Job Precariousness in Sitcoms

In many sitcoms, characters often suffer the consequences of job precariousness. This includes being underpaid, taking jobs they hate, or losing their jobs altogether.
Almost the entire cast of Friends, Jess from New Girl, Britta or Jeff from Community, or the Roses from Schitt’s Creek are just some examples.

An article looking at how these scenarios play out in T.V. could be an insightful read. Are they accurate depictions of real life, or do they diminish the real-world anxiety of this aspect of life? Is it enough to simply allude to homelessness or not being able to make rent, or should a show force its characters to endure this? You could offer a comparison of shows that do this well and shows that, perhaps, do not do this so well.

You could offer an assessment regarding the impact this has on viewers, and contextualise the shows within both their setting and time of release.

  • It would be worth expanding this topic to examine and analyse similar scenarios in sitcoms from around the world. In this way, a comparison could be made between varying cultural values and institutional attitudes towards low paid workers. – Amyus 2 years ago
  • I think contextualizing the shows based on time of release is a good idea. Specifically, comparing the perception of unemployment in shows through every decade or during periods of financial downturn could be particularly interesting. – huiwong 2 years ago
  • It is interesting how you pay attention to this specific feature in sitcoms. Writers might also look into how job precariousness help to develop the plot, to make the plot fitting to sitcoms. – Heather Ka Man Chung 2 years ago
  • I have noticed that it seems far more of an element where the characters are if a grittier sort of Everyman: someone more working class. This would not be so much in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (for example). – J.D. Jankowski 2 years ago
  • Good one! I just submitted a topic about how sitcoms evolve in general, and this could be part of that or an article on its own. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
  • This is so interesting. I think building off of Amyus and Huiwong's comment, it is really interesting to think of in the context of the working class. You could go at this through a lens of the levels of realism in character being fine without jobs, getting jobs easily, or living at a comfort level well of the range of their job. These are all obvious but it would be interesting to look at the way unemployment in the times of covid have given higher stakes for viewers watching this sitcom. – skruse 2 years ago

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