Satire in Paddy Chefesky’s “The Hospital” and “Network”


Chayefsky’s unforgettable piece of screenwriting and popular movies of the American golden era has stamped his everlasting fame and name in the field of showbiz and literature. According to Jacqueline Z. Davis, Barbara G., and Lawrence A. Fleischman Executive Director for the Performing Arts, “Paddy Chayefsky was an innovative force in the entertainment industry: a versatile writer of the stage, television and motion pictures”(The New York Public Library, 2006). He is a legendary screenplay writer who came in the golden era of the American television industry with his astonishing and witty dialogues of the plays, breaking through the traditional way of writing personal dramas; he founded genuine drama of art and reality. He has been a recognizable personality for decades due to his unmatched services in the field of mass media. He is a beacon-house for the beginners of the young generation who wants to become playwright and screenplay writer.

Get your customised and 100% plagiarism-free paper on any subject done
with 15% off on your first order

Definition of Satire

Satire is a literary genre or form to expose the human follies, foibles, vices, shortcomings, and abuses with the intention of self-amendment by using all literary artifices like ridicule, irony, burlesque, wit, parody, juxtaposition, analogy, and derision, etc. according to the definition of a dictionary, a satire implies as “a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn” for the corrective purposes (Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary).

The basic aim of a satirist is to attack scornfully all characters, actions, and trends of people which are likely to be improved by such vivid exposure. A well-standard definition of satire in the dictionary is found as “the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly,” or “a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule”(dictionary).

Sidney “Paddy” Chayefsky has brought revolutionary changes in the world of television dramas and movies. His screenplays won great fame and name due to dark and poignant satirical features and he was a satirical writer of the time when it was difficult to win success as a screenwriter (Paul, 2008). Black comedy is a specific kind of comedy and satire where all eventful topics are described as taboo and depicted in humorous or satirical style i.e. murder, suicidal deaths, hostilities, domestic violence, rape or other sexual abuses, etc.

The Hospital (1971) by Paddy Chayefsky is the best example of black comedy where a fanatic head of a hospital is engaged in cruel killings of the people, patients, doctors, and staff members of the hospital. The film won success on the basis of critical commentary of the institutional department of medicines. In 1976, another powerful satire of Chayefsky was on air in the form of Network and won great applause from audiences as “the public was ready for a sacred cow to be attacked”(Paul, 2008).

Satire in film (with an example of Manhattan by Woody Allen

Manhattan is a masterpiece of Allen and Marshall Brickman, awarded with two Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Mariel Hemingway) and Best Writing. It is the most significant documentation of American culture, society, and history, depicting all main features in a humorous style. Manhattan is a romantic comedy film which is written in 1979 about Isaac Davis (Woody Allen), a twice-divorced 42-year-old comic writer, having illegitimate relations with 17-year-old high school girl Tracy (Mariel Hemingway). Satire is the exposure of failings of individuals, societies, civilizations, and institutions scornfully.

Our academic experts can deliver a custom essay specifically for you
with 15% off for your first order

The main feature of a literary piece of writings is satire, humor, and comedy and the readers are willing to accept bitter indignation with tolerant amusement by witty dialogues. This movie is also a good example of satire and comedy where the writer intends to depict the story with the spirit of moral criticism, didacticism, and bitter indictment against social wrongs and injustices. As Woody Allen says, “Human Beings are divided into mind and body. The mind embraces all the nobler aspirations, like poetry and philosophy, but the body has all the fun.”

Woody Allen presents Manhattan as a social tale of love, romance, and frantic passions of the cosmopolitan world, reinforcing his personal ideas by such a descriptive and satirical tale. Issac is a mouthpiece of Allen’s past, present, and future experiences how he yearns for professional success as well as romantic life. Issac is the reflection of a maniac and neurotic universal character of the time, facing complicated issues of irregular physical aptitude towards sex, culture, fame and bohemian lifestyle, etc.

As Isaac tells, “I want you to enjoy me. My wry sense of humor and astonishing sexual technique” (Manhattan, 1979) and it is a direct criticism of social depravity, immorality, and indecency which prevails in the contemporary age (Stevens, 2008). The writer wants to disillusion the so-called romantic ideology by showing the sophisticated relationship of Issac with a young girl, Tracy when he tried to allure her sexually. This film is fantastically dramatized by the director to show all social vices and follies prominently.

