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tv   History of the Sitcom  CNN  November 27, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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saying. >> the next step is showing these authentic portrayals, layered portrayals. >> because, yes, we gravitate toward people who are like us, but they don't have to be exactly like us in order to create these really profound friendships and communities. >> i never check my bags. i can't stand that baggage area. >> it's good to laugh at it, to get it all out on the table.
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you have to go back to your seat. our show should be a show without classes. ch. >> we would engage in class warfare. >> do you realize people are getting? >> hmm. >> that is not a show about nothing. >> revenue. >> i've been gotten.
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>> hey, team, are stuck. >> the american dream is not the reality for most americans. >> i tell you boys. life is crazy. i hope these doors open up for you. except they're not really doors. they're trap door. >> the american sitcom is how we tell stories about class. >> what are we going to do? what are we going to live on until this layoff is over? suppose it does last a month. >> well, we just gotta face it. we just have to cut down, cut out this high living. >> "the honeymooners" was an example of the idea of class and struggle and what it was like to be a family who didn't have a lot. >> you don't know how to handle money! >> of course i don't. i never had any practice. >> these were people born with blue collars.
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lower middle class people that could do regular things but didn't have a lot of money. >> in the 1950s you had a major push to move out to suburbia. >> and consumerism. you have all these perfect family sitcoms with these housewives in it and new nice gadgets in the kitchen. >> now. >> but "the honeymooners" lived in a two-room little cold water flat. >> people were so worried that they couldn't afford curtains, they kept sending curtains to the sound stage. >> jackie gleason was always hoping to have the get rich quick scheme. >> come on, norton, i've only got two days to learn how to play golf! >> wait a minute. >> when ralph kramden learns how to golf, he is hoping to ascend his social class position. >> plant your feet firmly on the ground and address the ball. >> but as many of us know, that golf is really reserved for another class of people in america. >> what do they mean by address the ball?
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>> hello, ball. >> when people are struggling and they see an underdog, you're rooting for that guy. >> who is our next guest, please? mr. ralph kramden! >> the "name that tune" episode is so potent. >> i intend to go straight on, forge ahead to the $99,000 answer. >> oh, i'll go on a game show and i will have enough money to get some breathing room to finally achieve my dreams. >> who is the composer of "swanee river"? >> hum-a, hum-a, hum-a -- >> time's running out. >> i felt so bad when he would set up some scheme and it was about to fall apart. >> terribly sorry, mr. kramden. no, the correct answer is stephen foster. but thanks so much. >> time and again he'd do everything possible. only to be torn down to his basic frailty. >> you want to go to the moon? do you want to go to the moon? >> really?
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you're going to hit him? >> that's a husband who's trying to rage and be the boss of his wife. he was what we would call borderline abusive these days. >> get my stuff! >> but it never bothered me as a kid because she was not afraid of him. >> get it yourself! >> the guy was clearly buffeted every day by things but held up always by this love he had with this wonderful woman. >> i learned something tonight too. i don't even mind growing old. as long as you and i grow old together. >> that was an american experience that 100 million people could identify with. >> baby? you're the greatest. >> we like to think of ourselves as a classless society. and in post-war america, that was more true than ever. but at the same time, there are all these little tells. there's obviously your job. what kind of house you live in. what kind of clothes you wear. what kind of car you drive. >> hey, gomer. >> hey, al. >> but one of the biggest tells
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for class was actually a southern accent. >> can i use your hose? >> air's free. we do make a charge for ice, though. >> that north/south divide became an inspiration for all of these rural sitcoms. ♪ >> the whistled theme to "the andy griffith show" coupled with that bucolic image of andy and opie makes you think of small-town americana in a simpler time. >> anybody ready for some lunch? >> oh, we sure are. >> oh, boy! >> "the andy griffith show." that was another whole camp. >> here you are. >> the comfort food aspect of sitcoms. >> you do like pickles, don't you? >> oh, sure. who don't? >> andy griffith was a small town sheriff. didn't have a lot of money, and they were kind of like simple. >> going into the competition
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after all. guess what i'm going to enter these pickles. >> these? >> these. >> these? >> these. >> that was like a fantasy of a world and an america in which race and class just kind of didn't exist. >> jennifer, miss clarabell. >> andy! >> it was probably the whitest show on television. i mean, there are no black people in mayberry. if they are, they're passing through. and if you blinked, you missed them. >> they're okay, pa, they all flew off okay. guess i did a good job, huh, pa? >> you sure did, son. >> the show immediately hit the top ten. it rated higher in the rural parts of the country. the main producer sheldon leonard famously said, "you can take new york. you can take l.a." you know, "give me the corn belt." this blue collar versus white collar class divide extended to the critical reception that shows received in the 1960s.
