Up to this point I have argued for the ways animated programs have followed in the traditions of American humor. Primarily, I have examined the common themes and perspectives that bind together American humorists from a multitude of places, genres, and time periods. The best American humorists provide a comic shadow of American life by critiquing the very institutions on which America defi nes itself, whether it is capitalism and the market culture it produces, the tragic gap between the promises made by America’s foundational documents and the reality, America’s tendency to whitewash its history, or the use of humor to critique the presence of racial tension and oppression. I have argued that rather than springing from nowhere, animated programs continue in these critiques of American culture. However, another important element in American humor is the audience’s perception of the humorous work’s authenticity in addressing the aforementioned concerns. If a work seeks to lay claim to a truth about an American injustice, should they operate by the same rules as other texts? To wit, are the humorists themselves sometimes complicit in the very acts that they critique? For example, if Mark Twain excoriates American capitalism in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, is not he complicit in that system as an aspiring entrepreneur himself ? Therefore, an important function in the American humorist’s arsenal is the ability to promote authenticity by critiquing the system from within. For this chapter, I would like to discuss the methods that animated programs have used to comment on their restrictions from within, particularly in their resistance to their own commodifi cation and the rejection of commercial culture, their use of intertextuality to carve out a discursive ideological space to provide their unique satire, and their use of irony to address American concerns. In so doing, these programs are not so different from American humorists from previous eras, who have had to create an ideological space for critical commentary that transcends the expectations of their genre and audience. The critique offered by these artists criticizes the commodifi cation of art in American culture as they legitimize their own artistic expressions. While these programs in many ways are responding to their own status as postmodern art in a consumer driven society, they also participate in

this endeavor in order to legitimate the importance of their humor, which is a practice employed by past American humorists.