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ENG112- week 2

ENG112- week 2

  • Assignment 1: Viewing a Television Show

    Due by 11:59 pm on Wednesday of week 2.


    1. Print, read and annotate the following selections in Unit 2 (Family) in the Unit and General Resources link :

    -Overview of Gender Roles
    -Reports on Gender Stereotypes on Television

    2. Select one fictional television show from the list below (not reality TV) in which the family is prominent in the story lines, subject matter, and/or character. With pen and paper ready, watch at least two episodes of the same show to get a sense of the genre (sitcom or drama), the different characters, common storylines and themes.
    NOTE: you can watch episodes of these shows on Netflix (live streaming), via DVD (Amazon has cheap used DVDs), on, or network websites like

    As you watch, take extensive notes about how gender is depicted in the show. Consider the readings on gender and stereotypes as you do so. Imagine that the show’s creators are making claims, arguments, and sending messages about different gender roles in the American family. 

    3. Consider the following questions as you proceed; these may jump start your critical analysis of the show. Think of these questions as different ways to approach figuring out a thesis. Hopefully one or more of these questions will guide you as you view your program, helping you to understand what might be the messages about gender that the show is sending?

    – What is ASSUMED to be NORMAL and TAKEN FOR GRANTED for women/men in their different roles in the show you chose?
    – Are the characters represented in a traditional or non-traditional way for their gender?   Do the characters break from traditional gender roles?
    – How is the characters’ gender important or not important to the roles they play? For example, if the gender roles were switched, how would it change the show?
    – What do you see male and female characters doing or saying that reminds you of what you read?
    – Consider the appearance of male and female characters: how does what they look like (or how they dress) affect your impression of these characters?
    – What do your characters value? How do the values differ for men and women on the show?
    – Do the characters’ gender roles heighten the drama, or create funny moments? What do you make of that?
    – If your show is long running, how do the characters change over time? What do you think that means?
    – MOST IMPORTANTLY: In what ways do these characters conform to the gender stereotypes described in your reading, and in what ways do they challenge them?

    Some suggested shows that center on the American family:

    Up All Night
    The King of Queens

    Home Improvement
    The Middle
    Everybody Loves Raymond
    Family Matters
    All in the Family
    Good Times                              
    That 70’s Show
    The Cosby Show                       
    Gilmore Girls                            
    Tyler Perry’s House of Payne   
    Modern Family                         
    Make a suggestion!   Clear it with me first.


    This assignment is not graded, but is a crucial preparatory assignment.

  •  Directions 
    1. Develop four well-developed paragraphs about the TV show you watched, keeping a clear focus on the portrayal of gender in the show.In the first paragraph, give a brief summary of the episodes you watched. 
    2. In the second and third paragraphs, discuss how gender roles play out in the episodes you watched.  You may discuss the roles of one male and one female character, or the different roles of two female characters, or you may focus both paragraphs on one male or female character. 
    3. In the fourth paragraph, discuss how gender roles either conform to or challenge the gender stereotypes discussed in at least ONE of the readings.
    4. Provide clear and specific examples from the episodes.
    5. Provide quotes/paraphrases from the selected readings. 
    6. Remember to provide in-text citations in MLA format for both the TV shows you watched and the reading(s) you selected. Also remember to add a Works Cited at the end of your analysis. (Don’t forget to cite each episode you watched, as well as the articles.)
    7. Post your analysis in TV Show Discussion in the Full Class Forums. 


    This activity will deepen your understanding of gender roles on television, and provide some practice with critical thinking and analysis, in preparation for the analysis essay due at the end of this unit.


    I will grade this assignment on the thoroughness of your understanding of gender roles in the show, the clarity of the points you develop, and the support your provide from the episodes and selected reading(s). (50 points)

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