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Course description

This course studies a recent popular culture phenomenon: the satiric animated television show. We will be studying about fifty episodes chosen from four television series: South Park, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Futurama. We will focus on how the shows use satire to make statements about our culture and ourselves. Weekly discussions will revolve around one of ten broad themes, examining how the selected episodes comment specifically on these themes and on related issues. Students are expected to watch the episodes on their own time. We will also read and discuss some important statements about satire (its definitions and its uses), and we will use these readings to facilitate our study of the television shows. Note that this course is not a general appreciation course for the shows or the genre: it is an attempt to understand the cultural work performed by the shows, where we will focus our attention on the shows’ use of satire to accomplish this. Prior knowledge of the shows is not required.

Marc R. Plamondon, Ph.D. Department of English Studies Nipissing University