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RU All The In The Family American Sitcom Essay

RU All The In The Family American Sitcom Essay


The article by B. J. Leff from the readings for this module explores the idea of how music, movies, and television of the masses can be important historical artifacts.
Consider that the average American watches just over 5 hours of television a day. Think about that for a moment. That means we are on average, in front of a TV or tablet nearly 35 hours a week!
Now pause and reflect on some of those hours you have spent in front of a TV. What is your favorite television show? Why do you like it? Who are the show’s main characters? What positive and negative qualities do they exhibit? How is your favorite show, as Leff suggests, a historical artifact (a reflection of the social, political, and cultural current events) of the time? Do you see social issues reflected in the characters or plots?

Written Assignment Instructions
Select one of the iconic shows from the following list.
Dallas, The Odd Couple, Soap, ER, The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, Sex in the City, The Jeffersons, M*A*S*H, All in the Family, The Office (American), Star Trek, Hill Street Blues, Sesame Street, Sanford and Son, Seinfeld, Roots, Laugh-in, Good Times or another if approved by your instructor.
Research your show, looking for answers to the following questions: 

What is the background of this show? What years was the show on TV? Describe the network it aired on, the main characters, setting, and important writers.

How did the show fit with other programming of the time?

  1. What social issues and historical events were taking place at the time the show was being broadcast?

Did these issues affect the television show in any way? How do you see characters or elements from specific episodes fitting in with important events or dealing with issues of the time? How is it, as Leff suggests, a historical artifact (a reflection of the social, political, and cultural current events) of the time?

Did the television show make an impact on popular culture?

Watch one full episode of the show (using YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or other sources) and be sure to include this episode in your works cited list.
Write an essay using the information you gathered from answering the above questions. Your thesis for the essay should attempt to answer this question: Given the information you gathered about the show’s background and cultural history, explain the cultural relevance of the show. How is it, as Leff suggests, a historical artifact (a reflection of social, political, and cultural current events) of the time?

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