Introduction to Paddy Chefesky, biography, focusing on screen places for “the Hospital” and “Network”

Paddy Chayefsky was a well-renowned dramatist and screenwriter of the golden age of American television in the 1950s. He was born in the Bronx, New York in 1923; belonged to a Jewish family and was educated in Dewitt Clinton High School and the City College of New York where he won a graduate degree in accounting afterward he joined Fordham University for studying different language courses. During World War II, he worked as a US army officer and was famed for the nickname Paddy and Purple Heart.

Paddy Chayefsky was one of the legendry American dramatists from the Golden era of American television. He introduced the most natural and realistic style of screenplay writing in the 1950s. He was famed as a most popular playwright and novelist, receiving several Academy Awards for three screenplays, Marty (1955), The Hospital (1971), and Network (1976) which won immense fame in the television industry due to the underlying scornful satire in every word and action of the main characters (Chayefsky, Paddy, 2008).

We’ll deliver a high-quality academic paper tailored to your requirements

Paddy Chayefsky started his showbiz career by writing the episodic story of Danger and Manhunt at the beginning of the 1950s. Fred Coe, the energetic producer of NBC’s live anthology drama assigned him to write a script for Coe, Holiday Song which won immediate success when it was broadcasted in 1952. He gave a new orientation to the anthology dramatists by writing genuine dramas without any kind of adaptations and Coe production introduced six Chayefsky marvelous scripts like Printer’s Measure and The Reluctant Citizen in 1953 on the air. Ultimately, Chayefsky became a well-reputed playwright and stood among the famous dramatists of the time such as Tad Mosel, Rod Serling, and Reginald Rose (Chayefsky, Paddy, 2008).

Chayefsky’s works reflect the diversity of themes, interests of artists, and portraitures of social realism, social sarcasm via his wonderful art of historical or social dramatization. According to Robert Taylor, guardian of the Billy Rose Theatre Division, Paddy Chayefsky’s work luminously transcended one single genre,……..and the collection here…… provides ample evidence of Chayefsky’s intellectual work process as he developed into an American icon of dramatic arts and social commentary”(The New York Public Library, 2006).

Paddy Chayefsky’s stories are a true representation of second-generation Americans’ sentiments and emotions with notable dialogues. The central characters of his screenplays are drawn from middle-class tradesmen, struggling with personal challenges of life, loneliness, depression, pressure to conform, and obsession with following their emotions blindly. These protagonists win the sympathetic feelings of middle-classed audiences successfully, showing keen interest and understanding of the playwright who depicts all characters from middle-class gentry (Chayefsky, Paddy, 2008).

In the 1960s, Chayefsky discarded away from the style of depicting intimate relationships in the personal dramas for which he got an immense reputation. His all subsequent works, including the Academy-Award-winning films, The Hospital (1971) and Network (1976) were the embodiment of dark and satiric aspects of life. Amidst the span of the 1960s to 1970s, Paddy Chayefsky’ satiric mode of writings reached the climax (Chayefsky, Paddy, 2008).

Summarize the plot of “The Hospital” as satire, using 3 examples from script or citable source(s)

The Hospital (1971) is a famous type of black comedy which is written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Arthur Hiller. The protagonist of the film, Dr. Herbert Bock is characterized by George C. Scott, a famous star of showbiz. The Hospital (1971) won Academy Award for best writing, story, and screenplay in 1972. The story of the film revolves around the life of Dr. Bock who is ahead of medicine at a teaching hospital, located in Manhattan.

Dr. Bock is forced to commit suicide due to a crisis in their private life but he tries to make this suicidal act an accidental one. He involves in such activities which causes the bizarre death series of different staff members of the hospital consequently, “The offices of psychoanalysts are flooded with disturbing human beings; the psychiatric clinics of hospitals are too terribly understaffed to handle the demands of the public.”

