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Reading: Welcome to the Sitcom School: A Globalized Outlook for the Study of Television History

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Welcome to the Sitcom School: A Globalized Outlook for the Study of Television History

Author:

Sharon Shahaf

Department of Radio, Television and Film University of Texas at Austin
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Abstract

Extending back the insight offered by the emerging framework of global television formats, this article examines the production and public reception of the first Israeli sitcom, Krovim-Krovim, produced by Israeli Educational Television (IETV) between 1982 and 1986. As the first fullblown Israeli series and a show modeled on the globally popular sitcom formula, Krovim-Krovim was simultaneously celebrated for its Israeliness and condemned as a potential source of Western ‘cultural contamination’. The concerns converging around Krovim-Krovim in 1980s Israel are representative of a larger global trend in that period that witnessed ‘the second wave of globalization’. The simplistic media imperialism scenario that still dominates scholarship of these trends fails to grasp the complexities typifying the process of globalization. Representing as they do simultaneous standardization and heterogenization of form and content across borders, global television formats seems to embody these complexities. By reevaluating IETV’s sitcom production as an early case of format adaptation this article demonstrates the promises of this fresh outlook for the study of historical as well as contemporary trends in television globalization. By foregrounding the perspective of ‘local’ producers and critics, this article explores the cultural significance of format adaptation for marginal and belated broadcast systems - like 1980s Israeli television.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.116
How to Cite: Shahaf, S., (2007). Welcome to the Sitcom School: A Globalized Outlook for the Study of Television History. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 4(4), pp.103–123. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.116
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Published on 01 Nov 2007.
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