PART I: Watch two episodes* of a current cartoon show featuring at least some human or “humanoid” (therefore, no Spongebob but a show like Arthur is okay) characters and then analyze one. Note: Be sure this is a current program aimed at children 12 and under. Neither The Simpsons nor Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programs, for example, are aimed at children. Please submit your analysis via Blackboard. (* Many half-hour children’s TV programs have two separate fifteen-minute segments with separate storylines. This would count as two episodes.)
1. CONTENT: (Please note channel or streaming service and time and day of viewing) a. Briefly summarize what happened during this episode (if your show had two episodes, summarize only one). What was the “plot”? Define the show’s regular plot structure. How close the show’s regular “formula” is this episode? Who are the main characters? Who does what to whom? How does it all come out? (200 words)
b. Content Analysis: count the number of acts of violence in this episode. Is anyone killed on the show? Is there “verbal violence”? Does this program teach any form of constructive engagement? Or does it only teach conflict and violence? Could it give a child an idea that certain types of people are victims and certain types of people are allowed to victimize? What do you think the significance of your data is? (150 words)
c. Quality and Quantity of representation are each worth analyzing. How stereotyped are the characters? Specifically, describe how the show handles class, race, ethnicity, and national stereotypes. What would Omi (“In Living Color” handout) say about this show’s ethnic representation (be sure to show you know the author’s key concepts and can apply them here)? What would Lemish (GR book, p. 403) think about the messages this show sends to other cultures around the world? Note: Pay attention to who’s missing as well as who’s present when considering representation and what early stereotyping is being taught to kids. What “stages of representation” do you see for different groups (if relevant)? (200 words)
d. Gender roles: Discuss how the show handles gender roles. Are women respected? Are the males? What would the creators of the “Consuming Kids” video say about the gender roles being taught here? What would Kilbourne (of the video “Killing Us Softly 4”) find praiseworthy or objectionable in this show? What would Lemish say about this program’s gender representation (GR book, p. 364)? (125 words)
e. If this episode portrays adults, are they competent, reliable, trustworthy, caring? What does this show tell kids about grownups? Do the kids in this show respect adults? Do the adults like the kids? If the adults are somehow unstable, could you read this show as a kids’ “empowerment fantasy,” or do you still see it as a sign of unhealthy neglect? Remember, if there are no adults in the show, you must still comment on the meaning of their absence. Finally, how well represented are older people in this program, if at all? (100 words)
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