Essay One: Television Analysis
As Rereading America notes, “the vision of the democratic family—a harmonious association of parents and children united by love and trust—has mesmerized popular culture in the United States” (19). Though, on television, this model has “stretched to include single parents, second marriages, and interracial adoptions…the underlying idea of wise, loving parents and harmonious, happy families remained unchanged” (20).
For your first formal essay for this class, you will watch an episode of any television show that prominently features a family. Though a family does not have to be the central focus of the show—for example, a show that centers around a profession or a place of business could potentially work—it should play a large role, at least in the episode you choose to analyze. Then, you will analyze how the episode fits, challenges, or negotiates the idea of the “model family” discussed in your textbook. More specifically, in your essay you will…
…define the idea of the “model family” as you understand it, backing up your definition with sources from your textbook and/or outside research.
…briefly explain how television has traditionally portrayed the “model family,” using relevant examples from shows you have seen or researched.
…provide relevant information about the show you have chosen (for example, is it currently on the air? If not, when did it air? What network is it on? Who are the central actors? What is the basic premise of the show? Do you need to catch your readers up on any major plot points?)
…briefly summarize the episode you have chosen.
…provide your own analysis of how the episode does or does not fit the idea of the “model family,” explaining what you believe the episode reflects about society at the time it originally aired.
Your essay will be a minimum of three pages, typed, double-spaced in Times New Roman font, plus a Works Cited page (at the very least, you will be citing the episode itself and selections from your textbook). Your essay should follow proper MLA format.