SITLIFEPROP Flirting With Realities
Everyone calls them sitcoms, short for situation comedies. But many sitcoms aim for more than a laugh; they flirt with reality. They wrap the social, political, and moral lessons in humor so that each episode, each cameo, becomes a reminder of something useful to us all. Many sitcoms are innocuous, but other sitcoms address almost-real problems with almost-real people, and because they rely as much on drama as on humor, they take on the character of sitlifeprop, which, because of its messages of enhancement and hope, is essentially newprop.
Sitlifeprop has become a vital ingredient in the popular culture because it often transforms conflictual and indeterminate situations into scenes of ultimate triumph. Many of the scenarios are reflections of and catalysts for social experimentation and change. What is more, rather than expressing the loss of confidence and self-esteem that are the targets and milieux of oldprop, they lend themselves to the newprop of hope and self-enhancement. A pollster friend told me recently that the socially conscious sitcoms are "surrogate focus groups" that make judgments about problems in thoughtful and amusing ways.
If a popular culture were to be defined by its ability to reflect diversity, the sitlife would become popular culture itself. It has given license to unbridled di