Analysis Assignment Description

DUE DATE: April 8 before class!

In this post, you will begin to formulate some interpretations about your chosen show. To analyze something means to take it apart in order to understand it better and figure out how it works. Your interpretation will give you deeper understanding of the show and your readers will benefit from your work by seeing the show in a different way. How you approach your analysis of the show depends on the questions you ask of it. Because a television show is made for an audience, questions of analysis focus on audience involvement in the program and how that is accomplished. The requirements of this blog entry are described below.

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The blog entry should be written as a coherent whole with an introduction, a conclusion and several paragraphs in between, each of which has a topic sentence. The best blog entries contain links to other sites, embedded naturally in the text. The best blog entries also contain a variety of media to help hold the interest of the reader. Be sure you review my guidelines for writing blog posts.

You will write a 1000 word blog post that answers the question “How is the audience involved in the show?” Below are a set of questions to consider as you begin your analysis of the show. You will not want to use all of them, but they are listed here for you to choose from.

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  1. How are ideas developed in the program? How are the ideas adjusted to people and people to ideas?
  2. Can you hear laughter from a studio audience? If so, is it likely to provoke laughter from the viewer? Do you think the laughter is “canned” from a laugh track? Why or why not?
  3. What personal, cultural, and national values are inherent in the show or in certain characters or issues? How are the values communicated?
  4. Are there moral lessons? How are they developed? Is the concept of telos—a life of moral excellence—evident in the program?
  5. Are evidence and reasoning used to support a conclusion? Does the show ask the viewer to participate in the co-creation of reasoning?
  6. What emotional appeals are present? How are they conveyed?
  7. What shared substances are present that may lead the audience to identify with the program’s characters, ideas, and lessons?
  8. What qualities of the characters are likely to create positive identification for audience members?
  9. Can you attribute an intention to the program? If so, is it to persuade or inform?
  10. How do you think the show may influence certain types of viewers? Does the show have the capability to influence attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors? Could it influence fashions, hairstyles, or body image?
  11. How does the program relate to the culture of its time?
  12. Who or what has power or domination over others in the program? Whose voice is heard and whose is not? Who asks questions and who supplies the answers? What issues are given importance and which ones are not?
  13. Is there an ideology that assigns roles to certain people or that advocates a set of norms for all to follow? Is there hegemony, where the subordinates are led to accept the social system as natural? Have the subordinates reversed the power structure causing the subordinates to become powerful and the dominant ones to become weak?
  14. How does the show position the viewer as a subject? How does the show “hail” the viewer?
  15. What meanings are preferred by the program? In other words, what are the dominant meanings? What meanings can different viewers make from the program? What meanings can be derived from resisting the dominant meaning? What meanings can be derived from negotiating with the dominant meaning?
  16. How might the decoded meanings give the viewer a sense of power or pleasure? How is this related to the viewer’s sense of identity?
  17. How are people represented in categories of gender, races, ethnicity, age, occupation, and physical capabilities?
  18. Who is represented and who is not? Is anyone represented as “the other”? Is anyone classified with a loss of individual differences? Are there stereotypes?
  19. If there are symbols, how can they be recognized and how do they function? What is the frame of reference for symbolization?
  20. Does identification of intertextuality heighten the pleasure derived from the show?

Rubric for the post:

  • _____ 5 pts        Contains no spelling/grammatical errors or typos
  • _____ 5 pts        Is at least 1000 words and demonstrates considerable thought with regard to the questions posed in the assignment
  • _____ 5 pts        Contains an introduction and a conclusion, written for an audience that doesn’t understand what this assignment is about
  • _____ 5 pts        Contains appropriate visual media and links to other sources of information about the show
  • _____ 5 pts        Contains an arguable thesis statement about the ways that the audience is involved in the show
  • _____ 10 pts      Describes the ways that the audience is encouraged to be involved in the show
  • _____ 10 pts      Discusses the voices/perspectives represented in the show
  • _____ 10 pts      Discusses issues of power and domination with respect to the voices/perspectives represented
  • _____ 10 pts      Provides evidence (examples) from the show to support its argument about voices/perspectives represented and issues of power and domination with respect to those voices/perspecitves
  • _____ 15 pts      Articulates multiple possible meanings for the show (polysemy)
  • _____ 20 pts      Provides evidence (examples) from the show to support its argument about the multiple possible meanings for the show
  • _____ 100 pts   TOTAL
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