Author Topic: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?  (Read 4619 times)

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2020, 06:09:33 AM »
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

zomgmouse

  • I love carrots
    • BEN VOLCHOK DOT COM
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2020, 08:15:14 AM »
Where do people stick Yes, Minister on the political spectrum?

Also is there a difference between being subversive, lampooning the powerful, and being left-wing?

monkfromhavana

  • Member
  • **
  • Top one, nice one, get sorted
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2020, 08:24:17 AM »
Malcolm In The Middle

Surely that's more centrist?

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2020, 09:07:35 AM »
Where do people stick Yes, Minister on the political spectrum?

Not for no reason was it Thatcher's favourite show; the central gag is that government wastes time and money going around in circles achieving very little and we'd all be better off with far less of it. I don't know about Jonathan Lynn, and much of the primary cast were left, but Anthony Jay was definitely a Thatcherite.

It is, however, an example of a show that was clever, well written, well made, and good natured enough that it appealed to people all over the political spectrum.

Dr Rock

  • The BEST of luck!
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2020, 09:19:27 AM »
SOAP was certainly 'progressive' or whatver. Very early prime-time sympathetic gay character; the black butler was the smartest man in the room, the rich family were more fucked up than the blue collar family, and probly lots more.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2020, 09:24:49 AM »
But I wonder how many of the 'modern comedy is lefty preaching' set were fans if Partridge back when, or Python for that matter, etc, and any politics was not noticed (or forgiven, given the all white cast?).

Not that Collett can be considered a real life Partridge, but he must have met a few in the 'fringes' of UK politics

There's quite a lot of "lad" Alan Partridge fans though right? Getting wrecked on Ladyboys in the student union bar etc.

Petey Pate

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • no u
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2020, 09:36:51 AM »
Surely that's more centrist?

Some online commentators have made the case for it being a socialist sitcom by stealth.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vvvg39/why-malcolm-in-the-middle-is-a-socialist-masterpiece

I don't really agree, but it certainly depicted the grind and bleakness of being lower middle class in America more honestly than most sitcoms.

Dr Rock

  • The BEST of luck!
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2020, 10:04:25 AM »
Malcolm In The Middle = Centrist. Get it?

Petey Pate

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • no u
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #38 on: September 03, 2020, 10:12:03 AM »
Malcolm In The Middle = Centrist. Get it?


Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #39 on: September 03, 2020, 10:45:37 AM »
I don't know about Jonathan Lynn

When Corbyn said a particular small group of far-right Zionists didn't understand English irony, the media reported it as "Corbyn says Zionists don't understand irony" (an obvious misrepresentation), and it was further misinterpreted by media figures and centrists as "Corbyn thinks British Jews don't understand irony", which led to Lynn coming out with this bollocks:
Quote
In a letter to The Times, Lynn said: “I am Jewish. Although I wrote Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, Corbyn says I don’t understand English irony. My co-writer Tony Jay was only half-Jewish, so perhaps he half-understood irony and was able to supply some.

“The Labour Party continues to deny that Corbyn is an antisemite but as Sir Humphrey said, ‘Never believe anything until it’s been officially denied.’”

He added that Mr Corbyn’s speech “ironically, reveals what seems hidden to him”.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/so-jeremy-corbyn-thinks-i-don-t-get-irony-says-yes-minister-s-jewish-creator-jonathan-lynn-hh327qwq5

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #40 on: September 03, 2020, 10:51:27 AM »
Love thy Neighbour Down Under had the neighbours living in Blacktown, NSW

geddit

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #41 on: September 03, 2020, 10:59:56 AM »
I guess those old Normal Lear showgrams were pretty progressive in their own cloying way.

This list is worth a looksie for a hateful laugh.  https://www.conservapedia.com/Essay:Worst_Liberal_TV_Shows

On the Teletubbies:

"This British program indoctrinates young audiences into environmentalism as well as LGBT-related material, as Tinky Winky is purple and carries a purse (the character famously became a target for anti-homosexual activists during the series' original run). Even worse, Tinky Winky's actress is a lesbian pornographic actress."

