since 1965  (really?)

Social Issues As Examined Through "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

This course listing applies to a Fall 2011 course. To find current courses, check out the Find a Course page.

Fall 2011
2 Unit(s)

Human friendly URL (OBSOLETE)


About the Course:


This course focuses on a show that features five characters with extreme tendencies and goofy personalities that participate and interact with social issues in the city of Philadelphia. The writers of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia satirically critique societal and cultural problems of our world today, and their commentary provides a comical representation of American society. Topics of discussion and recurring themes in the series include drug and alcohol addiction, abortion and pregnancy, welfare dependency, child molestation, racism, childhood abuse and bullying, competition, homophobia, illiteracy, among others. The goal of this class is to understand the societal structures, and often to see how "the gang" exploits (or attempts to exploit) the system. The “politically incorrect” nature of the characters allows this show to break down any discomfort associated with discussion on racy issues, and we think that it is a vital aspect of the show that will encourage debate without needing to tiptoe around terms and issues. The main characters are by no means to be viewed as cultural role models, but there is much to learn from their faults, their self centered natures, and their extreme tendencies. Each class will be structured around either specific episodes or recurring themes, and then we will have a group discussion in relation to the episode and the assigned reading.

Class Requirements:

This class is graded Pass-No Pass. 
To pass, students must:
*  attend at least 12 of the 14 scheduled class meetings.  There will not be “excused” and “unexcused” absences; more than two absences means that you will fail (or should withdraw from) the class
*  turn in 3 one-page reflections on different weeks’ topics
*  participate in class discussions  
*  participate in a group project.   


Tentative Schedule:

            9/12                         Introduction

            9/19                        Bullying

            9/26                        Alcohol and Drug Abuse

            10/3                        Pregnancy & Abortion

            10/10                        Social Stratification

            10/17                        Innovation and Economy

            10/24                        Racism

            10/31                        Health Care

            11/7                        Politics & Patriotism

            11/14                        Competition

            11/21                        Group Presentations

            11/28                        Group Presentations



How to Enroll:

First come, First serve. Email for the entry information

If we have too many applicants, we will hold a preliminary quiz on It's Sunny in Philadelphia knowledge to maintain that the students who would gain the most from this course are allowed in

Course Contact: nirbenshlomo AT, beccacushing AT, michellewu060990 AT


Faculty Sponsor: Jane Mauldon

Time & Location:

Sunny1Nir Ben-Shlomo
Rebecca Cushing
Michelle Wu
40210 WheelerM 5p-7p9/12full

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Course info last modified August 31, 2011. This page has been viewed 17423 times.

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