TV talk back
MSP 821 PROJECT 1
TV TALK BACK
DUE VIA BLACKBOARD, FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2014
In this assignment, you will respond to one episode of television. This
response should describe how the television show uses any one of the
following formal conventions:
Fits into one of Amanda Lotzs 5 categories of new storytelling modes;
Exemplifies what Jason Mittell calls narrative complexity;
Represents a particular idea (theme) or group of people (stereotype) in a
helpful or harmful way;
Captures a particular period of time in television history;
Has a notable formal innovation in how it looks, sounds, or tells its story.
I. THE THESIS.
Your talk back should have a thesis that looks something like this:
[Name of show] uses [formal convention] in the episode [episode name].
This is significant because [so what?]. The evidence for this claim
includes [first piece of evidence], [second piece of evidence], and [third
piece of evidence].
For instance, your thesis might look like this (the following is similar to
Alfred Martins thesis in Its (Not) In His Kiss):
Modern Family uses camera techniques that distance viewers from
homosexual couples in the episode The Kiss. This is significant because
it shows that despite some gains in representation of homosexual couples
on television, they still are not filmed in a way that is equal to
heterosexual couples. The evidence for this claim includes how Jay and
Claire are framed, how Mitchell and Cameron are framed, and how
Mitchell and Cameron embrace on screen. You do not need to include a
general introduction or conclusion. Use this exact format to receive full
points for your thesis.
II. THE EVIDENCE.
Next, you will provide three screenshots or transcriptions of dialogue from
the show one screenshot or transcription of dialogue for each piece of
evidence. Below the screenshot or block quote of dialogue, you will write a
brief description of the shot youve chosen, and explain why it supports your
Below is an example of one acceptable piece of evidence:
In the above shot, we see how Cameron and Mitchell embrace on
screen. They give each other a hug, while Jay and Claire give each
other a kiss. This hug minimizes the intimacy that Cameron and
Mitchell can show each other as a homosexual couple, compared to
Jay and Claire, who can kiss openly. Not allowing Cameron and
Mitchell to kiss in the same way that heterosexual couples kiss
supports the claim that Modern Family has made some strides in
representing gay couples, but has not made them equal to straight
couples in the ways they are represented.
Your TV Talk Back will be judged solely on the strength of your thesis, your
use of screenshots, and your description of your evidence.
(1) Thesis (5 points): The talk-back has an original argument that identifies a
formal component of a television program, lays out three pieces of evidence
from the program, and answers the so what questionwhy is it interesting
or important that this show does what it does?
(2) Screenshots or Dialogue (5 points): The talk-back uses appropriate
screenshots or dialogue from the show itself that illustrate the thesis. It does
not use promo stills, internet memes, or any other googled imagesit only
uses images that you have captured from the actual episode you are
(3) Evidence (5 points): The talk-back describes its evidence clearly and
relates the evidence back to the original thesis.
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