entrenched and, instead, views them as constructed and, perhaps
even in the best of circumstances, of limited utility. It does not
surprise me that many of their essays raise questions about lines
drawn in the proverbial sand lines intended to demarcate
conventions of the genre, platforms for distribution, appropriate
language, racial identity, old age, gender identity, mental health, and
more and look for meaning(s) and purpose on either side of the
(constructed) line.
I find this collection of essays inspiring and useful. It is my
intention to include Student Essays on Contemporary Sitcoms as a
supplemental text for upcoming sections every time I teach Culture
and the Sitcom. What better way could there be to help students
understand the value of their own research and writing than by
taking seriously the scholarship of other students? What better way
could there be for me to take seriously my commitment to
reciprocal learning than by giving you the opportunity to encounter
and interrogate the fresh perspectives of the students featured in
this volume? Just as the situation comedy reinvents itself to remain
a meaningful part of the media landscape, so must we as fans and
readers pay attention to the useful insights of young scholars
making their own contributions to the literature on the ubiquitous
sitcom. After all, it is our stories that transmit our culture, tell us
what it means to be human, and show us our place in the world.
Within these popular stories, many an important truth and
sometimes a hidden truth is revealed in laughter.
*Kyle Denlinger and Benjamin Ellentuck have been instrumental
in constructing the companion website.
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