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Honey, I'm Home!: Sitcoms: Selling The American Dream Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 291 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (March 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312088108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312088101
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,930,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jones, coauthor of The Beaver Papers, proves a perceptive and penetrating observer of pop culture. At the outset he makes it clear that the TV sitcom is "a corporate product . . . a mass consumption commodity," yet does not downplay its importance as an indicator of public taste and, more importantly, as a molder of that taste. He also points out that situation comedy from the '50s to the '90s has had the same plotline: a character develops a desire that runs counter to the welfare of the group (whether family, office staff or dedicated barflies) and eventually abandons his or her selfish goals. Jones analyzes past comedies for their regional and age-group appeal, offering thoughtful comments on shows from I Love Lucy through All in the Family to The Simpsons. Those who regard television with contempt may consider that Jones uses a bulldozer on a sandcastle, but can anyone deny his argument that TV sitcoms are enormously influential? Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Jones has written a thorough analysis of the sociological impact of television sitcoms from their beginnings in radio. While always a popular format, the half-hour comedy has reflected changing trends in society, helped the average person cope with these changes in a nonthreatening way by laughing at them, and most of all sold the advertiser's product. From the early classic I Love Lucy to The Mary Tyler Moore Show and All in the Family , which changed the face of television in the 1970s and set the standards for all sitcoms since that time, up to Cheers and The Simpsons , Jones's lively and insightful presentation will amuse as well as provoke thought.
- Marcia L. Perry, Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, Mass.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
...and pretty thorough! The book examines American ideas of family & gender by examining television's portrayal of the American family through the decades. While the analysis is consistantly sharp, intelligent, and revealing, the writing is always clear, frequently funny, and occassionally evokes nostalgia.
You will be surprised at the degree to which-- and the manner in which-- changes in the TV's sitcom families reflect changes in American culture and values. Do you think Hollywood would have even conceived of 'The Brady Bunch'-- an instant family created by the marriage of two previously married individuals-- back in Ozzy & Harriet's 1950's? What can you say about a decade in which George Jefferson, Archie Bunker, and JJ from 'Good Times' were central characters in the weekly line-up?
The author does an excellent job of presenting the parallel changes taking place in society and on TV over the past few decades. This book is a fascinating piece of cultural commentary in which the author uses seemingly innocuous television shows to construct a picture of American values in much the same way that an archaeologist constructs an image of a society by making inferences from the artifacts it has left behind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Lynn Blum on February 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
As an avid watcher of family-based situation comedies from the late 1950's to the early 1970's, I looked forward every September to the trifecta of the Jewish High Holy Days, the first day of school, and the new television season, with the last of these in fact the first of these. I couldn't wait to tune in to the family sitcoms broadcast in the early evenings to see what new furniture Lucy had in her apartment, what new apartment Danny Thomas's TV family had moved on up to, and what new fashions Marlo Thomas's "That Girl" modeled. But when in 1975 we were introduced to the family of women who were taking life one day at a time, it marked the first time that a family unit was actually down-sizing, had less than they had the season before, and were struggling to hold onto whatever they could of the declining American Dream.
Jones's book neatly covers the arc of pop mass culture from the early radio serials, most of which I have only heard of second-hand, to the development of prime-time situation comedies that centered around families. Later "sitcoms" such as M*A*S*H and Soap interested me less, but I appreciated the overview that the book provides.
Situation comedies that were centered around World War II veteran fathers and Baby Boom children (although while we were living through the Baby Boom, we didn't know it at the time; we only knew that in our Long Island community new schools were being built on every vacant lot on every available plot of land) and their pearl-wearing, high-heel-while-vacuuming mothers, not only reflected our lives but helped shape them as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Theseus on October 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I treasure this book.

Jones is one of our most persuasive commentators on American pop culture. His survey on the development of the sitcom is engaging, aesthetically rigorous, and does an admirable job placing television comedy within some larger contexts. (Personally, I wish he had extended back to American comedic writing on the stage in the 1920's and 1930's....)

There's only one flaw with this book. It stops in the early 1990's. If only some publisher would get behind an updated version so profitable ventures and (arguably) cultural touchstones such as The Cosby Show and Friends could be included.
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