Discusses the difference between popular and academic criticism; encourages us to deal with the complexity of TV texts and the contexts in which we view it; describes textual analysis
Opens after class today. You can take it any time before the start of next class. The exam will CLOSE at the start of next class.
Time limit is 50 minutes. You have one try. Results will not be visible until the exam closes. DON’T use a tablet or mobile device to take the exam. Use a laptop or desktop computer to take the exam. It’s a good idea to review the pre-class reading quizzes on all the textbook essays that we have covered up until now.
Readings covered on the exam
Introduction: An Owner’s Manual for Television • Discusses the difference between popular and academic criticism; encourages us to deal with the complexity of TV texts and the contexts in which we view it; describes textual analysis; discourages thumbs up or thumbs down ‘evaluation’ as the goal of academic criticism; Grey’s Anatomy: Feminism • The essay argues that this medical drama is set in a world without discrimination and inequality, and thus offers feminists a more positive view of women and their careers than is typical of post-feminist television. • The critical argument of the essay is that some shows present the world as we would like it to be, rather than what we know it to be.
House: Narrative Complexity • The essay analyzes a single episode of the episodic medical procedural show House. It argues that the show uses many non-realist storytelling techniques, and thus exhibits narrative complexity and innovative development of character. • The critical argument of the essay is that even an episodic narrative structure, not known for complexity, can offer complex characters. Star Trek: Serialized Ideology • The problem with the reflection paradigm is that it assumes that a show will simply reflect the one dominant assumption of the society at that time. Critics of ideology such as Kent Ono often make the mistake of reading one episode in isolation rather than considering the function of all characters across the arc of the series. Star Trek’s use of an ensemble cast allow it to voice a diverse range of views rather than simply reflecting the society’s dominant assumptions. In the episode of “Star Trek: The Original Series” called “A Private Little War“ Captain Kirk puts forward the ideology of the US gov’t used to legitimate its intervention in Vietnam. Homicide: Realism • The essay explores the show’s commitment to the technique of realism by investigating the narrative and stylistic techniques employed to create its feeling of authenticity. • The critical argument of this essay is that while realism is simply another televisual technique, it is useful for shows that try to examine social problems of race, economics and violence in specific times and places.
Family Guy: Undermining Satire • argues that the program’s rapid-fire stream of comic references, related to ‘click culture’, caters to the tastes of TV’s prized youth demographic, the ‘lost boys.’ • The critical argument of this essay is that Family Guy undermines the potential of satire as a form of political critique by mocking everything equally. The Amazing Race: Global Othering • Offers a critique of the show’s Orientalism, while also balancing this critique by pointing to moments that challenge age-old images of crazy and exotic foreigners. • The critical argument of this essay is that even though the show travels all over the world, we miss the opportunity to learn about other cultures because it focuses on Americans and
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