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Television Today Versus The 1950s Essay

1197 words - 5 pages

How many people today watch family sitcoms to imitate or compare values with their own? Probably not as many as there were in the 1950s. In Stephanie Coontz's "What We Really Miss about the 1950s", she discusses why people feel more nostalgic towards growing up in the 1950s, and how she disagrees that 1950s wasn't the decade that we really should like or remember best. Apart from economic stability, family values played an important part then. Through television sitcoms, such as "Leave it to Beaver", "Father knows Best", families watched them to make sure they were living correctly. It was like guidance and somewhat reassurance. However, values of families have changed, and this is shown on sitcoms today. We watch sitcoms today for entertainment, and sometimes we can relate to them because the setting is realistic. In the modern sitcom, "Gilmore Girls" characters and plot are used to demonstrate family values such as gender roles, children roles, economic status, morals, ethics and general organization of a family that differ from the values shown in the 1950s sitcoms.

In the 1950s sitcoms, men and women had very distinct roles which differ in today's changing society. Back then, men usually worked to support the family, women would marry and raised children. As shown in sitcoms, "gender roles became much more predictable, orderly and settled in the 1950s" (Coontz 36). It was ideal to families that men worked and women stayed home. However, gender roles have changed today. Women have better rights to work now; many are no longer staying home. From "Gilmore Girls" Lorelei, owns an inn to support herself and her daughter, Rory. She is an independent and highly respected woman in the show. This shows that women and children no longer have to rely on men to survive as they did in the 50s.

Children in today's sitcoms are no longer seen as carefree, perfect and polite as they were in 1950s. In today's sitcom they show problems that children have at school, with family and friends. Rory has problems with worrying about getting into college. She has troubles with relationships and she never always get along with Lorelei. These however are not shown as much on sitcoms in the 1950s. Children then were seen as always happy and whenever they had problems, it would always work out fine.

Reality is never really shown on television. Especially in 1950s sitcoms, reality situations such as economic and race were often hidden from audiences. On sitcoms, poor people made enough to have essential belongings. There was never unemployment or major financial problems. The truth as Coontz states, "Throughout the 1950s, poverty was higher than it is today" (Coontz 40). This sort of reality is often apart of the plot shown in today's sitcoms. In "Gilmore Girls", Lorelei would be considered middle class, and she had financial problems when she wanted to open an inn. For awhile, being unemployed she had to borrow from her parents and friends. This...

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