Streaming the Sitcom: The Minority Experience in Netflix’s Dear White People, Master of None and Chewing Gum translation missing: es.hyrax.visibility.files_restricted.text

Patel, Anjali Maya Mahesh (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/qb98mf474?locale=es
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Abstract

Since its founding in 1997, Netflix has been the pioneer of streaming television, creating interesting, successful shows using data analytics. This thesis examines Netflix shows Dear White People (2017), Master of None (2015), and Chewing Gum (2016), which are part of a new wave of television, created by and starring people of color. These programs fit with Netflix’s increasingly global brand by telling diverse stories and giving marginalized artists a platform and voice. They have been immensely popular among critics and audiences for their relatability, humor, and ability to integrate a wide range of social issues, such as gun violence, racism, and homophobia, with as much ease and tact as dating and family life. These shows demonstrate the capability of the situation comedy as a format for social change, by weaving in themes of race and representation to every episode, rather than a few per season. In this project, I explore the ways in which these shows depict race and life as a minority by examining specific episodes, and the role that humor plays in their format and reception. Through this analysis, I hope to reveal how these shows uncover a deeper level of the minority experience, and how this shift in situation comedies has been made possible and easily accessible by Netflix as a medium. 

Table of Contents

Introduction....................................................................................................................................1

Chapter 1 - A Brief History of American Television..................................................................5

The Beginning of Television...............................................................................................5

The Rise of Situation Comedies..........................................................................................6

Race & Representation in Sitcoms......................................................................................9

The Digital Era & Television Today.................................................................................13

Chapter 2 - Dear White People: Wokeness & Satire in College...............................................17

“Chapter IV” .....................................................................................................................20

“Chapter V” ......................................................................................................................25

“Chapter VI” .....................................................................................................................34

Chapter 3 - Master of None: New York’s Untold Stories.........................................................42

“Parents” ...........................................................................................................................46

“Indians on TV” ................................................................................................................52

“Thanksgiving” .................................................................................................................56

Chapter 4 - Chewing Gum: Netflix’s British Gem....................................................................62

“Possession” ......................................................................................................................67

“Replacements” .................................................................................................................71

“Just Need Some Company” .............................................................................................77

Conclusion....................................................................................................................................83

Bibliography.................................................................................................................................85 

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