’ Episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” Salvatore Attardo, Department of English, Youngstown State University
5:00-6:15 p.m. – Concurrent Session #17
Title: Sitcom Producers
Chair: Jeannie Ludlow, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
“From Studio to Production Mill: The Amazing Recycling Career of Tom Miller,” Leigh Kennicott, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Colorado
“Bunker Mentalities: The Sitcom in the 70s,” Josh Ozersky, Department of History, University of Notre Dame
5:00-6:15 p.m. – Concurrent Session #18
Title: Fantasy Sitcoms
Chair: Vida Penezic, Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University
“’Love’: A Bewitched Resolution,” Todd Stigliano, Department of English, Youngstown State University
8:00-9:15 p.m. – Keynote Address
Mr. Jamie Farr, “Corporal Max Klinger” of the television series M*A*S*H (ABC, 1972-1983)
9:30-11:00 p.m. – Screenings
TV series M*A*S*H–First episode to feature Jamie Farr as “Klinger”
TV Sitcoms: Pilot Episodes–Designing women (CBS, 1986-1993), A Different World (NBC, 1987-1993), Murphy Brown (CBS, 1988- )
Color Adjustment
The Brady Bunch Movie