Julia Hallam
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Remembering Butterflies
The comic art of housework
in Popular television drama
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In the autumn of 2000, the original cast of Carla Lane's Butterflies reassembled to celebrate Ria's sixtieth birthday as part of the BBC's annual charity appeal Comic Relief. The constant recycling of 'old' situation comedies and their apparently enduring appeal has provoked surprisingly little academic interest. This chapter discusses the complex pleasures of viewing, re-viewing and remembering Butterflies. Most respondents consider Butterflies a 'superior' domestic sitcom in comparison with other popular favourites such as Terry and June, George and Mildred and The Good Life although these shows were also considered enjoyable. Butterflies' themes of marital boredom and frustration have strong similarities to Betty Friedan's interpretation of the discontent and dissatisfaction experienced by white middle-class US housewives in The Feminine Mystique. This book was often dubbed the 'founding' text of second-wave feminism.

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