Introduction explode if he is called out

Introduction
to and Summary of the Case

“It’s
Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” is the longest-running sitcom series on
Television. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” is about five dysfunctional
alcoholic friends (the Gang) who own a bar called Paddy’s Pub in Philadelphia,
together. The Gang includes Dee, Dennis, and Frank Reynolds, Charlie Kelly, and
Mac. The Gang challenges the social norms of society and the humor in the
series shows how the gang is selfish, unaware and oblivious, they are compared
to the outside world. Sometimes they care about the bar and other times they do
not care and get drunk. The Gang comes up with insane schemes and they use
Frank’s money to make it happen.  The
Gang has never hesitated to backstab each other if there is something to be
gained.

Dennis
Reynolds is the owner of Patty’s Pub and one of the bartenders. He is a
narcissus, control freak, and charming womanizer. Dennis is the most
Psychopathic of the gang. He has an extreme temper and will explode if he is
called out on it. He is the only one to graduate from an ivy league college
because of this he thinks he superior to the others in the Gang. Since he is a
control freak and narcissus he takes the position of the leader of the Gang. He
has an older twin sister, Dee.

Dee
known as Bird is one of the bartenders at the bar. She’s a struggling actress
and comedian that does not have a chance of becoming famous. She has an intense
fear of crowds and cannot talk to them without wanting to throw up. Like, her
brother Dennis, she is manipulative and controlling, but she usually gets the
short end of the stick with the gang. She likes to consider herself one of the
guys. She is the only female that is a part of the Gang, so they constantly
make fun of her. She lives alone with her cat but then everyone starts moving
in her apartment without asking.

Frank
Reynolds is Dee and Dennis’s father and possibly Charlie’s biological father as
well (he had an affair with Charlie’s mom). He is a new character that was
added in season 2. Frank is a successful businessman and his wealth allows the
gang to do whatever crazy shenanigans they would want to do it without having
to worry about money. Since the Gang did not want him hanging out at the bar,
he bought the bar from under the Gang to make sure he could hang out there. He
is a pervert, sleazy, and insane old man. He prefers having to live in poverty
with Charlie.

Charlie
Kelly is the one who does all the janitorial work or “Charlie work,” at the
bar. He suffers from deep psychological problems and in lives in poverty. He
has an anger problem and abuses substances, such as glue and sprays paint. He
is childish, lacks social skills, full of energy and enthusiasm. He studied
bird law and likes to use big lawyer words. He lives in a little run-down
apartment and sleeps on a pull-out couch surrounded by trash. He is obsessed
with the waitress a woman he does not have a chance with, cats, and cheese.
Compared to the others in the gang he is the most “kind-hearted.” Charlie is
the wildcard in the gang.

Mac
is the “dumb muscle” of the bar. He is always trying to show off that he is a
“tough badass”, even though he has no real physical skill. He is a
contradictory Christian and self-righteous, and ambiguously gay. He likes to do
things that imply he is gay, but he will deny it and say being gay is a sin.
The entire group knows he is gay but when they say it he plays dumb and acts
confused. He makes up stories to seem cool to the Gang because he is desperate
to be loved by everyone including his parents.

There
are many communication theories that can be applied to this TV series because
of the controversial topics that are included in each episode. This case study
will focus on the application of standpoint theory and social judgment theory
in the TV series. Both of these theories apply perfectly to the TV series.
There are many examples from this TV series that can analyze and interpreted by
these two theories.

Theory Summary and Application

Standpoint Theory

Nancy
Hart stock and Sandra Hardy where the Pioneers the feminist standpoint Theory,
which we now know as just standpoint theory, because it does not only apply to
feminism anymore (Griffin, 2012). Standpoint theory originally comes from Marx
and is a postmodern method for analyzing inter-subjective discourses. The main
concept of standpoint theory is how being a member of a social group shapes what
individuals experience, know, feel, do, as well as how they understand social
life as a whole. Standpoint theory comes from critical reflection and
engagement in oppositional stance to the dominant one.

