Postmodern Sitcom: It lives.

Here’s a little project I like to call Postmodern Sitcom. And by little, it’s not– but the work has been immensely rewarding. The podcast series is created in connection with my Master of Communication Leadership program at Gonzaga University to connect TV and reality between Generation X… and everybody else.

It’s a big old study in intergenerational communications and how Generation X might understand why they think the way they do and how they, and other generations, might bridge communication gaps a little bit better.

Here’s the super-official introduction to the whole deal:

As human existence heads further into the 21st century, sources indicate that Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1981) is increasingly regarded as society’s middle child. “Caught between boomers and younger Millennials, Generation X is mainly known for being neglected and ignored” (Martin, 2016) this perception supports the idea that Gen X’ers today are mostly grounded in 1980s societal ideologies (with influences from their Boomer Generation parents.) If prime-time television “plays a central role in shaping perceptions of norms” (Pariera, Hether, Murphy, de, & Baezconde-Garbanati, 2014, p.699), then according to National Geographic’s Generation X, “Gen X is fresh meat for what turns out to be a very hungry media machine” (Cooperman, 2016).

As a babysitter and major contributor to societal ideologies, a television in the 1980s helped build the framework for notions of what success in adult life should resemble. However, today’s Gen X’ers are seemingly caught between perceptions of sitcoms past, which are represented as “the American Dream,” and how the ideals have morphed into a less-than-dreamy modern reality. “Generation X is the first generation in the U.S. history in which a majority will not be better off than their parents” (David, Gelfeld, & Rangel, 2017, p. 78) and Gen X’ers know it— because, to them, it feels like it is reinforced on a daily basis. Even though they are an important part of today’s workforce as “experienced, mid- and senior-level hires at the prime of their career” (Konish, 2019), Gen X’ers are often misunderstood, dismissed and, as Konish concludes, “seem to have the Rodney Dangerfield syndrome: they don’t get no respect” (2019).

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This is the future home of Postmodern Sitcom, a podcast series aimed at exploring why 80s TV was so influential on Generation X and whether or not the content created unrealistic expectations for these individuals today.

And then maybe all of these generations will understand each other a little better in daily interactions. Or not.