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"the dick van dyke show," they're wearing suits, they're in the big city. got a trunkload of emmys. and "the andy griffith show" got almost none. >> you can't live up to your potential here. in a big city, you have room to grow. you live a different kind of life. >> and that right there shows you the class divide in america. >> how can life be that much different if you're happy? ♪ ♪ make more holiday at lowe's. get the samsung smart dial washer that learns and recommends your favorite cycles. wash and dry in under an hour with super speed. black friday is back, and with it, the deals.
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this administration declares unconditional war on poverty in america. >> in the 1960s you're seeing a lot of conflict between the north and the south, issues of economics between the rich and the poor, and you see television using a show like "the beverly hillbillies" to really comment on these things that are happening in society. ♪ come and listen to the story about a man named jed ♪ ♪ a poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed ♪ >> i remember the opening sequence to that show. ♪ then one day she was shooting at some food ♪ ♪ up through the ground come some bubbling crude ♪ >> the premise itself was so funny and smart. ♪ the first thing you know old jed's a millionaire ♪ ♪ the kinfolk said jed, move away from there ♪ ♪ said california is the place you ought to be ♪ ♪ so they loaded up the truck and they moved to beverly ♪ >> well, here we are. i hope you're going to like this place i picked out for you. >> like hitting the lottery. it's like that idea that we all
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kind of wished life would happen for us. >> uncle jed. guess what? there's a whole other house up here. >> absolutely loved "the beverly hillbillies." the typical fish out of water. >> granny, when we's done washing can i go swimming here in the cement pond? >> course not. >> "the beverly hillbillies" is a commentary on upward mobility and the consumerism that comes with it. >> yes, sir, mr. drysdale, i finally took your advice and put some of my money in stock. >> these hillbillies, even though they might come across as lower class, they're happy with the way that they've been living their lives. >> i couldn't believe how frustrated i was. they had this stupid old car that blew smoke and i'm going, get a better car! ♪ oh, i'm gonna cook up a rabbit stew ♪ ♪ soon as jethro shoots me one or two ♪ >> one episode involved granny mistaking a kangaroo for a giant jackrabbit. >> howdy, mr. jackrabbit.
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>> she wanted to cook it. >> would you like to step into my kitchen? >> it is to this day the highest-rated half hour episode of television. >> middle america fell in love with "the beverly hillbillies." it spawned another television series with cbs. ♪ ♪ da, da, da, da, da ♪ ♪ da, da, da, da, da ♪ ♪ green acres ♪ ♪ is the place to be ♪ ♪ farm living is the life for me ♪ ♪ you are my wife good-bye city life ♪ ♪ green acres, we are there ♪ >> it's just absurd and ridiculous. >> look at that floor. that's solid oak. >> "green acres" was about a man and a woman living on fifth avenue, and he decides he's
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going to be a farmer. >> oliver! >> yeah? >> there is somebody here to see you from the state department. >> i'll be right down. >> darling. mr. kimble would have waited. you should have used the ladder. >> "green acres" is the kind of show america loves. and cbs thinks, well, we can do more of these rural characters. >> yeah. the rural comedies. "petticoat junction." >> means some really silly funny stuff. ♪ hee-haw hee-haw ♪ >> but the characters were caricatures of rural people. it became very hokey. >> you're looking at people sitting in their high-rise offices in new york showing the north what they thought the people in the south were. >> they all had pretty high ratings, and cbs became known as the country broadcasting system. >> but in the late '60s, ratings
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and demographic tools improved significantly. networks are able to see the ages, the education level, what kinds of jobs the people who are viewing the shows have. >> so the more they could refine that, the more the advertisers wanted young, professional, wealthy people. >> in 1970, cbs begins what is both affectionately and derogatively known as the rural purge. >> they canceled all those shows that had huge ratings on cbs. >> and norman lear arrived to take their place with realistic shows about working-class people in the big city. >> your father lost his job today. >> oh, there goes the old ball game. >> "all in the family" was able to deal with some stuff that was going on in contemporary society through the lens of comedy.
