Despite Political Hostility, Russia Devours American Culture

The New York Times has a rather amusing article today about the Russian version of the American sitcom “Married with Children” – which, along with many other examples of cultural exports, has been a runaway hit among Russians. Does the popularity of U.S.-style sitcoms and other entertainment illustrate a gap between the Kremlin’s fiercely anti-American mentality and everyday reality in Russia?


(Photo: _dorothy_ on Flickr)

New York Times:

A drumbeat of anti-Americanism may be coming from the Kremlin these days, but across Russia people are embracing that quintessentially American genre, the television sitcom, not to mention one of its brassiest examples. And curiously enough, it is the Russian government that has effectively brought “Married With Children” to this land, which somehow made it through the latter half of the 20th century without the benefit of the laugh track. The show’s success says something not only about changing tastes here but also about Russia’s standing. Sitcoms are typically grounded in middle-class life and poke fun at it. The popularity of Russian versions of “Married With Children” and other adaptations of American sitcoms suggests that Russia has gained enough stability and wealth in recent years that these jokes resonate with viewers. “ ‘Married With Children,’ with its satire on the American middle class, fits the style of our channel well,” said Dmitri Troitsky, a senior executive at the Russian channel TNT, a Gazprom-owned network whose programming bent is roughly similar to that of the Fox network in the United States. “It seemed interesting and topical for us to do a parody on the Russian middle class.”

Full article here.