The Queer Fantasies of the American Family Sitcom examines the evasive depictions of sexuality in domestic and family-friendly sitcoms. Tison Pugh charts the history of increasing sexual depiction in this genre while also unpacking how sitcoms use sexuality as a source of power, as a kind of camouflage, and as a foundation for family building. The book examines how queerness, at first latent, became a vibrant yet continually conflicted part of the family-sitcom tradition.
Taking into account elements such as the casting of child actors, the use of and experimentation with plot traditions, the contradictory interpretive valences of comedy, and the subtle subversions of moral standards by writers and directors, Pugh points out how innocence and sexuality conflict on television. As older sitcoms often sit on a pedestal of nostalgia as representative of the Golden Age of the American Family, television history reveals a deeper, queerer vision of family bonds.
TISON PUGH is a professor of English at University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is the author of several books including
Precious Perversions: Humor, Homosexuality, and the Southern Literary Canon.
"Enjoyable to read, creative, and well-argued,
The Queer Fantasies of the American Family Sitcom reconsiders the political potential of the sitcom in this much-needed addition to the field."