Titel: The American way of comedy - A comprehensive analysis of humor on the basis of the US sitcom 'Friends'
Autoren/Herausgeber: Irina Wamsler
Ausgabe: 1., Auflage
Thesis (M.A.) from the year 2007 in the subject American Studies - Linguistics, grade: 2.1, University of Hannover, 60 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: “Seriously, why do you laugh?” Explaining why something is funny, can be very difficult. However, isn’t it strange that people react to some situations or comments, even though it is nonsense, with strange noises, strained facial muscles, and weird expressions?
Over the years, a lot of different theories have appeared. Researchers mainly concentrated on the analysis of written humor or humor occurring in real conversations. This paper, though, looks at verbal and rehearsed humor in the American sitcom Friends. The general aim of this paper is to analyze humorous scripts in a sitcom.
At first, it shows the insight of the genre situation comedy. For the next, the concept of situation comedies is going to be worked out on the basis of Friends. The emphasis lies on targets and initiator of humorous acts. Questions like who is mainly the object of laughter and who initiates jokes will be resolved. Then, I will look at one particular humorous field in detail: humor and sexuality. What kinds of jokes conferring to sexuality are made and again, are there differences between the male and the female characters? Thus, another subject is if male and female characters of the show have a different sense of humor. Besides, the development of humor will be analyzed. Friends was broadcasted over ten years and I assume that the sense of humor, the topics, and characters have changed. Focusing on sexuality, I would like to find out whether or not this is true. In addition, the issue of target and initiator is examined regarding its development. Do the targets change as well? Maybe women became more independent and self-confident so that they began to make more jokes rather than to be the subject of laughter.
In the end, the relations between the characters will be examined. Lovers, siblings, and best friends make up the characters of the show. Do the relations between the characters have an effect upon humor? And what does the development of humor, choice of target and initiator say about society? Is there a correlation between developments and changes in the show and the changes in reality? Can the role of target and initiator be associated with the characters popularity?