Politics in Comedies
In season 4, episode 20 of the hit sitcom New Girl, a tone different from the rest of the laughs and iconic Schmidt and Nick moments was found within this episode. In “Par 5,” Winston, part of LAPD and black, falls for a political activist who is also black but protests against police brutality. Winston is at a loss and decides to lie to the girl because he didn’t want her to find out his true career. By the end of the show, Winston is talking to Nick about how all throughout his childhood he learned to be afraid of the police and would run from them. New Girl brought the elephant in the room to the forefront, which led to a very awkward episode. I argue that shows should stick to their genre and not try to incorporate political messages if they aren’t political pieces.
Power of TV
Television shows capture audiences’ attentions and can promote a wide variety of messages, which isn’t a bad thing; however, when a show is mainly known for its comedic relief, a political reference sticks out like a sore thumb when mentioned. TV shows today have been incorporating more and more political messages into their episodes; however, these messages detract from the purpose of the show and can make the viewer uncomfortable when they are poorly timed. I would also say that a show like New Girl should be very careful when presenting political arguments because it is known for its comedy. When Winston began to discuss his childhood and the police, the show tried to become more serious, but it just made for an awkward five minutes of viewing.
Comedy is Comedy
In conclusion, television shows shouldn’t go away from their main purpose. Although they have the power to speak out on issues of today, they should be extremely careful when presenting those issues into a context that isn’t normally known for its political activism. New Girl should have stayed away from the political realm and not crossed into the muddy territory of bringing up controversial issues.