Family Guys: What Sitcoms Say About America (w/t)

Confirmed for BBC Two on 27 October at 10.00pm to 11.00pm

Saturday 27 October



With days to go before the Presidential election, it’s easy to think Americans are all at each other’s throats. Historian and journalist Tim Stanley - for whom America is a second home - believes there’s another America out there.

He shows why the best guide to America is the US sitcom – and with the help of top sitcom writers and some of the best examples of their work, he uncovers a fast-changing country that can leave the politicians scrabbling to catch up.

Politics is a serious business, but it doesn’t have to be. Ranging from South Park to The Cosby Show, Family Guy to Will and Grace, The Simpsons to Ellen, Tim explores how sitcoms mirror American life, and shows how they can help us understand what Americans think on issues like race, religion, gay rights, abortion and the economy.

The current smash hit Modern Family has got  teen sex, a mixed race marriage and a gay couple bringing up an adopted baby. It’s hilarious but it also reflects real life, and the attitudes of modern Americans. Tim finds that on other issues - abortion for example - the sitcoms show a hardening of opinions. 

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney say they're fighting for rival visions of America - and the voters are either with them or against them - yet the sitcoms and their writers reveal a country that’s far more complex, surprising - and funny.