The Role Of Violence In TV Shows

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Violent humor floods our television screens. Many viewers perceive these aggressive scenes as humorous. Potter (2002) suggests, “The media continually and profoundly affect everyone, and when the messages are violent, people are at risk for a variety of negative effects” (p. 31). On the other hand, “audiences have also demonstrated some ability to resist the power of media representations and even to deconstruct various versions of violent reality,” (Barak 2003, p 192). Such debate remains widespread within today’s society, with many television shows said to influence viewers. Looking specifically at MTV’s controversial Jackass films and TV shows, my study would explore the effect(s) of hyper-realistic violence on our collective understanding …show more content…
More specifically, television violence is “the overt expression of physical force against self or other, compelling action against one’s will on pain of being hurt or killed, or actually hurting or killing” (Gerbner, 1970, p. 31). With an average of 6.2 violent acts or threats committed on our screens each hour, the issues surrounding aggressive behavior and its possible influence have become widespread in our society (Fowles, 1999, p 4). Theorists believe actions portrayed in entertainment television can often trigger imitation, thus spreading a substantial amount of violence through the society.
Jackass is a show attractive to young, typically male, viewers with unconventional stunts. The fan-base is renowned for copying the stars’ outlandish behavior in order to obtain the same humorous effect the original act created. The television series and subsequent films have often been at the center of media attention, and the synergy of promotion and coverage has occasionally led to imitation, injury, and even
…show more content…
Superiority theory offers a theoretical explanation for the humor in material in which one party receives mistreatment, belittlement, or disgrace, by acts of aggression (Zillmann, 1983). Superiority theory dates back to ancient Greece. Both Plato and Aristotle subscribed to the superiority theory of humor. They suggested people found the weaknesses of others humorous; “Laughter is an expression of derision or malice directed at the less fortunate” (p. 288). After Plato and Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes thought laughter was the result of the glory we feel when we compare ourselves with the less fortunate. Hobbes noted, “No wonder therefore that men take heinously to being laughed at or derided, that is, triumphed over” (Hobbes & Curley,

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