Chayefsky explores the introspective nature to expose the very American psyche in most unique styles and he presents the drama of introspection by portraying the main character in the film. As Chayefsky asserts emphatically on the truths of life by interviewing the correspondent of Time magazine, “I still write realistic stuff…It’s the world that’s gone nuts, not me. It’s the world that’s turned into a satire”(Hanas, 1999).

In The hospital (1971), Chayefsky’s wrathful satires are exposed cynically when Dr. Bock, a mad doctor tries to behave like a killer rather than a doctor. It is a harsh indictment of the writer on the hospitalization system of the country where all staff members even including the chief of the hospital remain indifferent and careless to the problems of the patients and are treated brutally. The hospital (1971) displays bleak and dark aspects of life, surrounded by disillusioned writer, Chayefsky as he interviewed Time bluntly, “We have become desensitized to things that are usually part of the human condition…”This is the basic problem of television. We’ve lost our sense of shock, our sense of humanity”(Hanas, 1999).

The chief of medicine, Dr. Bock is portrayed truly as depressed, suicidal, and disintegrated due to unsuccessful marriage, alienation from his family, and loss of faith in his professional missionary aims. He is characterized as an exhausted, irritable, defeated man whose life is full of unexpected changes of eventful moments and people around him. His character is a severe indictment of modern human civilization which has given just feelings of loneliness, desperation, dejection, alienation, and dissatisfaction. The dialogues of the movie are witty and complex, provoking great laughter on the state of the chief of medicine. We appreciate the film entirely due to the terrific script and competency of production and direction.

Whenever you are talking about a one-man show, completely encapsulated all annihilation, desperation, and alienation of the 70’s generation, you are exactly thinking about the well-written black comedy of Paddy Chayefsky’s The Hospital which was on air in the 1970s. The role of Dr. Herbert Bock, hospital administrator is portrayed to show the contemporary issues of urban hospitals and the dysfunctional role of the American nation to deal with all physical as well as mental or psyche illnesses in the 20th century.

The film presents a microcosm of America’s failure in how a well-developed country’s hospitals and doctors are unable to comply with mysterious challenges, leaving deep impacts upon the physical and mental health of the individuals. As Dr. Herbert Bock bursts out desperately, “We’ve established the most enormous medical entity ever conceived…and people are sicker than ever. We cure nothing! We heal nothing”(The Hospital, 1971)!

The patients in the hospital are lying on the beds helplessly, leading towards the verge of unimaginable death so rapidly and Dr. Bock considers himself accountable for all such unexpected and mysterious deaths in the hospitals due to ruins in his professional and personal life. The Hospital is a fantastic literary explosion of cynicism and sarcasm which are the main features of this film of Paddy Chayefsky. The Hospital is one of the best acidic scripts of Paddy Chayefsky who narrates the story of Manhattan hospital’s head, a terrific and maniac character, Dr. Bock. Dr. Bock has estranged with his family, kids, and wife, having no more desire to serve humanity whose desires are rekindled by Diana Rigg who wants to get her father out of the hospital were no more soothing effects of medical treatments.

The mysterious killer is a bit of an accidental character but the inhumanity of modern curative impotency seems too funny! This film shows the wrathful satire on American culture where sensitivities are exhausted and paradoxically you may say everyone is on the chopping block. The writer seems to assault on the bureaucratic and dehumanized medical establishment, loveless sex, insecurity, fears of death, and self-centeredness of the young generation and perils of age. The film depicts a series of horrible and hilarious hospital mishaps and the whole script is well-written in black comedy mode.

The Hospital introduces multi-dimensional features of the movie, a personification of spiritual malaise where work is replaced with sex and scientific or technological knowledge work well to conspire against it, creating communication gaps between intimates of the youthful generation. The film begins with a scene of a chaotic urban hospital how the top-notch talent of Dr. Bock can be victimized by desperate thoughts and feelings, creating an atmosphere of nihilism.

Summarize the plot of “Network” as satire, using 3 examples from script or citable source(s)

Network (1976) is a well-reputed Hollywood film, depicting the story of the Union Broadcasting System (UBS), a television network with poor ratings. It was written by Paddy Chayefsky and produced by Sidney Lumet, dramatizing all characters by the stars, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Beatrice Straight, William Holden, Wesley Addy, and Peter Finch. The film, Network (1976) won four well-recognized Academy Awards, Best Writing, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress as a well-written screenplay and excellent performance of actors and producer. Network (1976) has stamped the standard of American entertainment as the most significant and popular film after decades of its initial release.