Brundle-Fly

  • *Jooolie Andreeeews!! Thhhrrrrp!!!!*
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #42 on: September 03, 2020, 11:21:48 AM »
Ooops - yes so you did.

There is something about sympathetically depicting working class (or 'blue collar' if you want to be all American about it) people under pressure that is going to make your show tilt more left wing than right wing.

Reminds us of time in '92 when former president, George Bush famously remarked in a speech that American families needed to be “a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons”. The Waltons were pretty much Democrats in the show and The Simpsons (with the exception of Lisa) are Republican to the nuclear core.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #43 on: September 03, 2020, 11:31:59 AM »
When Corbyn said a particular small group of far-right Zionists didn't understand English irony, the media reported it as "Corbyn says Zionists don't understand irony" (an obvious misrepresentation), and it was further misinterpreted by media figures and centrists as "Corbyn thinks British Jews don't understand irony", which led to Lynn coming out with this bollocks:https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/so-jeremy-corbyn-thinks-i-don-t-get-irony-says-yes-minister-s-jewish-creator-jonathan-lynn-hh327qwq5

Jesus suffering Christ.  Lynn really reveals himself to be a perfect intersection of willful stupidity and risible hubris there.  I hope he shits himself in a taxi when he's forgotten his wallet.

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #44 on: September 03, 2020, 11:41:28 AM »
Reminds us of time in '92 when former president, George Bush famously remarked in a speech that American families needed to be %u201Ca lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons%u201D. The Waltons were pretty much Democrats in the show and The Simpsons (with the exception of Lisa) are Republican to the nuclear core.

Bart would definitely have been a Yang Ganger.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2020, 12:07:21 PM »
I guess those old Normal Lear showgrams were pretty progressive in their own cloying way.

This list is worth a looksie for a hateful laugh.  https://www.conservapedia.com/Essay:Worst_Liberal_TV_Shows

Quote
Annoying Orangge 2009-2011
This Internet series promotes lack of effective communication skills via being annoying. The Annoying Orange does nothing but harass other anthropomorphic fruits and vegetables with loads of adult humor and Hollywood values.



I think that's my favourite, at least of what I could be bothered to read.

I find it hard to believe most of that is sincere, but it probably is.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #46 on: September 03, 2020, 12:10:09 PM »
I suppose Father Ted was a bit subversive (which I suppose in the 1990s could be synonymous with left leaning - but I'm open to yer counter examples) against the Catholic church.

On one hand, it seems a good-natured, gentle ribbing of the Catholic Church and its silly traditions. It never properly touches the real scandals of the 90s like child abuse or the Magdalene laundries. But it was never supposed to be that dark and the tone of winking silliness is its greatest strength. It also conceals some genuine jabs against the church, like Bishop Brennan's secret child in America (the Bishop of Galway did this and it was a massive scandal in 1992).

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #47 on: September 03, 2020, 12:30:46 PM »
Has anyone here watched Superstore?

https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/superstore-nbc-tv-review/
. Yes,  and I was pretty shocked that a mainstream us workplace comedy was explicitly pro union  and it's pretty good for an American workplace comedy

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #48 on: September 03, 2020, 12:39:24 PM »
SOAP was certainly 'progressive' or whatver. Very early prime-time sympathetic gay character; the black butler was the smartest man in the room, the rich family were more fucked up than the blue collar family, and probly lots more.

There are a lot of sitcoms which did good things in terms of representation of black, LGBT, female, etc, characters, and were progressive in that way (often the less overtly political "family" shows, even the Cosby Show, ugh). You can argue whether it makes sense to call them left-wing (your view of race is independent of views of liberty, state control, economics, etc), and a lot of these shows didn't involve other left-wing political topics (e.g. being about small businessmen/shopkeepers, middle-class blacks, etc). You can be progressive in one area and regressive in another, of course (as Bill Cosby's penis will tell you).