Standpoint
theory is not just a perspective but it is rooted in a person. Standpoint
theory happens in the recognition that unequal relations are responsible for
the margination or oppression of those groups are shaped by that inequality and
it critiques claims of commitment knowledge. Standpoint theory is a person’s
attitude and viewpoint on a particular issue based on their experiences
everyone has different standpoint because we don’t have the same experiences as
others. There are standpoints based on geographical location, race,
socioeconomic status, and gender differences (Littlejohn, Foss & Oetzel,
2017, pg.58).”

Another
example, Dee is a woman who speaks bluntly and because of this, she is viewed
negativity by the Gang. Dee is clear and direct with the way she sends her
messages but because of social hierarchies and norms that expect women to be
quiet can prevent her message from being heard. When there is an issue that the
Gang needs to solve, Dee will voice her opinion and even though her idea might
be good the Gang tends to block her out or put her down just for a laugh. There
is even an episode that Dee becomes so depressed and gives up on her appearance
the rest of the gang gets worries. They start “listening” and “helping” her to
become a successful comedian. It gets to the point where she can even tell
jokes in front of crowds despite her fear and urge to throw up. A manager comes
up to her and offers her a job. She starts being the same old Dee again. This
is when the Gang reviles that the manager is just a paid actor to trick her.
She loses her self-confidence. She asks why they would do that? Pull such a big
prank and they say they just wanted her back to normal and now that she is they
could tell her the truth. They start laughing at her for thinking she could be
a famous comedian because women are not funny. Their standpoint is that woman
should be looked at and not heard. Dee’s standpoint is that since she is a
woman that women can do anything they can put their minds too.

Another
example is when the Gang decides to leave the bar for some different scenery at
the park and they instantly regret it. While they are there a football is
thrown in their direction and the guy who threw it says the Philadelphia Eagles
are having tryouts. Dee says she wants to try out and The Gang tells her she
cannot try out because she is a girl. She said well see about that. Dennis and
Mac show up to tryouts and Dee shows up dressed up like a man so she can try
out. She outperforms all the guys at the tryouts including Dennis and Mac.
Since she is doing so well, she decides to reveal she is a woman to everyone
who is left with the tryouts that she is a woman. She states that she is going
to kick the ball 60 yards to prove that woman can be just as good as men. When
she goes to punt she ends up breaking her foot. Mac and Dennis feel like that
proves they were right in their standpoint. 
The Gang’s standpoint is that women are weak and cannot play sports.
They believe that football is a man’s sport. Dee’s standpoint since she is a
woman is different from the Gang’s. Her standpoint is that women are equal to
men in all aspects.

An
example of a standpoint based on race is in the first season in episode one.
The episode starts with Charlie, Mac, and Dennis in the bar counting their
profits from the bar from the night before. After counting everything they talk
about closing the bar because they cannot pay rent. Dee walks in and says that
her friend from theater class is coming to the bar and not to act strangely. As
Dee is debating with the guys if they are strange or not, her black friend
Terrell walks into the bar. The guys act surprises this black guy has walked in
and they tell him the bar is closed. Terrell tells them he knows and is
confused by the way Mac tells him, “we do not any trouble.” The guys saw
Terrell as a threat and got fearful. Dee tells the guys that he is Terrell from
her acting class. They laugh and say sorry about what has just happened to
break any tension and from making it seem like they are racists. Dennis tries
to explain to Terrell why their behavior is acceptable.

Mac,
Charlie and Dennis’s standpoint caused them to react frightened and defensive
when they met Terrell. They perceived the world from their particular
standpoint based on their experiences. Dee views the world from a different
standpoint than the Gang. Therefore, she perceived the situation and the bar
differently and she did not see a problem with her friend’s race. Here again,
we see how the gang’s particular standpoint makes them act and communicate a
certain way.  One might say they are
naive because their past experiences have caused them to judge others. This is
where the standpoint theorist idea about people of the dominant having a less
subjective view of the world. Privileged groups are not forced to observe the
realities of inferior groups; therefore, their standpoints are usually more
narrow and biased.