Vincent Canby, a great critic of movies remarked about Network (1976) in the review of The New York Times, “outrageous…brilliantly, cruelly funny, a topical American comedy that confirms Paddy Chayefsky’s position as a major new American satirist” and a film whose “wickedly distorted views of the way television looks, sounds, and, indeed, is, are the satirist’s cardiogram of the hidden heart, not just of television but also of the society that supports it and is, in turn, supported”(Vincent Canby,1976)

At the beginning of the story, the scene of UBS Evening News is dramatized how Howard Beale has been fired due to the show’s low ratings, though he has time of two weeks to show more live performance he proclaims that he will commit suicide in the next live broadcast show, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore”(Network, 1976)! It is a direct satirical commentary on the superficial fame of T.V shows which have more significance rather than self-respect of the individualistic character in the world of electronic media where only people worship the stars with endless fame and popularity.

When there is no higher ranking of T.V programs, there is no value of the performer and he is forced to commit suicide due to desperation and harsh attitude of people. Though Max Schumacher, producer and the network’s senior news editor convinces Beal to come back on the air to say him splendid farewell with great ostentation yet high officials of UBS decide to exploit Beale’s antics rather than persuading him to join live broadcast again after its sudden high ratings.

“to put Howard back on the air tonight…apparently, the ratings went up five points last night and he wants Howard to go back on and do his angry-man thing…They want Howard to go back on and yell bulls–t. They want Howard to go on spontaneously letting out his anger, a latter-day prophet, denouncing the hypocrisies of our times”(Tim Dirks, 2008).

Diana Christensen, another significant character of the film starts work as entertainment programming of UBS and strives hard to win the attention of the executives by producing the most suspenseful and enjoyable news of terrorists robbing banks. She is obsessed with her successful career in the television network rather than her personal life, love affair with married Schumacher. Diana Christensen’s obsessive attitude to achieve the success of the network shows how she always remains busy in innovative experimentations and how she establishes supportive relations with one of the echelons of UBS, Schumacher to get more success.

Beale’s sermons, “You have meddled in the primal forces of nature” are direct satirical remarks of a wrathful prophet on social stratum in the world of showbiz and nobody is willing to accept the truthful reality of life and his show slides down ultimately. All characters of the film are well-dramatized to show the open criticism on television networks as well as other social evils of the 1970s.

Network throws light on the future of media, television network by arousing this question in the minds of the audiences sarcastically what would be repercussions if the echelons of the network are prone to exploit their employees in order to get high ratings of T.V shows. How the director, Max tries to exploit Beatle’s antics that seem busy in his own materialistic pursuits while Diana wants a more authoritative and powerful position among UBS executives and she remains busy to achieve her self-determined targets.

Diana Christensen’s self-centeredness and eccentric attitude to achieve power and success in the television industry are criticized ruthlessly by the writer. How she ever engages to produce such TV programs which reflect real life. How she values her relationship with married Max, director and senior news editor of UBS which ends up soon due to her ambitious and obsessive behavior. How she decides and plans callously to kill Howard Beatle in order to move ahead in the broadcasting company. The motives, feelings, and actions of the characters of the film, Network are clearly depicted to throw light on the basic theme of power.

How Howard Beatle’s sickness, desperation, prophetic speeches, and miserable plight on bad ratings of his TV shows leads him to end up his life. When he starts workings on his new show on the air and window at the top of the wall in Howard’s new show is symbolized ironically as a cathedral window, source of hope and success where he performs as a prophet with his oratory speeches to help others. But all his prophetic sermons prove futile to save his career with better ratings and his new shows slide down with poor ratings.

At the end of the movie, Network, Max, senior television news editor, and producer annoy Diana Christensen, the rating rainmaker who has occupied his professional as well as marital status while changing the fictional UBS network into more a thrilling circus of maniac prophets and fortunetellers as he bursts out: “You’re television incarnate, Diana,” he tells her. “Indifferent to suffering. Insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death. They’re all the same to you as bottles of beer, and the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy”(Hanas, 1999).

