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33 Cards in this Set

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Throughout the history of American television, the portrayal of families and the family dynamic have been central themes for countless programs. From Leave it to Beaver to Modern Family, television brings the aspects of family life into living rooms across the country and impacts how people view their own family by causing them to compare their lives to those on the screen.
(slide 2, Alex)
In the late 1940s, the sitcom was among the first formats adapted for the new medium of television. Most sitcoms were a half-hour in length and aired weekly. Many of the earliest sitcoms were direct adaptations of existing radio shows
(slide 3, Alex)
Cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard hypothesizes that “we are conditioned to value the mediated representation because we rely on social interaction to stabilize uncertainty. Interaction with media, however, is disconnected from the real, which devalues direct interaction with the real as a valuable source of  information”. If this is even remotely true, then what we see on TV is more influential than what we see in our own everyday lives.
(slide 4, Alex)
The portrayal of American families on television is influential of society’s acceptance of diversity because people tend to more readily accept what they are familiar with and have been exposed to. If every family on TV fit a cookie-cutter image, society would be more apt to expect all families to be the same; however, families differ at various points that television should not leave out of their programs because what is common is often viewed as natural; therefore, the more diversity Americans are exposed to, the more accepting they will become.
(slide 5, Alex)
The ideal American family as portrayed on TV during the post World War II era was Caucasian. The father works and is the sole provider for the family, while the Mother stays at home, and cooks, cleans, and raises the children. The children are all charismatic and well behaved and respectful. All the conflicts that occur are easily resolved and cause no one harm nor hurt feelings. The family is middle-class and always full of smiles and enthused to see one another.
(slide 6, Carl)
The Goldbergs (1949-1951)
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952-1966)
Father Knows Best (1954-1960)
Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963)
Donna Reed (1958-1966)
(slide 7, Carl)
The Ideal American Family taught children how important education was. Wally and Beaver from Leave It To Beaver attend public schools and are encouraged to pursue college in order to prepare for their futures.
All of the fathers from these shows had a college education and it is inferred that their successful middle class lifestyle is due to this education. None of the mothers were not educated, so women could not have role models on TV other than housewives.
(slide 9, Carl)
Always dressed nicely
Father Knows Best, father replaces suit with sports coat to just read the paper
Women always in dresses and jewelry
(slide 10, Carl)
All of the men in these shows provided for their families, through hard work and dedication. This showed boys, young men, and adults that being reliable, hard working, dedicated, disciplined and diligent helps you towards achieving a successful life. However, this also encouraged a patriarchal society that limited women to inside the home.
(slide 11, Carl)
In Leave it to Beaver the Father (Ward) is often spending his weekend golfing, fishing, etc. after a week full of hard work. This showed our society that it’s alright to have leisure time if it is deserved and or earned.
(slide 12, Carl)
Television indicates what is going on in society what is important in the world and reflects morals and ethics. America in the 50’s was very influenced by Christianity and this reflected on television. Right and wrong was clearly defined and people took responsibility for their actions. Forgiveness is key to Christianity and conflicts were easily resolved and caused no one hurt feelings. An example of this would be Ward Clever from Leave it to Beaver, showing wisdom and words of advice to teach valuable lessons. Society also embraced Ward’s morals and values thus giving viewers more character. Believe it or not our society still upholds and values these Christian morals and ethics.
(slide 13, Carl)
As part of the American Dream in 1931 James Truslow Adams said “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone.” The T.V. families of the 50’s portrayed warmth, family relationships, harmony, and peace, as well as success and wealth. Not only did these families impact society back in the 50’s it still does to this day.
(slide 14, Carl)
13.6 million single parents in the U.S. raising 21.2 million children
-84% Mothers 16% Fathers
(slide 16, Nicole)
Single parents on television Influence public opinion and awareness of those raising kids alone; thus, society is more accepting when they see single parent families in everyday households. Programs with single parents show that this kind of family face the same challenges as others: raising multiple children, working a full time job, household needs and extra activities.
(slide 17, Nicole)
Did you know that 40% of children grow up in America without their fathers and
50% of all marriages end in a divorce?
(slide 18, Nicole)
Bonanza
My Three Sons
The Andy Griffith Show
The Rifle Man
Full House
Gilmore Girls
Two and a Half Men
Weeds
(slide 19, Nicole)
Teen pregnancy is a prominent part of society:
Increased 4 years ago
46.8% of all high school students have had sexual intercourse
3/10 Girls become pregnant at least once before they reach 20 years of age
Hispanic teens have the highest births
(slide 22, Nicole)
Glamorized Shows
Glee
Secret Life of the American Teenager
Non-Glamorized Shows
16 and Pregnant
Teen Mom
(slide 23, Nicole)
It is important for American Television to portray the reality of teen pregnancy so that society does not automatically label pregnant teens as immorally corrupt; rather, society should encourage teen moms to take responsibility for their children and promote good parenting. The more teen moms are portrayed on TV as real girls with true emotions and morals, the more society will accept teen pregnancy.
(slide 24, Nicole)
First African American sitcom on TV Amos and Andy
Aired over radio first
(slide 26, Dustin)
Lets start with black sitcoms- Historically the Black characters seen on television were usually depicted as comedic fools, lackluster servants, and cold blooded criminals. However, The late 1900’s began to sway away from the overly bias depiction of African Americans, and began to give the characters more life and a greater story. the more popular of these shows would be the Cosby Show, and the Jefferson's.
(slide 27, Dustin)
In the journal of black studies it is stated that the show helps the relationship of blacks and whites because it is a tride and true situation format, while others say that the show does not depict a strong enough appeal to what life is like outside of the Huckstable's four walls.
(slide 28, Dustin)
There are many differences that can be made between the Jefferson's and the Cosby Show. For one, the Cosby’s are more in the middle class, while the Jefferson's are what most would assume to be rich. In personal opinion we find it odd that the Jefferson's are actually a spinoff from the television show All In The Family. A show that many assume Archie Bunker to be a racist character. The Jefferson were neighbors to the bunkers and eventually make there way up to the “big leagues. Witch is of course the best way of sticking it to the man
(slide 29, Dustin)
The Fresh Prince of Bel-air