Social Judgment Theory

Muzafer
Sherif and his colleagues called the analysis of attitudes the social
judgment-involvement approach, but most scholars refer to it as social judgment
theory. The social judgment theory (SJT) is the perception and evaluation of an
idea by comparing it with current attitudes. Sherif says the SJT is, “a classic
in social psychology; it has had a long-term impact on the study of social
persuasion (Littlejohn, Foss & Oetzel, 2017, pg.58).” SJP started with
research that showed how context affects the assessment of physical objects.
Social perception is the way humans judge messages. Sherif says,”In
interactions with others, we rely on our international anchor or reference
points; these are based largely on previous experiences (Littlejohn, Foss &
Oetzel, 2017, pg.58).” There are three levels of SJT: 1. Latitude of
acceptance, 2. Latitude of rejection, and 3. Latitude of noncommitment. (Littlejohn,
Foss & Oetzel, 2017, pg.58-59).”

 The first level of SJT is the latitude of
acceptance is the range of ideas that a person sees as reasonable or worthy of
consideration and “it’s made up of the item you underlined and any others you
circled as acceptable (Griffin, 2012, pg.195).” Assimilation effect is if
something falls within the latitude of acceptance. Arguments are seen as more
persuasive and fall within the latitude of acceptance. An example of the
latitude of acceptance is in the episode where Charlie writes, The Day Man
Cometh, it is a musical that he wants the Gang to help him perform. The episode
starts with Charlie entering the bar all excited and singing and he tells the
Gang about the awesome musical he just wrote. The Gang is skeptical as to why
he would write a musical, so they start guessing the ulterior motive. Charlie
starts yelling at them saying they are wrong and he just did it to do it.  Charlie uses persuasion to convince the Gang
to be in the musical. He states, if you guys do not want to be in it he can
give away their parts. This is when the Gang decides they want to be a part of
it. The anchor he uses is he knows that all of them like be the in the
spotlight and would want to do it knowing he wrote parts specifically for each
one of them. Before he says he will give away their parts the gang did not want
to be part of it and were determined to find out why he wrote it. Once he says
he says they have parts that is when They drop the subject and want to be in it
and Charlie has gotten what he wanted.

The
second level is called the latitude of rejection this is the range of ideas that
a person sees as unreasonable or objectionable (Littlejohn, Foss & Oetzel,
2017, pg.59).”. This means that I am dealing with the previous statement. If a
message falls under the latitude of rejection, attitude change will be reduced
or nonexistent; “Contrast effect is if the message is distorted negativity and
perceived as the father from and less similar to your anchor position than it
actually is (Littlejohn, Foss & Oetzel, 2017, pg.59).” An example is when
Dee is singing a song and her interpretation of the song was different than
Charlie has written.  Dee is expressing
her latitude of rejection by not wanting to sing the song because she finds its
unacceptable. Charlie tells her that is fine and the song is out and that is
when she asks what else will she sing and he tells her to turn to the back page
and it is blank. Charlie tells her its either sing the song or there is no song
and Dee is upset and says hey this is her only song. This is when you see
Charlie has persuaded Dee into doing the song. Charlie starts to express his
anger and ask, “was it dee who wrote a musical? No, it was Charlie.” He gives
her three options either she does the song, the pianist will sing the song
because dee did not write it, or he will strap on a wig and sing the song
himself.  Charlie asks, “Song or no
song?” Dee says, “Song, yeah song.  I was
never not gonna sing the song. I would like to do it.” After that, she takes
her place back on stage. He knows how bad Dee wants to be an actress but he
knows this is his musical.

Boomerang
effect happens if your position strengthens the discrepant message (Littlejohn,
Foss & Oetzel, 2017, pg.59).”. An example in the same episode, Dee tries to
add a song to the play right before they perform. She tries to do it last
minute to get her way, but Charlie tells her he will slap her face into tiny
pieces. She said, “okay, no song.” Earlier, we saw that Charlie needed to
convince her into doing the song but this time he does not need to use as much
persuasion to get Dee to let go of adding another song. Even though Dee has a
high ego most of the time, Charlie is able to convince her rather fast.

