‘Don't make me laugh’: Age representations in a humorous context

James T Harwood, Howard Giles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Golden Girls is a highly popular television series which, since its inception in 1985, has received praise for presenting the elderly on television in a positive light. Research, however, has not investigated the messages of the show in any depth and the current study aims to remedy this. A discursive analysis of the show is conducted to identify ways in which the show marks age and achieves humorous effect. The multiple ways in which these effects are achieved are schematized in typology form. Indications that age marking and humor overlap considerably are interpreted in terms of propagating views of aging inconsistent with the show's public agenda'. Specifically, the link, which has theoretical implications, is seen as perpetuating stereotypes of the elderly, by making counter-stereotypical portrayals, quite literally, laughable. The results are discussed in terms of various theoretical positions, as well as more applied production issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-436
Number of pages34
JournalDiscourse & Society
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Television
popular television
television series
humor
remedies
stereotype
indication
typology
television
Aging of materials
Laugh
Television Series
Portrayal
Overlap
Discursive
Stereotypes
Agenda

Keywords

  • age
  • discourse analysis
  • humor
  • intergenerational contact
  • media
  • television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

‘Don't make me laugh’ : Age representations in a humorous context. / Harwood, James T; Giles, Howard.

In: Discourse & Society, Vol. 3, No. 4, 01.01.1992, p. 403-436.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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