The Influence of News on Television Satire

Open Access
Hyneman, Laurel Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Curtis William Chandler, Thesis Supervisor
  • John Philip Sanchez, Honors Advisor
  • satire
  • sitcom
  • news
  • The Simpsons
  • All in the Family
Television programming today combines both entertainment and news reporting, creating a platform for viewers which both educates and entertains. Programming, specifically sitcoms, welcomes the notion that the top news stories of the day can drive the content shown within television shows. Much recent research has focused on “fake news” like the Daily Show, but the news also heavily influences the content of situation comedies that explore social issues behind the screen of family friendly jokes. This paper investigates the concept that situation comedies based on news topics are also a source of information for a growing audience of all ages. This thesis focuses on the humor in All in the Family and the Simpsons. Both of these shows use comedy to make a point about the top issues in the news. This paper will examine research done by scholars and interviews conducted with current writers and showrunners in the industry in order to display the influence of news on the content of All in the Family and the Simpsons. It will delve into topics including: race, female identity, gay identity and religion. This paper focuses mainly on the satire within All in the Family and the Simpsons because these shows are representative of a facet of the revolutionary process in entertainment that is making news-based content an increasingly important source of information.