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'Touching cloth…': considering satire and the clergy in popular contemporary British animation

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Assessing the failings of mechanisms of power through comedy has remained a constant throughout animation. Within the specific arena of ‘the popular’, always a potent area for consideration, adult British network television animation in the early part of the 21st century has maintained a unique relationship with modes of Satire that has enabled writers and performers to explicitly address such concerns. An illustration of this can be located within the animated satire, Popetown (2005). This is a useful vehicle by which to not only assess British mainstream animation’s interaction with one of the key social institutions, the Church, but it also serves as a barometer for broader cultural attitudes towards tradition, hierarchy and authority and as well as assessing contemporary definitions of the satiric form itself. Popetown has also since become notable for effectively drawing to a close a period of institutional support within British mainstream Television animation, mainly through an inception defined by concession, but also through its failure to fully exploit the freedoms afforded to its form. In actuality it embodies many of the shortcomings now located within contemporary satirical comedy. By placing the show into a broader cultural context what emerges here is how conceptions of nostalgia, rather than any direct interrogation of institutions, now appear to shape the basis of British animated mainstream satire.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimation Studies: Peer Reviewed Online Journal for Animation History and Theory
Volume5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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