roseanne reflection-pat gibbs

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The episode of the television show 'Roseanne' we watched in class addressed a very interesting dynamic in terms of class and gender issues. As we discussed in class, the reading pushed the idea that class issues in the United States are not 'nonexistent' as we would like to believe, but that it is expressed through other demographic forms such as gender and race. In 'Roseanne', the role of the working class woman is explored in a way that has been embraced by many real life working class women as the most 'realistic' portrayal of life in America on television. Whether or not it is more or less 'real' is not as important as the fact that this demographic has embraced the show as its own. They are an underrepresented group who can find comfort in the fact that they have a television show they can relate to. In the episode of 'Roseanne' that we watched, Roseanne and her husband are facing the dilemma of what to do with a little bit of extra money they come across. Do they catch up with bills or splurge on unnecessary items they have wanted for a while? Ultimately they decide to splurge, essentially taking their mind off of the pressure of paying bills for a while. When we had our discussion in class on our opinions on 'Roseanne' and the impact the show had on the working class, I think many good points were brought up, but it seems a little off to make assumptions without having any opinions of someone who talked about how it affected their opinion of their own working class existence. It just felt as if we were trying to speak for a group we aren't at liberty to speak for.

2 Comments

In some ways, I agree with what you are saying, but I also feel that every single individual who analyzes or just watches this show is going to take the information in and decode it based on their own experience. In many ways, my family was no different from Roseanne. My parents both worked blue collar jobs, we had four kids running around and we lived paycheck to paycheck. So, by that definition, Roseanne was the television program that best represented my family growing up. However, my parents would never have spent money on perfume or a bell for a boat if they were behind on their bills. My family has gone on one vacation in the 21 years that I have been alive and I had never had 'eaten out' at restaurant until I was 13. By your definition, I am entirely at liberty to speak for this group and though I am a part of this group, I still find flaws within their representation. I am sure that there are some people who feel that this show genuinely represents their family, but in my case, this just isn't true even though I fit into the same class as Roseanne's family did.

I think the portrayal of the family is realistic enough, but I still see some problems. I think it comes down to what we think the media's role is. Should it seek to entertain? Inform? Teach? I think this show is more for entertainment and information rather that demonstrative teaching. It informs viewers what working class life is like, not to show anything else. If the show was for teaching purposes they might show either them deciding to pay off bills, or to show negative consequences of making the choice they did. But in the end, no lesson was had, just the stark reality that is their life. I think hamme362 is right, we can decode this show any way we want and get different things out of it.

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This page contains a single entry by gibb0164 published on October 11, 2012 11:16 PM.

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