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Content loaded within last 14 days Domesticity and masculinity in Some Mothers Do ‘ave ‘em

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This article makes a case for the radical potential of the traditional domestic sitcom as a critical cultural vehicle, challenging hegemonic understandings of the form as conservative. Through a detailed consideration of the BBC’s Some Mothers Do ‘ave ‘em (1973‐78), one of the most popular examples from the 1970s, it points to the series’ critique of the heteronormative intimacies and domestic configurations that are assumed to be at the heart of traditional sitcom, presenting them as a site of disruption and unease rather than one of stability. The article asks how the character of Frank Spencer is defined by domesticity, appropriating a line of enquiry that is traditionally applied to female subjects and femininities. By queering the critical frame in this way, it opens up a fresh approach to the British sitcom elaborated through a variety of inter- and extratextual material, building on recent studies that have begun to explore what a queer perspective might contribute to the understanding of sitcom and its history (Villarejo 2014; Pugh 2018; White 2018; Miller 2019). Furthermore, by uncovering the queer potential of ‘prime-time’ televisual domesticities, this article suggests that prime-time content could occupy far more radical discursive positions than have been assumed, and complicates traditional assumptions around the relationship between television and domesticity.
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Keywords: 1970s; British television; Some Mothers Do ‘ave ‘em; domesticity; gender; masculinity; queerness; sitcom

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000088091613University of Warwick

Publication date: October 1, 2020

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