THE CHANGING IMPORTANCE OF THE REAL AND SITCOM FAMILY: EXAMINING GENERATIONAL BEHAVIOR TOWARDS FAMILY THROUGH TELEVISION VIEWING HABITS
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Generational researchers William Strauss and Neil Howe describe a generation as “unique in acquiring a shared history that lends its members to a social and cultural center of gravity.” Two of the most studied generations are the Boomer generation, people born between 1941 and 1961 and Generation X, people born between 1961 and 1981. Amongst the many generational differences of the two, there are significant distinctions in how each cohort define and place value on the concept of family. Additionally, within both generations the television played an important role. In the past decade, television families have moved away from a traditional model towards a friends and work-based family-type environment. As family values have transformed in reality are their discernible changes to the family on the small screen? Is it possible that the change in the television family is related to generational behavior? Are the changes in television reflective of generational preferences? This study aims to explore if there is a correlation between how the two generations value family and if it affects their choices in viewing situational comedies.