A brief summary of the paper to this point

In a nutshell, Paddy Chayefsky is a versatile novelist and screenplay writer, having infinite fame and name in the field of mass media. He had earned an immense reputation due to his satirical mode of writing and witty dialogues of the characters. He had won a number of Academy Awards for his best performance and excellence of screenplay writing. The Hospital” and “Network” are a wonderful piece of writings which shows the critical commentary of the writer in a sarcastic way by pointing out the social vices, follies, absurdities of social framework and governmental establishments and institutions.

He explores the world of superficiality and immorality with great indictment and tries to correct the follies of the individuals by his dynamic and didactic spirits via dramatization of both films, The Hospital” and “Network”. Paddy Chayefsky satirizes the establishment of bureaucracy, institutions like a hospital, broadcasting company, and educational institutes how the individuals value the money-oriented schemes and plans, steered by the persons rather than human values.

Conclusions are drawn directly from analyses of “The Hospital” and “Network”

“The Hospital” and “Network” are well-written screenplays of Paddy Chayefsky who has exposed all social vices and eccentricities of individuals so brilliantly. Network (1976) is social criticism of the hollowness and wasteland of television networks where entertaining value and short-term ratings are more significant rather than the quality performance of the employees. It is a wrathful indictment of the screenwriter whose prophetic and satirical commentary of the broadcasting company to measure the value of the employees by good or bad ratings, “The affiliates will kiss your ass if you can hand them a hit show…We’re not a respectable network. We’re a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get” (Network, 1976).

We appreciate the remarkable features of his marvelous works of art how he wants to deplore the dehumanized social factors which are embedded deeply in our souls and we prefer materialistic values rather than human values. The writer galvanizes the nation in the right direction by focusing the attention of the audience on the social vices and shortcomings which are liked to be amended by the individuals of the society. If the audience convinces the truths of life, depicted in the films, there is no need for any didactic sermons to amend the depraved souls.

The modern civilization is personified by the characters of his films where hollowness and nothingness prevail the very soul of the individuals as they feel estrangement with each other and intimate relations are based on money rather than sincere passions of love for each other. His films reflect the true picture of modern life which is full of disappointment, disillusionment, estrangement, isolation, and loss of ethical values.


  • (et ceteera: ASA or APA citation and bibliography, brief paragraphs, containing one idea and three sentences, average sentence length about 15 words, one idea per sentence and two, at most. Prefer clean, crip, but not clipped writing; focused, with conclusions always in sight)
  • Sidney Chayefsky. Born in Bronx, New York, U.S.A., 29 January 1923. City College of New York, B.S.S., 1943; studied languages, Fordham University, New York. Married Susan Sackler, 1949; one son. Served in U.S.Army 1943-45. Dramatist from 1944; printer’s apprentice, Regal Press (uncle’s print shop), New York City, 6 months 1945;
  • wrote short stories, radio scripts full-time, late 1940s; gag writer for Robert Q. Lewis, late 1940s; with Garson Kanin, wrote documentary, The True Glory, his first film, uncredited, 1945;
  • first screenplay credit for As Young As You Feel, 1951; adapted plays for Theatre Guild of the Air, 1952-53; first television script, Holiday Song, 1952; Marty, 1953; screenplay, Marty, 1955, Oscar for Best Screenplay and Best Picture, 1955; president, Sudan Productions, 1956; president, Carnegie Productions from 1957; president S.P.D. Productions from 1959; president, Sidney Productions from 1967;
  • president of Simcha Productions, from 1971; last screenplay, Altered States, credited under nom de plume Aaron Sydney, 1980. Member: New Dramatists’ Committee, 1952-53; Writers guild of America; Screen Writers Guild; American Guild of Variety Artists; American Guild of Authors and Composers; Screen Actors Guild; Council, Dramatists Guild, from 1962.
  • Recipient: Purple Heart, 1945; private fellowship from Garson Kanin, 1948; Sylvania Television Award, 1953; Screen Writers Guild Award, 1954 and 1971; Academy Award, 1955, 1971, and 1976;
  • Palm d’Or, Cannes Film Festival, 1955; Look Magazine Award, 1956; New York Film Critics Award 1956, 1971 and 1976; Venice Film Festival Award, 1958; Edinborough Film Festival Awards, 1958; Critics’ Prize, Brussels Film Festival, 1958; British Academy Award, 1976. Died in New York City, 1981.

