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Seinfeld and the Comic Vision analyzes the television situation comedy Seinfeld to form a theory of comedy—the comic vision—arguing that comedy should not be seen merely as entertainment, but deserves to be taken seriously as expressing a philosophical worldview. Whitley Kaufman demonstrates how in Seinfeld, and in comedy on a larger scale, characters are given license to violate social norms and to fail to live up to societal ideals in a way that shows they remain fundamentally decent people. Kaufman examines how comedy can be seen as a celebration of the “lower” aspects of human nature—our more animal or bodily side—but argues that the comic vision is not cynical or pessimistic, but rather fundamentally affirmative of human nature and of life, despite the many human limitations. Scholars of television studies, media studies, pop culture, and philosophy will find this book particularly useful.
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About the Author
Whitley Kaufman is professor in the philosophy department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Table of ContentsIntroduction: Seinfeld and the Comic Vision
Chapter 1: Comedy versus the Heroic
Chapter 2: Comedy and Failure
Chapter 3: Comedy, Rebellion, and Authority
Chapter 4: Comedy and Morality
Chapter 5: Love, Sex, and Marriage
Chapter 6: Comedy and Sentimentality
Chapter 7: The Comic Vision