A professor of mine once said that films are “cultural artifacts.” They capture the details of the period in which they are set, reflect the social mores of the day and in some cases preserve stories of historic significance so that future generations may educate themselves simply by watching a movie. Since she shared those words of wisdom I have felt that television is also a cultural museum of sorts. Every perk and quirk about our society has since the Fifties been preserved in some manner, even if the end result is distorted in an unintended way. I’m thinking of the depiction of the average American family in the sitcoms of the Fifties and Sixties as exclusively white and well-off, with hard working men dashing off to the office every morning, wives wearing pearl earrings and perfectly pressed dresses to breakfast and shiny smiling children behaving as they are told. As if.
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