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>> when the going gets tough they say that's when the tough get going. and that's me. tough. right? >> yeah. >> yeah, right. >> so what's the problem? >> so what are you going to do, daddy? >> well, that's the problem. >> norman lear is interested in class as a primary driver of storytelling in american life. >> this is an eviction notice. >> ain't nothing to worry about -- >> what are you talking about? they're saying they're going to throw us out today! >> we have a recession at the beginning of the '70s. the working class, now more than ever before, are facing the crunch of economic anxiety. >> you worked all night and all they paid you was $6? >> mm-mm. they paid me a lot more. but after they got finished taking out the federal withholding, the state withholding, the unemployment compensation, you know something, baby, if i'd worked for them a few more hours i'd end up owing them ten bucks. >> he was doing anything he could to work and make money to
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pay the rent and put food on the table. >> then in the mid-'70s things begin to shift with "the jeffersons." ♪ well, we're movin' on up ♪ ♪ movin' on up ♪ ♪ to the top ♪ ♪ moving on up ♪ >> "jeffersons" was groundbreaking. successful black man. had never really saw that. >> la, la, la, la, la! >> it was an explosive thing for norman lear to say, wake up, now this. >> both y'all live here? >> mm-hmm. some place, ain't it? >> i didn't know the jeffersons had a couple. >> a couple of what? >> a maid and a butler. you two. >> we're talking people who are living above their station. >> hold it, diane. we are the jeffersons. >> hey, you right, louise, he's a great joker! >> he's not joking, diane.
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your future isn't gloomy. you're overlooking a simple solution that's so obvious. i'm surprised you haven't thought of it yourself. >> well, child, lay it on me. >> in the 1970s if you're a woman, the optimism is eroding in america. >> tell her, helen. >> well, maybe you could win a lottery. or something. >> you're aware that the equal rights amendment still has not passed. >> i would like to know why the last associate producer before me made $50 a week more than i do. >> oh. because he was a man. >> so i think the '70s is a reality check on whether or not the american dream is available for women. ♪ early to rise, early to bed ♪ >> come on, we're going to be late to school. >> i haven't figured out your tip yet. >> well, figure this. 15% of nothing is nothing. good-bye, i love you.
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>> until "alice" there hadn't been a single mother in a low-income job. >> now, i know this is asking a lot, but i need ten bucks a week extra to pay for tommy's braces. >> you know the refrigerator's on the blink and i've got to come up with $800 just to replace it. >> fighting for health care. fighting for benefits. >> the refrigerator comes first! because if i close down, you're going to be out of work. and if you're out of work, you can't buy food. in which case tommy doesn't need teeth anyway. >> there's a particular episode where mel decides he wants to hire a guy to be a waiter. >> mel is paying him $2.50 an hour. >> we only get $2.35. don't we? >> well, that makes me good and damn mad! >> and alice wanted to be right, and she wanted to be strong, and she wanted to be the leader. >> we work here. we do the same work. >> oh, don't give me that women's lib junk. >> junk.
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well, in that case you can run it without me and flo and vera, because we quit. >> he tried to run the diner without us. >> i'm going over to barney's burger barn and get some decent service. >> what about these eggs? don't you -- >> and it wasn't possible. >> on behalf of alice, vera and myself, kiss my grits! >> what do you say? >> when i was invited to speak for the votes that were being taken to pass the equal rights amendment, i thought, how do i do this? so it occurred to me to wear the "alice" uniform. because they knew her. and they were her. >> i hope that all of the alices who work unprotected will carry the message to their bosses that we want and we have earned our economic rights. [ applause ] >> in the '70s you can talk about the women's movement. but in the '80s, you've got reagan. >> government is not the solution to our problem. government is the problem.
