Six Hours of Television

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateC+, December 1995

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Six Hours of Television

In looking at modern television programming there are hundreds of shows to choose from. Picking six hours of television to analyze from the prospective of an anthropologist is by no means easy. It is easy however, to talk about what our nation looks like to others who have never been here. Everyone is gorgeous, lives happily, and overcomes all problems, but more on that later. Four hours of the programming I chose is perhaps the most popular programming this year, consistently topping the Nielsen ratings. For the remaining two hours of programming I decided to look at two police drama shows, one that was brand new this season and one not brand new, but still going strong.

For the two hours of police dramas, I looked at programs with different angles. NYPD BLUE is the story of police detectives, and HIGH INCIDENT was a new show that looked at the view of policing from the Oebeat.'

HIGH INCIDENT represented one of the first t.v. shows to come from the SKG works of Steven Spielberg. However, just like Spielberg's previous AMAZING STORIES, HIGH INCIDENT has already ceased to air. This could still change though, with the next season. Of the remaining four hours, three are on television every Thursday night, and include the tremendously popular FRIENDS, the SINGLE GUY, the hits SEINFELD and CAROLINE IN THE CITY, and the most popular show this year, ER. For the remaining hour I choose to look at THE TONIGHT SHOW, with Jay Leno. Between these shows there are many similarities and many differences. All of these shows can be directly compared with each other, having some of the same qualities. Looking at these shows in the perspective of an anthropologist some disquieting trends emerge. I will present the...