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I huvudet på Bender: Futurama, parodi, satir och konsten att se på tv


  • Oscar Jansson

Summary, in Swedish

The thesis investigates the forms of parody and satire found in the American TV-show 'Futurama', and the effects of the parodic discourse on the (implied) viewer. 'Futurama' is argued to be an archetypal example of a special type of parody, which the author calls "mass medial parody". This type of parody is characterized by incessant intertextual playing and parodying, and calls for a specific type of “parodic viewer”. This viewer is most notably distinguished from other (implied) interpreters of parodic discourses by the fact that it does not require distinct mappings and interpretations of the parody’s “target texts” – instead mass medial parodies rely on the viewer’s (reader’s, listener’s) ability to instantaneously recognize parodic references as parodic. The thesis argues that this recognition, rather than the interpretation of the target texts, makes the foundation for the most important esthetic effects of mass medial parodies like 'Futurama'.

A theoretical framework is laid out by way of among others Linda Hutcheon’s 'A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms' (1985), Hans-Georg Gadamer’s 'Wharheit und Methode' (1960), Wolfgang Iser’s 'The Implied Reader' (1974) and Bret Mills 'The Sitcom' (2009). 'Futurama' is then thoroughly investigated in a manner resembling “close reading”, focusing both on the TV-shows formal structure, rhetorical strategies, hermeneutical functions and esthetic effects. Much emphasis is laid on 'Futurama’s' parodic and satirical scrutinizing of television and the metafictional effects of this scrutinizing. The thesis finds that one of 'Futurama’s' most important rhetorical strategies lies in the blending of the actual viewer’s television-set and the intratextual representations of the TV-medium. This integration of real and fictional television is important both for 'Futurama’s' parodic discourse, and for its satirical effects. It is also a cornerstone for the idea of “mass medial parody”, as it puts in the foreground mass medial representation and circulation of images, motifs and narratives.

The thesis closes with a post scriptum where the author delineates areas for further studies. More work could be done concerning the satirical dimension of 'Futurama', not least in connection to contemporary American politics. Further narratological studies of the series four feature-films and the impact of the television medium on the structure of narrative (commercial breaks, the television’s connotation of “relaxed” viewers etc.) could also be done.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Futurama
  • Parodi
  • Satir


  • Paul Tenngart