Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Charles in Charge - Gender

Charles in Charge is an odd sitcom when it comes to representing gender, specifically the representation of young males, which I would consider resilient toward an accurate or even reasonable representation of males of the 1980's through the characters of Charles and his best friend Buddy. Charles is literally the perfect young adult, he is attending college, lives in a large house, has a job and family commitments as well as being an all-around nice guy whose sole purpose appears to be to 'woo' the best looking girl on campus by simply realising she is person, and instilling morals and confidence in the children he is raising. Even Charles' fashion sense is that of a young and budding yuppie.

The reason Charles in Charge provides an interesting representation of gender is because it would appear that the writers and producers of the show have repressed the urge to provide a 'realistic' or even current representation of teenagers in an attempt to instead display an idealised version of what a teenager should be, Charles is a 50 year olds interpretation of how young people should behave and the ideals they should possess. There is nothing about Charles or buddy which is remotely similar to the relatable characters of Less than Zero for example or even happy days. This theory that Charles is an adult’s idealised teenager is best displayed in episode 3 of the first series where Charles elects to stay in on a Saturday night because the Pembroke’s deserve a night out without the kids and Buddy's idea of a Saturday night out at the bar is juvenile monotony in the eyes of Charles. This version of a 19 year old does not fit the archetypal teenager of the blank generation.

Charles in Charge does also have other issues regarding the fact that there are no black people in the entire first series of the show and very few throughout the other series but also the fact that the Pembroke’s appear to be yuppies who spend their free time out of the house indulging in leisure activities whilst their children are essentially left with a stranger. Despite the fact that this is undoubtedly a device to allow the show to work it is rather hypocritical to put so much effort in portraying the perfection of Charles as a role model for young people and at the same time promote absent parents as perfectly acceptable as long as someone can raise them.

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