Watching the television sitcom has deeper psychological implications than we’d like to believe. At worst, each viewer’s capability of critical thinking goes to sleep, resulting in dormancy. Our experience of it can be like being led by your nose down a lubricated, shiny metal corridor by emotional bait (the laugh track), with enough room to crawl in an infantile stupor of unrealized ambulatory control. However, in their best moments, sitcoms give one cultural cues, offering a model for conducting oneself socially, displaying attitudes and mores of acceptance and tolerance.
Cunningly, sitcoms set up the viewer from an early age to experience not just a fictitious reality but an already pre-approved, society-safe fictitious reality that courses with ideology and often avoids deeper societal antagonisms, i.e. class. Therefore the main thrust and running dialectic of this thesis is that the sitcom is an educator but also a site of social paralysis and delusion. In the Lacanian parlance, the sitcom is the big Other within the big Other, promoting the delusional whole of the Symbolic Order.