JesusAndYourBush

  • Earnest silky coconut shell
    • http://www.google.com
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #49 on: September 03, 2020, 01:46:45 PM »
Citizen Smith?

Dr Rock

  • The BEST of luck!
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #50 on: September 03, 2020, 05:59:51 PM »
I only dimly remember seeing some of the 70s version, but wasn't The Rag Trade reasonably pro-Unions?

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #51 on: September 03, 2020, 06:15:22 PM »
Robin’s Nest

Autopsy Turvey

  • Albert The Grinder vs The Hooded Terror
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #52 on: September 03, 2020, 09:12:22 PM »
Thanks for posting that. I never really associated the Pythons with left politics very much in their work (there are bits and pieces there of course). Were they perceived in the UK as being on the left end of the political spectrum or simply as being zany?

They’d have been perceived initially as part of the trendy long haired lefty student set, rock and roll, all night parties, strip poker, pot smoking. But could it be argued that Darling Harold’s Britain in 1969 was about the most socialist it has ever been while remaining halfway successful? The Pythons seemed happy to ridicule leftist politics as assiduously as they ridiculed everything else, so although the voice that came through was culturally revolutionary, it was not at all politically doctrinaire. You can’t imagine a society run efficiently on the tenets of the Flying Circus.

Ditto the Goodies really, I haven’t spotted any leftist subtext or bias in their work, Bill the socialist is as much of a chump as Timbo the Tory.


Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • Mr Moose is up! It's done done done!
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #53 on: September 03, 2020, 09:18:44 PM »
Doesn't seem to have been mentioned yet but Victor and Margaret from One Foot In The Grave are both dyed in the wool left wingers. There are repeated references throughout the series to their hatred of the Tories and once or twice Thatcher in particular. Given so much of Renwick's own personality was poured into Meldrew I wonder if his politics were also.

Watching it back its a surprise that those bits stayed in the scripts. They don't add too much comedically, and neither are they essential for character building. These days you'd imagine it would get culled to ensure segments of audience don't get 'put off'.


Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

  • Living proof of everything wrong with the world
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #54 on: September 03, 2020, 09:24:12 PM »
Surely that's more centrist?
Assuming this isn't an hilarious pun, Malcolm in the Middle leans left in that it's about a working class family who struggle to make ends meet. An ongoing theme is a lack of money, with a number of episodes revolving around the dire straits the family find themselves in when either Hal or Lois is fired from their job, along with gags about ranking the colour/verbiage of past due bills in terms of "most urgent", the power going out right after Hal screams at the boys about responsibility, Malcolm and Dewey having to share a bed for the entire series' run (with Hal telling Dewey that he won't have the bed to himself till Malcolm goes to college, then remarking that "wait, then Jamie's going in there.") plus all three boys sharing a room. It doesn't touch on any real issues that affect non-white people, though they are at least present (Malcolm's best friend Stevie is black, Hal's poker circle is entirely black). But arguably it ends on a leftist note, with Lois telling Malcolm that the reason he can't skip college and take a six figure job at a big company is because they expect him to be President - the only President who's truly known what it's like to come from nothing and work hard and struggle, and the only President who will actually do something to make things better for families like theirs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5ntsDnp2WY

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #55 on: September 03, 2020, 11:56:03 PM »
Some good discussion here so far so thanks to everyone for that. A few things have become evident:

1- as mentioned earlier, only 1 program cited is currently in production (and most are decades old)

2- many series might charitably be described as 'culturally left leaning' and quite a few of us remain unconvinced as to the 'leftness' of many of them

3- quite a few of the series mentioned are arguably just as problematic when viewed from the left as from the right.  Johnny Speight & Norman Lear, while both deserving mentions here, are noteworthy in this regard.


As I said, the current discussion about the BBC got me thinking about this topic and it's noteworthy that it's so difficult for us to come up with clear examples of left-wing comedy programs currently in production.

Given how much content is available from around the world on so many different TV platforms, what does it suggest that almost all the suggestions are decades old?

