In “Announcements,” the instructor will provide a choice for television shows to watch…
The Show I chose is Narcos: Season 1, Episode 1
After watching your chosen episode, write a critique exploring the extent to which the episode adheres to the commercial media’s profit-driven ideology. In other words, explain how the network’s profit motives compromise what has wound up on your TV screen. (To compromise means to accept standards lower than one’s expectations.) In order to make your argument, you will need to refer to the article by Richard Butsch, who explains how profit motives influence the kinds of stories found on network television shows. Be sure to support your argument with a detailed analysis of the episode you watched. (You may also, if you feel they help you make your argument, refer to other aspects of the course material.)
Your critique’s thesis should answer the assigned question (i.e. how has the episode been compromised as a result of the producers’ efforts to satisfy the network’s profit motives?). The critique must support the thesis with a detailed analysis of what happens in the episode.
In order to steer you away from making a bad argument, I recommend that you DO NOT discuss any of the following: (1) Whether the show’s characters are “relatable.” (Opens new window) Most storytellers, regardless of profit motives, want to create relatable characters. Look instead at how the show’s producers have crafted the episode in an effort to make money for the network. (2) Ratings and popularity. While shows with higher ratings are more attractive to advertisers, most producers (not just ones motivated to create profit) wants to attract large audiences. Instead of discussing the show’s efforts to attract viewers, look at how the network’s need to maximize profit compromises the producers’ ability to entertain their audiences. (3) How “well” the show has been made. Every storyteller wants to tell a “well-made” story. (4) The producers’ efforts to “give audiences what they want.” Again, all storytellers, not just profit-driven storytellers, want to give audiences “what they want.”
Be sure to italicize titles of television shows and to put episode titles inside quotation marks.
Upload your critique by clicking on “Assignments,” then “Television Critique.”
**Note: while you do need to analyze specific aspects of the episode (e.g. character portrayals, lines of dialogue, set designs, etc.), you don’t need to include the episode itself in a “Works Cited” list.)**
Butsch, Richard. “Ralph, Fred, Archie, Homer, and the King of Queens: Why Television Keeps Re-Creating the Male Working-Class Buffoon.” In Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Critical Reader, edited by Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez, 101-09. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2011.
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