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The History of Television Sitcoms – Coastal Senior College Course
Monday, May 13, 2019 @ 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
One event on Monday, May 20, 2019 at 9:30 am
One event on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 9:30 am
The History of Television Sitcoms
3 Mondays, 9:30 – Noon, May 13 – June 3, No class May 27
Have TV sitcoms ever been anything more than 30 minutes of idle entertainment? This course will make the case that some have been much more than that. From their very inception, sitcoms reflected American society writ large and influenced our behavior and attitudes. In the early 1950s and into the 1960s, shows like “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It to Beaver” were important moral guideposts and simultaneously sales agents for the middle-class way of life. Later, others such as “All in the Family” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” became expressions of, if not catalysts for, social change. As America moved further and further away from stay-at-home moms and omnipotent fathers, sitcoms chronicled our becoming a more harried, cynical and self-indulgent nation. Groundbreaking programs like “Married with Children” and “Seinfeld”— the latter facetiously called the show about nothing — were a cringeworthy look at ourselves in the mirror. This course will include lots of film and video clips and will make you think as well as laugh. Class limit: 50
Peter Imber is a former television news producer. For most of his 28-year career he was based in Los Angeles covering national and international stories for ABC News broadcasts including World News with Peter Jennings and Nightline. He is the recipient of a National News Emmy, a DuPont-Columbia Award and a National Press Club Award. In 2010 he retired to Camden with his Rockland-born wife, Jo Dondis. She grew up watching movies at the Strand Theatre in Maine while Peter spent many happy hours in front of a television set in Pennsylvania watching “Ozzie and Harriet.” He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He recently completed two years as president of the Camden Conference.