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>> you've got "family ties" with alex p. keaton as the ultimate reagan fanboy. >> what is taxes? >> a tax is a terrible, hairy, liberal monster. the only thing that can stop the terrible tax monster is a republican. >> america was taking a conservative turn in a big way. and networks were chasing that kind of high-gloss aspirational fantasy. >> and you see that reflected in something like a "fresh prince of bel air." ♪ >> yo, this place is huge, man. next time i go to my room, i'm taking some bread crumbs. >> young kid thrown into wealth. it's a great bed for comedy and conflict. >> we promised your mother that you're here to work hard, straighten out and learn some good old-fashioned american values. >> dad, i need $300. >> so the '80s were really
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associated with excess and with wealth. but "roseanne" would upend this fantasy vision of upper middle-class life. >> wait a minute. my cereal at home is the name brand. >> no, see, it's just a name brand box and i've been refilling it with the cheap stuff since 1985. >> one of the things that is extraordinary about "roseanne" is that in many ways it mirrors "the honeymooners." it's a very simple show. main set is the kitchen. it's somewhat gritty and somewhat dark. and it has extraordinary acting. >> bull, bull. >> picking at me and making little cracks! >> we always make little cracks. we always make little jokes. that's how we are! that's how we get along so well! >> the "roseanne" show was about a close-knit family set in lanford, illinois. >> are you ever sorry we got married? >> every second of my life.
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>> juggling three growing kids, juggling jobs. >> well, you little ladies enjoying your lunch? >> well, the veal is tres bien. and how is your swordfish? >> as usual, the food is to die for. but the ambience stinks. >> that show was so fully in regular normal midwestern life. >> phone bill. >> "roseanne" was reflective of the average american family. it was masterfully done. >> you're messing up my system, roseanne. >> what system? you pay the ones marked final notice, and you throw the rest away. >> she wasn't educated. she couldn't fit in. >> i think of an episode where roseanne got a new job. >> yes. we use the tangerine tree. you can do anything. >> good. maybe it can teach me how to use a computer. >> you mean you've never worked on a computer at wellman? >> i worked on my feet at
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wellman. >> she was fired, and she had to go back to just being a waitress. it's really a sad look at life in the '80s where the roseannes of the world are just left behind. >> i did let my family down, and you know it and i know it. that hurts. it hurts real bad, deb. >> because of what's gone on with roseanne recently, i think people tend to forget she changed the idea of what a woman could be on television. what a mom could be on television. what a wife could be on television. she changed that. >> hey. >> what? >> get a job.
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we all know why i'm here. you know matt can't be left alone for ten minutes without falling on his ass. frasier got stuck with me. isn't that right? >> no! >> no! >> no! >> in the '90s we got a lot of sitcoms geared toward whole family viewing. and they shied away from the whole political nature of the 1970s. >> every item here was carefully selected. the lamp by corbu. the chair by eams. >> because social class is part of someone's identity that everyone can relate to, it's one of the ways that sitcoms can reach the broadest audience. >> delivery for martin crane. >> oh, in here. >> the idea of a class structure
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in "frasier" was about a father that had been alienated from his sons because they were so unlike him. >> where's the tv? >> it's in that credenza. >> point it at that thing. >> there was a great sort of social commentary on class, poking fun at all that pomposity and social class structure. >> this from the gourmet who dumped my cornish yard cheese down the disposal. >> it was covered with mold. >> it was supposed to be. >> frasier could be an intellectual snob. so could his brother niles. >> i'd like a petite filet mignon, very lean. not so lean that it lacks flavor but not so fat that it leaves drippings on the plate -- >> people would ask the question how did these two sons come from a cop like that? >> you have martin and daphne at one level, and then you had frasier and niles at this sort of rarefied area. >> and it was daphne's job to sort of burst their pompous balloon. >> you think i'm pretentious? >> well, you'd eat a worm if i gave it a french name.
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>> a lot of episodes focused on niles and frasier trying to get into this elite club or that elite club. >> i'm sorry, sir, you're not allowed through there. please remain in the relaxation grotto. >> once they did get into that club, did it make them any happier? >> i am determined to see where they think i don't belong. >> niles and frasier always find out there was one better or you open another door and there's a better room. >> take me with you! feeling warmth and light! it must be a magnificent solarium! >> that's really the american dream, about wanting more than what you have, no matter where you are. >> it's beautiful! it's beautiful! yes! this is where we belong! >> i think the reason people responded to "frasier" is he is pompous but he's recognizable. but they see in him a guy that cares. >> let's see some smiles, people.
