Beyond a Joke pp 162-179 | Cite as

Comedies of Sexual Morality and Female Singlehood

  • Deborah Chambers


A group of popular television situation comedies circulating among Anglophone nations since the 1990s show how situation comedy has been reshaped to feature the lives of single women. White, professional women are being identified as the source of shifting lifestyles and morals in comedies such as Sex and the City (HBO and Channel 4), Absolutely Fabulous (BBC TV), The Vicar of Dibley (BBC), and Ally McBeal (Fox and Channel 4). These are echoed in films such as Bridget Jones’s Diary and its sequel which explores anxieties associated with finding a partner, sustaining intimate relationships and breaking down traditional forms of gender identity. Key themes of dating, being ‘unattached’, working in a masculine profession, non-marital sex, lone parenthood and cohabitation are delved into from the perspective of heterosexual urban women in their thirties and forties. Focusing on the independence and sexuality of the single woman, these comedies are morality plays structured by a comedic engagement with gendered identity.


Single Woman Premature Ejaculation Sexual Morality Late Modernity Situation Comedy 
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Copyright information

© Deborah Chambers 2005

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  • Deborah Chambers

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