September 24th, 2017

(no subject)

I've been binging "Last Man Standing." If you're not famliar: it's Tim Allen's latest sitcom where he runs marketing for a sporting-goods store. The vibe's a lot like "Home Improvement" actually -- there are loads of in-jokes/references to that show, but the character's got a very similar life situation, psychology, politics, all that. Definitely not high art, but as intellectual junk food goes, it consistently hits the sweet spot.

They're canceling the show (canceled already? As I said - Netflix...) and I've heard some talk about the politics. The father and at least one of the daughters definitely has a conservative streak (they even quote Barry Goldwater), and liberalism gets painted for laughs sometimes. There are some definite Archie Bunker-Mike Stivic dynamics with one of the daughter's boyfriend/husbands. On the one hand... as sitcoms about middle-class white families go, it's not that bad because they actually show people having political disagreements with well-articulated positions, and the oldest daughter (who's pretty solidly liberal) wins as many arguments as the more conservative characters do. Even when I personally think she shouldn't. It's funny but also pretty grounded in politics and world events, more so than a lot of similar sitcoms.

On the other hand... there's a lot of white privilege at work here, across the spectrum. It's a bit weird to watch, because things that seem so far out of the main (you don't need government to provide healthcare because families really can provide for their own! If you work hard and are smart you're pretty much guaranteed to achieve your dreams, and when they don't pan out it's an unfathomable injustice!)... well, I'm left wondering if this is how middle America actually sees themselves, if these expectations are sincere rather than laughtrack-worthy. It's a bit disorienting to watch, somehow.

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