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it's a party, not a shareholders meeting. >> prepare to be boarded. prepare to be boarded. >> it's the securities and exchange commission. >> in the early 2000s in the wake of 9/11 we see a stock market crash and a rise in unemployment that really has us all thinking about income inequality in a way we hadn't in a long time. >> dolores, listen to me. empty the account. >> with "arrested development" we jumped to something a little darker. there was a lot that i wanted to explore about entitlement, power, and the fragility of the 1%. >> lindsay, you have to cut back on everything. okay? i'm even selling the corporate jet. >> then suddenly they have nothing, but they go on pretending that they do. >> so now we don't have a car or a jet? why don't we just take an ad out in "i'm poor" magazine? >> that's the thing that's very astute about that show, is that the rich can never entirely become unrich. they always have a line to some money. >> there's $250,000 lining the
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walls of the banana stand. >> what? >> cash, michael. >> another setback for the once prominent bluth family as their frozen banana stand burns to the ground. >> of course it was absurd. but the idea was if you could make it seem realistic enough, then you could carry the audience with you. >> why didn't you tell me that? >> how much clearer can i say, there's always money in the banana stand! >> no touching! >> no touching! >> no touching! >> no touching! >> "arrested development" began to make fun of the rich, sort of expose them for everyone to see. >> that coat cost more than your house! oh, that's how we joke. she doesn't even have a house. >> because a lot of really wealthy people have gotten in their positions by stepping on working-class people. >> i'm sorry. we can't afford to live lavishly anymore. drink your milk. >> it's lumpy. >> then chew it. >> by the 21st century, america's shaky economy begins
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to shrink the middle class and we see that represented in sitcoms like fox's "malcolm in the middle." >> we've had to economize before. remember last year when we were saving up for disneyland? >> we're going to disneyland? >> no. it's like that. except this time we're just trying to keep the house. >> "malcolm in the middle" is a fascinating show in terms of class because it's about trying to give your kids a good life even when you're not sure you can pay for it. >> malcolm is this genius, and he does not want to be a genius. >> now, malcolm may not look different than the rest of us, but he is. very different. in his brain. >> despite all the craziness going on in that house, malcolm living up to his potential was one of the greatest dreams his family had. >> i got accepted into harvard. we don't know how we're going to pay for it, but we've got to find a way. it's my dream school. it's 2,000 miles away from mom. >> scholarships, financial aid cover $26,000. plus the fleisch grant, the hamilton scholarship -- >> thieving harvard bastards!
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>> the fact that kid coming from that situation gets into the ivy league is beyond a dream come true. but he's working as a janitor to make his way through that school. >> i've already got three shifts in the cafeteria and mopping the dorms at night. >> then his brother reese tries to set off a stink bomb at malcolm's graduation. but instead it goes off in the car. >> what's that noise? >> oh, my eyes! >> this is appropriate. now my life looks exactly how i feel! >> i'm sorry, malcolm. but you don't get the easy path. >> malcolm really gave people the opportunity to think about what they were struggling with in their families. >> oh, really? >> we laugh at them and relate to them. >> you know what it's like to be poor and you know what it's like to work hard. now you're going to learn what it's like to sweep floors and bust your ass and accomplish twice as much as all the kids around you. >> and it acts as a reminder
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that the american dream is becoming more and more elusive to so many americans. >> you'll be the only person who will ever give a crap about people like us. you look me in the eye and you tell me you can't do it.