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #56 on: September 04, 2020, 12:37:17 AM »
It could also be we've become much more exacting bastards when it comes to our definition of Left-Wing.  Time was we'd swallow up all the mealy West Wing and Parks & Reccy gruel we were served and be content with our lot, but now we're facing less abstract danger and we're all a bit better versed in boomerspeak that shit just doesn't fly anymore.  Even something that is obviously left in its intentions like Dear White People, dealing as it does with the white hegemony, scions of rich families with an infinite amount of get-out-of-jail free cards, and the poisoned primordial ooze which begets future corrupt political leaders, wouldn't even occur to us to mention, partly because it's really fucking annoying, but also because even that doesn't really feel that progressive when you try to gauge it.

It is a fact though that all these networks have been going for so long that they're all inexorably entrenched in the establishment.  Even the comparatively young streaming platforms are starting to glide along in their trusted grooves.  Aside from a few Conscious Hip-Hop acts, protest music seems pretty dead in the water as well.  Might be we're all just blowing all our energy in unproductive ways since the aqueducts towards the counter-culture stopped flowing long ago.

zomgmouse

  • I love carrots
    • BEN VOLCHOK DOT COM
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #57 on: September 04, 2020, 02:14:21 AM »
Not for no reason was it Thatcher's favourite show; the central gag is that government wastes time and money going around in circles achieving very little and we'd all be better off with far less of it. I don't know about Jonathan Lynn, and much of the primary cast were left, but Anthony Jay was definitely a Thatcherite.

It is, however, an example of a show that was clever, well written, well made, and good natured enough that it appealed to people all over the political spectrum.

This is certainly baffling to me because I read it as entirely skewering the system at the time (not that much had changed). But that politicians waste time and money going around in circles achieving very little, not so much government per se. Any of Humphrey's speeches about not needing democracy and things like that were quite obviously outrageously horrifying and pointing out the greediness and selfishness of those in politics - so it shocks me that Thatcher did not take it as an entirely personal attack. Shifting favours around and holding leverage over one another to protect their pals at the banks and serve personal agendas... and that's just the beginning.

Or have I totally got this wrong?

slicesofjim

  • I got a table and chairs
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #58 on: September 04, 2020, 02:22:30 AM »
Reminds us of time in '92 when former president, George Bush famously remarked in a speech that American families needed to be “a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons”. The Waltons were pretty much Democrats in the show and The Simpsons (with the exception of Lisa) are Republican to the nuclear core.

Marge is definitely a Democrat

j_u_d_a_s

  • Enjoy the weekend, you'll be dead on Monday!
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #59 on: September 04, 2020, 02:48:22 AM »
Has anyone here watched Superstore?

https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/superstore-nbc-tv-review/

This is a great shout, there's an explicit pro-union subtext to Superstore and it's an underrated show.

Some more examples:

One Day at a Time - Another Norman Lear show. Cuban-American family, themes of military PTSD, sexuality and gender, undocumented migrants. Really great trad sitcom that got buried by Netflix and general snobbery against multicam sitcoms.

Roseanne/The Connors - One of the first US sitcoms about a blue collar family. Regular gay characters, non-judgemental drug use. Even the revival had a non binary character as a regular. Though it's been overshadowed by Roseanne Barr "difficulty".

Raised by Wolves - Yes yes I know, Caitlin Moran does the same face in every pic. But this was a solid show that had a bit of anger about the current state of things.

The Office - Ok bit tenuous this and yeah Gervais turned out to be the real monster but the theme of this show was how work was where you go to die.

Though really to be more accurate, most the shows mentioned in this thread are more left leaning than resolutely left wing. The constant whining from right leaning types about "woke comedy" is just them rejecting any analysis that doesn't tally with their own superficial thoughts and that the mildest criticism of the current State Of Things is just political correctness gone mad.

« Last Edit: September 04, 2020, 03:09:52 AM by j_u_d_a_s »

Tags: