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Does Television Shows Reflect American Culture?

Essay by review  •  September 29, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,082 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,301 Views

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Does Television Shows Reflect American Culture?

There are many movies and television shows that reflect American culture. A show or movie must address some current societal problem or trend in order to truly reflect American life; murder, rape, racism, and, on a less serious note, parties, shopping, and sports are topics that deserve serious consideration by the public and the media. The show Beverly Hills 90210 attempts to be an accurate portrayal of the life of a typical well-off American teenager growing up in the 80's and 90's. The producers of the show attempt to integrate many real life situations in to the show. By doing this they are suggesting to the audience, which happens to be geared toward teenagers and young adults, that what the characters do in the show is the ideal way to deal with these types of situations. Many aspects of American culture are represented on the television show Beverly Hills 90210, or just 90210 as it is commonly referred to. During the first year or so of Beverly Hills 90210 it dealt with the subject of murder/homicide. One of David's best friends was playing with a gun that he had acquired during a summer vacation to the mid-West. The friend shot himself by accident; what followed was a time of mourning for David and a recollection of many fond memories of the times they shared together. This episode's tragedy brought the characters in the show closer together. Many innocent children, and sometimes adults, are killed accidentally playing with guns, or by drive-by shootings. This is a major problem in the United States and the show is trying to get the message out that it is not a safe thing to do. It also raises the question as to why access of guns is so readily available to anyone. Every night on the news, someone can see many incidents in which there are suffering resulting from guns. Furthermore, the availability of guns makes the public scared. Children have images of adults using guns for hunting or game. In the adolescents' mind it appears that guns are not a bad item to own, when in reality guns are extremely dangerous weapons. Beverly Hills 90210 makes a strong attempt to impress upon its viewers that these accidents can be precautions. The show sends a message to the younger generation, which are becoming more and more violent, to stay away from things that result in violence like guns. A gun is an item that should only be in the hands of a properly trained and skilled user, in order to avoid horrible tragedies.

Another incident of tragedy occurred a couple seasons ago. A bullet intended for Dylan gunned down Dylan's girlfriend, whose father was an organized crime figure of some kind. Ironically, her very own father hired the hit man. Not many parents go out and hire people to kill their children's boyfriends or girlfriends. However, in this circumstance there was a history between Dylan and her father. Her father had killed Dylan's father before they'd meet. Dylan was attempting to get revenge for his father's murder. In the meantime, Dylan has fallen in love with his daughter. The two lovers had just married and planned on a happy life when tragedy struck. In many ways, this incident portrays the negative images that organized crime reflects on the American culture. Although organized crime rings are decreasing, the problem of organized crime is still a detriment to American society. The producers are doing a good deed in showing this because it sends a message to teens; hopefully, they will want to become productive members of society and will not want to get involved with the harmful aspects of the American culture.

The show also deals with the topic of suicide. One of the characters on the show, Valerie, moved to California after her father killed himself because she could

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