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tonight, breaking news. your future, my future, our future at stake. a meltdown on wall street. tens of billions of dollars lost. tens of thousands of jobs gone. >> bernard madoff was charged yesterday with securities fraud. >> it was a ponzi scheme. >> do i need to hear this? >> why'd you have to give it all to that crook madoff? >> i don't know. >> how could you be so fiscally irresponsible? >> madoff? >> madoff! >> once bernie madoff goes to jail and after the events of the great recession, sitcom characters are winking to the audience like this system is rigged, there's vast income inequality. ♪ >> have you had a chance to think of my zinger? >> well, it's almost thanksgiving, everybody. and i know what this crowd's
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giving thanks for. estate tax reform. >> in "30 rock" jack donaghy who's this corporate goon, basically, is so rich that he really doesn't even understand how regular people live. >> damn, i wish this event were tonight. >> it's not tonight? when is it? >> february. >> jack donaghy is in the 1% and liz is just solidly middle class. >> why are you wearing a tux? >> it's after 6:00. what am i, a farmer? >> in the episode "the tuxedo" begins jack is mugged. >> my assailant was a middle-aged white man wearing a button-down shirt and dockers. dockers. we're on the verge of a class war. >> the middle class would rise up and take back what is theirs from these multibillionaires. >> my attack was a wake-up call. the rich need to defend themselves. >> the tracy jordan character is also kind of super rich, a character who's made millions and millions of dollars off of movies. >> i need you to grab me some lunch. >> absolutely.
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what can i get for you? >> i want nachos. >> yes, sir. >> from yankee stadium. >> yes, sir. >> "30 rock" is about milking the utter divide between the super rich and the rest of america. >> especially in an era of really intense economic inequality, class is the great invisible force in both american culture and in the american sitcom. >> hey, dad, how did you decide what you were going to do for a living? >> i applied for a bunch of jobs, and i took every one that hired me. >> so ma, how did you decide what you were going to be? >> well, when your father decided that he wasn't going to be rich, i decided to get a job. >> america likes to believe that the poorest person born into the most abject poverty could, with enough gumption, become the richest person in america. >> hey, everybody. america's the land of opportunity. i stand before you as -- >> stop.
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>> you know, the idea that you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps. and yet as we know, not everyone is able to achieve the american dream. >> okay. by saying that america's the land of opportunity you are implying that everyone has the same opportunities. >> i'm not implying it. i'm saying it. if you live here and you work hard, you can succeed. that's how this works. >> that's what i've always done in my comedy. i want to say in as few words as possible something that means a lot to me. >> fine. it's your story. but it's not true for everyone. >> i think that a sitcom is one of the best places to explore those difficult conversations revolving around class in an honest way. it's the greatest tool in the history of humanity to create empathy. ♪ >> "it's always sunny in philadelphia" explores the state of the american dream in a little bit of a different way in that these characters, they really believe that they are worthy of and entitled to so much more but don't want to work hard for it. >> you guys can't get welfare.
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>> yeah, we can. >> no, you can't. they don't give it to any jackass that walks in here. >> we've got it covered, okay, dee? your bicycle helmet. >> it's about four friends who run a -- bar in philadelphia, and they are four of the worst human beings you have ever witnessed. >> i'm a recovering crackhead. this is my retarded sister that i take care of. i'd like some welfare, please. >> the storylines are pointing out that the meritocracy in the united states is maybe not all it's cracked up to be. >> can i help you? >> yeah. two. checking in for the pool. >> check us in. >> in the episode "white trash," there's a heat wave and the gang tries to get into a country club. >> but i'm sorry to tell you fellows that membership is currently at capacity. >> we're in the middle of a terrible heat wave and you happen to be at capacity? for us. >> and when they can't they just behave like absolute degenerates. >> we're out of here. >> yeah, let's go. [ burps ]
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>> you don't have to -- oh, sir. >> so charlie and mac go to their old childhood pool. >> there she is. this is what i'm talking about, bro. >> but it was drained and empty. >> i'm saying we fix up this pool. >> and then we can't get out of the pool. >> are we stuck in here? >> i think we're stuck. >> help! >> we thought it would be interesting from a metaphorical standpoint to suggest that maybe, just maybe, there are people out there who don't even have bootstraps. >> hey! >> hey, you guys order a pizza? >> hey, bro, why don't you just toss down that hose? then you can pull us up. >> that would be good, yeah. just pull us up. >> and every time they try to go up the ladder someone rips it away from them. >> oh! dude! >> or as many times as they put
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the ladder up, the ladder falls down. >> you ready, bro? oh, man. >> [ bleep ], dude. >> goddamn it. ♪ ♪ when the chapstick goes on. it's on. get yours on at chapstick.com ♪ ♪ grandma, how wide are two reindeer? twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine... ♪ ♪ we've been waiting all year to come together...
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hey, thanks. we could not have held this all together without you. >> that's why i'm here. i know roseanne would want me to step in and watch over the family.
