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Assignment: 00-01
Essay 3 - Explaining the Cultural Function of Television

IFor this paper your goal is to analyze the cultural function of a television program and then explain that function to an audience of current and potential viewers. Most analyses, particularly academic ones, are conducted from a particular theoretical or interpretative perspective. Such a perspective is what keeps analyses from being merely personal interpretation. For this paper, we are beginning with the assumption that television is more than simple entertainment. Instead, as we discussed in class, television serves a function as part of culture, which means, simply, that television programs produce certain kinds of cultural messages and are watched for particular kinds of social and personal reasons. Starting from this interpretative perspective, then, means approaching this paper with the assumption that there are specific cultural reasons why someone might enjoy or like a given show more than another. Furthermore, effective cultural analysis must delve beyond the surface level meanings and messages we see in TV shows and identify "hidden" functions that a show serves for culture or viewers. To do this, I will ask you to focus on one of the interpretative perspectives which highlight the social function of a given television show:

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