The
last level of a latitude is the latitude of non-commitment the range of ideas
that a person sees as neither acceptable nor objectionable (Littlejohn, Foss
& Oetzel, 2017, pg.59).” At the end of the play, Charlie comes out singing
a song that was not included in the script. Everyone is watching him to see
what is going on and that is when he asks the waitress to marry him. The
waitress gets up and starts to walk away. Charlie is stunned that his plan of
writing the musical just to persuade the waitress into falling in love with him
has failed. The musical is a metaphor for what Charlie would like to happen
between him and the waitress. He is the boy and Dayman and the waitress is the
princess in the story. The waitress does not find Charlie’s idea making a
musical just for a marriage proposal as acceptable or unacceptable. She does
not have any feelings toward what has just happened, she just wants Charlie to
leave her alone. This time Charlie did not have a strong enough argument to
change the waitress latitude.

Ego
involvement is the sense of the personal relevance of an issue, demonstrated by
membership in a group with a stand. If a person has a high attitude relevance
of the topic they may feel passionate about it they have a high ego (Littlejohn,
Foss & Oetzel, 2017).” For example, this person would be Charlie since he
is so passionate about his musical.  This
high ego would make it very difficult for them to persuade or doing the
opposite side. An example of this is when the Gang tries to make adjustments to
the musical and Charlie is not having it. If a person has a low attitude they
would have a low ego towards the topic at hand his means they are easy to
persuade to join your cause. An example of this is the rest of the Gang and how
at first, they were not interested in Charlie’s musical but once he said they
had parts they jumped on board.

Conclusion

Both
standpoint theory and SJT can be applied very well to this case. The TV series
relies on the main characters to show their thought processes through
communication. The two theories are closely related in the sense that they both
have to deal with the thought process people have. Standpoint theory is not
just a perspective but it is rooted in you. A person’s standpoint regulates how
they will compose, analyze and relay messages. One of the limitations of using
this theory is it results in generalizations and stereotypes. All members of a
group are not the same because they can belong to more than one group. An
example is how Charlie is the one that stands out the most because he is purer
and kind compared to the others in the group. Even though he has been hanging
out with these people since he was in high school, he still has a different way
of thinking. Like one-day Dee offers to take Charlie out for a Spa day. Charlie
is so confused he thinks a spa day is short for spaghetti day. They are a part
of the same group but Dee came from a different social economical background
then Charlie.

    The biggest strength of standpoint theory
is it has been good for grabbing the attention of communication behaviors of
different social groups, increasing our knowledge of human interaction. An
example is how a scientist sees how Charlie interacts at the bar and wants to
do a study on him and the rest of the Gang. Another example is the Gang grabbed
the attention of a toymaker and he is interested in mass producing a board game
they have created together. He wants to watch how they play the game because it
is so unusual. In this episode, you can see how different the Gang is compared
to other groups in society.

Social
judgment theory is important because it says each audience member will perceive
a persuasive message differently from each other. How we respond to the
messages depends if the message falls in their anchor and latitude. There are
three levels of SJT: 1. Latitude of acceptance, 2. Latitude of rejection, and
3. Latitude of noncommitment. Contrast and boomerang effects what happen when
messages fall within the latitude of rejection. If a message falls under the
latitude of rejection, attitude change will be reduced or nonexistent (Littlejohn,
Foss & Oetzel, 2017, pg.58).”

A
strength of SJT is that it helps attitude changed on where a person holds a
position. An example of this each time someone in the Gang comes up with a bad
idea, they someone convince the rest of them to join in. Furthermore, this
theory does a good job in explaining the perception of messages that influence
persuasion. An example of this how the Gang is able to convince the waitress
and Cricket (secondary characters) into doing things for them that end up in
disaster for the two. Their social status declines after they get involved with
the Gang.

A
limitation of this theory is that it ignores message content. An example of
this is the episode where Charlie uses his mom to act like she has cancer in
order to make money for the bar. She does not approve of this idea at all but
since his argument is strong she ends up going along with the idea, even though
she feels really guilty about it. Another limitation ignores the effects of
source credibility, a factor that can change attitude. For example, Charlie
likes to say he studied bird law and he is the expert on the law just to appear
smart.

Overall,
standpoint theory and social judgment theory work very well together to explain
how the Gang thinks because of past experiences and how they are able to change
each other’s latitudes. These two theories can be used as a way to help a
person understand their personal perspective and what will cause them to change
them. We can see how the Gang has changed over the years and are more opened
minded but are still naïve. The Gang still has their own ways of thinking but
that makes for an interesting TV series.