Have we become too sensitive with the new age of media?

By Monserrat Solis, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Where can we draw the line at situations that are offensive or when something that is meant with no harm are allowed to be funny.


Steve Carell dismissed the idea of “The Office” reboot, because the culture of today is too sensitive.  Does he have a point?

“It might be impossible to do that show today and have people accept it the way it was accepted 10 years ago,” said Carell in an interview with Variety. “The climate’s different.”

“The Office,” which ended five years ago, is still popular primarily thanks to Netflix and fans continue to ask for a reboot.  Petitions on change.org have been created and fans on twitter regularly tweet to bring back the show.  Some episodes do contain sensitive material that would not hold up with Twitter culture or the #MeToo movement, but where do we draw the line when it comes to comedy?

In the second episode of the first season named “Diversity Day,” the episode touches on racism and it was racist.  Michael Scott, played by Carell, planned a diversity training program, but in retrospect did the opposite.  His character is always finding himself in unethical situations.

Other episodes include his character being insensitive to female coworkers, or instigating negative work environments from his delusional standpoint.  His comedic routines are borderline racist and sexist, which can turn heads.  But as the audience, you can assume it is all an act and the character is deeper than that.  It is dry and dark humor.

Pete Davidson, an SNL comedian, was met with backlash when he joked about 9/11 resulting in his father’s death during the Justin Bieber roast in 2015.  But for him, this dark humor worked.  These jokes made light of him losing his father. To other people this may be insensitive, but what would happen if we tip-toed around all tragedy?

Comedy for most is used as a momentary lapse of laughter and happiness.  Yes, there are certain topics that are blacklisted, but if we included every tragedy it would be a long list.  We have definitely become too soft and social media plays a huge role.

Sensitivity in the media is heightened, especially on Twitter with users taking to the platform to voice their loud opinions, thus creating “cancel culture.” This is when a group tries to bring down an account or person; this kind of action has become popularized on Twitter.

Carell is stating an important issue regarding changing sensibilities and jokes do not alway change with the times, but when it comes to comedy there should be some leeway, especially for a fan favorite show.  Society has changed through the years and we are more sensitive, but we should be hyper-aware of what is right and wrong and to take a joke once in a while.

The Valley Star 

Los Angeles Valley College

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