Enlarged Families. Developments of a Television Genre: Italian Family Comedy

Luca Barra, Cecilia Penati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


“Family comedy” represents one of the most important sub-genres of Italian TV fiction. Since the early stage of the medium, it has been a typical production of the Italian public service broadcaster (Rai) and of commercial TV networks (Fininvest/Mediaset), distinguishing itself from other international experiences of television comedy focused on the domestic environment (for instance, the US situation comedy), and imposing itself as crucial for a wide and mainstream audience. However, as a result of the development of new platforms and multiple access points to television programming in the context of convergent television, the genre had to re-collocate and update itself in order to maintain its relevance and to take advance of the new possibilities of engaging the audience. Aim of the essay is to investigate how, in the mutable scenery of contemporary Italian television, successful examples of family comedies such as I Cesaroni and Tutti pazzi per amore hybridize their features with other cultural elements of media environment (for instance pop music, teen literature, and talk shows). The paper will point out how, in these fictions, traditional and strictly genre-specific devices are used in a new, different way, however maintaining a strong continuity with the conventional patterns of the genre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-17
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • commedia
  • commedia familiare
  • convergenza
  • famiglia
  • fiction
  • storia
  • televisione
  • tv


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