Television Series

1950-55 Danger

1951-52 Manhunt

1951-60 Goodyear Playhouse

1952-54 Philco Television Playhouse

Television Plays (as episodes of anthology series, selection)

1952 Holiday Song

1952 The Reluctant Citizen

1953 Printer’s Measure

1953 Marty

1953 The Big Deal

1953 The Bachelor Party

1953 The Sixth Year

1953 Catch My Boy On Sunday

1954 The Mother

1954 Middle of the Night

1955 The Catered Affair

1956 The Great American Hoax


The True Glory (uncredited, with Garson Kanin), 1945; As Young As You Feel, with Lamar Trotti, 1951; Marty, 1955; The Catered Affair, 1956; The Bachelor Party, 1957; The Goddess, 1958; Middle of the Night, 1959; The Americanization of Emily, 1964; Paint Your Wagon (with Alan Jay Lerner), 1969; The Hospital, 1971; Network, 1976; Altered States, 1980.

Radio Plays (adapter)

The Meanest Man in the World, Tommy, Over 21, 1951-52, for Theater Guild of the Air series.


No T.O. for Love, 1944; Fifth from Garibaldi, ca. 1944; Middle of the Night, 1956; The Tenth Man, 1959; Gideon, 1961; The Passion of Josef D (also director), 1964; The Latent Heterosexual, 1967.


“Art Films” They’re Dedicated Insanity.” Films and Filming. (London), May 1958.

Altered States (novel). New York: Harper and Row, 1978.

Further Reading

Brady, John. The Craft of the Screenwriter. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981.

Clum, John M. Paddy Chayefsky. Boston,


  1. Review of Network by Vincent Canby from the 1976 edition of The New York Times.
  2. Chayefsky, Paddy, 2008 by US writer, The Museum of Broadcast communication. Web.
  3. Merriam-webster’s online dictionary. Web.
  4. Dictionary. Web.
  5. Reuben, Paul P. 2008 “Chapter 8: Sidney ‘Paddy’ Chayefsky.” PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. Web.
  6. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Opens Archive of Oscar-winning scenarist and playwright Paddy Chayefsky, 2006. Web.
  7. Paddy Chayefsky Turns on the Television By Jim Hanas, 1999 From Gadfly.
  8. Jim Hanas is a staff writer and media columnist for the alternative newsweekly The Memphis Flyer. He has also written about pirate radio, men’s magazines and bad tattoos for In These Times, SOMA and Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. Web.
  9. Manhattan (1979) by Woody Allen
  10. The Hospital (1971) by Paddy Chayefsky
  11. Network (1976) by Paddy Chayefsky
  12. Reviews of Network (1976) by Tim Dirks. Web.
Satire in Paddy Chefesky’s “The Hospital” and “Network”
The following paper on Satire in Paddy Chefesky’s “The Hospital” and “Network” was written by a student and can be used for your research or references. Make sure to cite it accordingly if you wish to use it.
Removal Request
The copyright owner of this paper can request its removal from this website if they don’t want it published anymore.
Request Removal

Cite this paper

Select a referencing style


YourDissertation. (2021, November 15). Satire in Paddy Chefesky's "The Hospital" and "Network". Retrieved from

Work Cited

"Satire in Paddy Chefesky's "The Hospital" and "Network"." YourDissertation, 15 Nov. 2021,

1. YourDissertation. "Satire in Paddy Chefesky's "The Hospital" and "Network"." November 15, 2021.


YourDissertation. "Satire in Paddy Chefesky's "The Hospital" and "Network"." November 15, 2021.


YourDissertation. 2021. "Satire in Paddy Chefesky's "The Hospital" and "Network"." November 15, 2021.


YourDissertation. (2021) 'Satire in Paddy Chefesky's "The Hospital" and "Network"'. 15 November.

Click to copy