, Volume 46, Issue 11-12, pp 439-442

Television Situation Comedies: Male Weight, Negative References, and Audience Reactions

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Abstract

In a content analysis of 27 different prime-time television situation comedies, we examined the body weights of 75 central male characters (97% White, 3% Black), the negative references these male characters received about their body shape/weight from female characters, the negative references male characters made about themselves, and the audience reactions (e.g., laughter) to the negative references. It was found that (a) above-average weight males were underrepresented in the programs compared to the general population; (b) the heavier the male character, the more negative references he made about his own body shape/weight; and (c) his negative comments about himself were significantly associated with audience reactions. No relationship was found between the body weight of male characters and negative references from female characters. These findings are contrasted with previous research that examined these variables associated with female characters.