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>> no, it would kill her. but she's already dead, so carry on. >> one of the things that i love about the sitcom is that it is necessarily a reflection of the atmosphere in which it's made. and so leaving aside roseanne's repugnant views as an individual person, i think the show that was rebooted by abc is really about how do you make ends meet in the 21st century? ♪ >> i hope everyone is enjoying the movie. i'm having a blast sitting on this hard chair paying bills on a plastic tray stolen from hometown buffet. >> one of the reasons i think that the connors works in like the 2010s is because income disparity is an even bigger deal now than it was in the 1990s. >> i am completely financially unprepared to have a baby. i'm screwed. >> the connors themselves are still dealing with the same issues of a blue collar family living smack dab inside the american dream.
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>> look how much money you're saving by not drinking while you're pregnant. >> they're not cognizant of it, and i think people can appreciate that these characters are being honest about what they're going through. >> this is ridiculous. these people are just trying to have a better life. >> he was here illegally, darling. >> so you don't have a problem with what's happening? >> i have a big problem. i like the guy. my daughter is about to have his baby, and he may be getting dragged out of the country. you think i want that? >> in the 2010s, sitcoms became increasingly aware of all of the horrible inequalities that our society was built atop. >> it's emilio, right? >> i will find a way back to you and our baby after a short time in chihuahua -- the city, not the dog. >> and some of these shows have
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gotten back to the idea of race and class and the ways that all of these issues intersect. >> it's friday night family dinner time. come on, let's go. this meat was heavily discounted, so i need to cook it before it turns. >> you start to see the working-class sitcom re-emerge in something like one day at a time or the upshaws because a big chunk of america lives below the poverty line. >> i've got to be there for my kids. my dad was no good, so it made me do some messed up stuff back in the day. >> back in the day? you did some this morning. >> people aren't bad necessarily because they don't make a certain income. >> the last o.g. deals with class and race through the lens of this person who was incarcerated. and is now back in this gentrified neighborhood. >> damn. >> the last o.g. is in brooklyn. that's where i'm born and raised. got a little [ bleep ] sling in
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me. chasing that paper. >> tracy is blue collar, old school, but all the things that he considered normal are now completely different. >> sorry to interrupt. we're just waiting for our friend. >> let's go to brunch, bitches! >> brooklyn! >> the struggle is real, and that's what these shows show. >> every fool ass comedyian come through that door think they're laurence fishburne in the hood. then they find outside the hood is gone. we got to do the groundwork. we got to help one another. >> johnny rhodes. >> >> you're the mayor we're supposed to meet. >> that's right. if you're looking for an ass to kiss, it's mine.
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>> the premise is a wealthy family that lost everything. the only asset we have is this town my dad's character bought as a joke for my birthday. >> excuse me. i don't think my sheets have been cleaned. they smell like cigarettes. >> no, that's just the way they sell. >> the concept of class is simmering under the surface of every show. >> on our way here, we drove through a town -- >> in an episode where a couple from johnny and moira's past meet them for dinner, they run into roland and jocelyn. >> what do you do, roland? >> something in agriculture by the looks of it. >> you then start to see the judgment that upper class has on lower class. >> roland is actually the mayor of our town. >> oh. >> not schittsville, i hope? >> what do you even call someone from schittsville? a shitter?
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>> ok. you know what? >> and that changed. >> you wrote us off, don. not a phone call. not a nickel roland and jocelyn here could not have been more generous with what little they have. >> we're going to stick up for the town we live in and own our circumstance. >> and that town you passed through, it's not calls schittsville. it's called schitt's creek, and it's where we live. >> over time it ended up being an optimistic comedy about class, because it akling nojs that class doesn't have to be a permanent divide. >> oh, my god. >> oh, my god. >> okay. this is not okay. what are you guys doing here? >> tonight we are dancing as a family. >> what is happening? >> we never wanted the town to
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be the butt of the joke. in fact, that's why we made this town so accepting. the town is the goal. it's the family that had a lot to learn. ♪ >> sitcoms are an escape. the more dire the circumstances, the more you need sitcoms to forget about your troubles. >> we're going to the good place in a freaking gold balloon. >> that's what we have. that's what helped me escape. >> every single one of you is

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