TV MYTHS Essay

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TELEVISION AS A MEDIUM FOR MODERN DAY MYTHS

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s television programming developed rapidly into more than an assortment of fact and fiction narratives; it became itself a social text for an increasing population, “functioning as a kind of code through which people gleaned a large portion of their information, intellectual stimulation, and distraction” (Danesi, 240). Since its inception in the mid-1930s, many of television’s programs have become the history of many cultures. French semiotician Roland Barthes (1915-1980) claimed that “television shows are often based around a mythologie, in reference to the fact that the original mythic themes continue to reverberate residually in modern-day societies, especially
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The television programs of the 1950s and 1960s sugar-coated the typical family and built up the mythology of a patriarchal family. However, this mythology was challenged by the uprising of strong, independent, working women. For example, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990) depicted a clean-cut and wealthy family that was black, with a mother that was a professor at a university. The Cohen family in The O.C. (2003) drama television series represent a wealthy, white family, with a working mother who is the major ‘bread-winner’ of the family. These shows and many others portrayed strong, independent women who were attempting to survive, socially and professionally, in a world that was deconstructing patriarchal structures (Danesi, 230). Strong-willed women are not the only force that is disassembling these traditions. The dysfunctional family is now also taking into effect. The show Desperate Housewives (2004) demonstrates the increasing number of families in this period that are separating and losing the traditional value of ‘family’. This show contains cheating spouses, and generally wives who are desperately vying for attention and love. In this day and age, sitcoms and dramas deal with controversial yet honest groundbreaking discussions of current social issues.
Since the dawn of television shows, most of society select their clothes and have their lifestyle dictated by the actors and actresses of…

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