Nick Marx’s article published in Communication, Culture & Critique
Associate Professor Nick Marx has published the article “Home economics: Sitcom capitalism, conservative comedy, and media conglomeration in post-network television” in Communication, Culture & Critique, volume 16, issue 1, March 2022.
This article argues that conservative comedy has become a considerable cultural force in the service of not only achieving political outcomes, but also protecting the wealth and class privileges of America’s right-wing elite. It surveys the scholarly conversation on the politics of American sitcoms, noting how existing research has only provided a partial accounting of conservatism in television comedy. It expands the notion of conservative comedy by considering the sitcom Last Man Standing’s (LMS) place in post-network television, an industry increasingly driven by financialization, corporate consolidation, and the tendency to treat intellectual property—i.e., television shows themselves—as commodities. Finally, it examines several key episodes from LMS centered on property ownership, financial struggle, and precarious labor. The program works to normalize conservative ideologies about these subjects, seamlessly resolving their tensions by making the wisdom of the show’s patriarch and that of free market capitalism one and the same.