Sanford and son

Good times

Family Matters
(slide 30, Dustin)
A typical stereotype for the Latino heritage on television is the character (typically Mexican male) is often a weak and sleepy. They were very few elevated to the main frame of a show.
In the early 21st century the Hispanic heritage finally got their break into television. The George Lopez show is the first successful Hispanic television show.
(slide 31)
The interactive business network has an article over the show that says An analysis reveals that the show perpetuates some of the stereotypes about Hispanics that are in our society. The stereotypes, however, are relatively subtle. Because the stereotypes are not overtly demeaning, the 14 percent of the Latinos who watch the show may not be offended by the negative representation. At the same time, The Show challenges some of the stereotypes held by society.
(slide 32, Dustin)
Dora the Explorer- Children's educational cartoon. The show was made to help children become more familiar with the Hispanic heritage witch as we all know is the becoming one of the largest ethnic groups in America
Ugly Betty- The Character is of Hispanic decent. The Show had ground braking affects for no only Hispanic heritage but for homosexuals as well.
(slide 33, Dustin)
Race is always a touchy subject. And these shows are made to bring a little laughter into your home. But at the end of the day, the families depicted on the screen should not just be the happy go lucky traditional American family. It is important that they show the injustices of life, and that the point they are trying to prove is put forth.
(slide 34, Dustin)
Hot L Baltimore portrayed the first gay couple on American television. The two male characters were overtly feminine and promiscuous, two stereotypical qualities that gay men are plagued with to this day. The attributes of the two men undoubtedly helped to fuel the stereotypes that society placed on homosexuals and the homophobia that causes many to shun gay couples in society.
(slide 37, Alex)
Friends brings America the first lesbian wedding on TV.
The ground-breaking series Will & Grace brought gay relationships into popular American TV, including several passionate scenes between gay males and the prospect of gay marriage.
(slide 38, Alex)
The scene from The L Word subtly defines a successful romantic relationship as being between two people in love, regardless of sexual orientation. Scenes like this one expose Americans to loving, lasting gay relationships between partners who reflect the capability of homosexuals to create real families. Americans who watch shows like The L Word are more likely to accept members of the gay community and cast aside homophobia because they have been previously exposed to gay relationships that are not so different from heterosexual ones.
(slide 40, Alex)
The number of gay and lesbian couples who are open about their relationships has increased drastically over the last few decades. Gay and lesbian couples increasingly are going to court seeking to adopt children, acquire rights as parents, take on shared last names and secure a range of benefits similar to those enjoyed by heterosexual couples. Television is progressively including gay and lesbian characters to reflect the status of the LGBT community in society.
(slide 41, Alex)
What is the typical American family, and what impact does television have on society’s definition? As society changes and families become more diverse, American television has attempted to change as well. Should we all adhere to the standards of the Cleavers, or should society realize that life isn’t always perfect and the ideal solutions for our problems can’t be realized in half an hour (minus commercial breaks, of course)? Perhaps television, along with society, should cultivate a multifaceted definition of “family” that includes people of all races, backgrounds, cultures, situations, and relationships. Whether flipping through the channels or walking through the neighborhood, no one family is ever the same; the fact is, the typical family does not exist, and the only ideal family that exists is one with love and happiness.
(slide 42, Alex)