Is America’s most realistic sit-com a cartoon?

My article on King of the Hill from Humor in America.

Humor in America

By Ben Anderson

King of the HIll image hank hillI had two weeks off work recently and much to my wife’s chagrin I spent it watching whole seasons of my favourite sitcoms in a single sitting. Among the miasma of single New Yorkers and ugly guys with hot wives one show stayed in my memory, Mike Judge’s animated sitcom King of the Hill. It’s an underrated programme which won two Emmys and ran for 13 seasons, longer than even Friends or Seinfeld. What made the show standout was its low key, realistic approach to comedy. This wasn’t 22 minutes of redneck stereotypes but a show with a defined sense of place and character. Judge and co-creator Greg Daniels kept the show grounded for more than a decade, striving to find humour in the conventional and ultimately creating what Time TV critic James Poniewozik called “The most acutely observed, realistic sitcom about regional American life bar none”.

What…

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From Indonesia with Love

I for one am shocked, SHOCKED, that Australian’s spies might be spying on people.

A news story hasn’t shaken me this much since I found out SAS Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith was awarded the Victoria Cross for killing people. I thought he received it for services to current affairs programs.

The revelations published in the Guardian this week really hit home for me. The Defence Department facility allegedly used in the phone tapping is near the farm my pet dog went to live on when I was 12. The thought of it being used for nefarious purposes is utterly bewildering. Continue reading

A tale of two Facebooks

I love science. And not just in a passive Brian-Cox-marvelling-at-a-distant-galaxy-way.

I want to make love to it in an expletive fashion. So I’m extremely fortunate there is a Facebook group that caters to my specific fetish.

I Fucking Love Science probably rates in between The Big Bang Theory and Mythbusters in promoting scientific knowledge to a mainstream audience. Continue reading

It’s the little things

It’s a crowded world we live in. Six billion people crammed in to 30 per cent of the planet’s surface area, minus desolate wastelands like Antarctica and Canberra.

We are as different as we are prodigious. There are more than 7000 languages spoken, 832 in Papua New Guinea alone. Burping after a meal is supposedly good manners in China but don’t try that bit of multiculturalism at an Asutralian Sunday roast. Humanity is so diverse we can’t even agree on which game is called football.

You’d think surrounded by all this variation the xenophobes among us would let the small differences slide and instead concentrate their intolerance on people who were genuinely exotic. Continue reading

Political correctness gone mainstream

Bloody PC hippy Source: smh.com.au

The popular view of political correctness is that it is an exclusively left wing phenomenon.
Two seasonally appropriate examples of “political correctness gone mad” are craven shopping centres removing Nativity scenes so as not to offend Muslims and bushfires caused by Green/ALP opposition to backburning.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison made use of this public perception on Monday when he defended his use of the term “illegal arrival” to describe asylum seekers who arrived by boat. Continue reading

Look mum, I did a journalism

As if the prospect of encountering Christopher Pyne on campus didn’t terrify university students enough, this month they awoke to the news there were more people studying journalism than there are working journalists.

It’s a grim statistic so in order to offer a fleeting burst of hope, I would like to share a few journalistic secrets on what employers are looking for. Continue reading

Costume dramas

Source: Aimo at Deviant Art

Source: Aimo at Deviant Art

One of ironies of my life is the older I get, the more costume parties I am invited to. Not a month goes by without someone insisting the only way to celebrate reaching the same age their mother was when she had them is to dress as my favourite superhero.

Come Monday morning there is an exhibition’s worth of photos on Facebook of otherwise sensible public servants and engineers dressed as Breaking Bad characters.

It’s not how young Ben imagined adulthood back in the early 1990s. I pictured myself getting married (tick), buying a house (tick) and owning a flying car (seriously, who do we have to give millions of dollars in government bailouts to to make this happen?). Continue reading