Now You See It, Now You’re Broke: Representation of Class in Primetime Advertisement

We are students from The University of Washington and we are all Media and Communication Studies students. In one of our classes together we produced a critical analysis of five television networks including NBC, CBS, ABC, The CW, and FOX. We are focused on the representation of class on these networks during primetime. Ellen decided to analyze  Two and a Half Men for her show, Sherry observed Modern Family and The Middle, Cara watched Gossip Girls, Drew chose Raising Hope, and Amber watched The Office.

Media content is extremely important to understand in the representation of class. The way contemporary primetime advertisements and broadcast television portray class is a direct reflection of what society thinks of the lower, middle class and upper classes. Media not only reinforces stereotypes that entertain us by representing those groups, but also highlights serious issues that real people deal with; we believe the working class is not a laughing matter.

The working class in America faces an ever declining standard of living, loss of job security and the gap between rich and poor is the largest it has been since the great depression. Media representation of the working class is frequently portrayed as if it were a lifestyle choice rather than something that is heavily influenced by external forces and circumstances.


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