This television ad for Guinness beer features five men playing an intense game of wheelchair basketball, while poignant music plays in the background. A narrator proclaims: “Dedication. Loyalty. Friendship,” when the game ends, and suddenly all but one of the men in wheelchairs unstrap themselves and start walking out of the gymnasium. The narrator continues: “The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character,” as the group head to a bar. As the ad ends, it becomes clear that these able-bodied male friends have chosen to play wheelchair basketball in support of their wheelchair-bound friend.
The reality television series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo premiered on TLC in 2012. The show follows the life of a seven-year-old child beauty pageant participant -- Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson -- along with her mother June Shannon, father Mike Thompson, and her three older sisters. Filmed in the family's rural hometown of McIntyre, Georgia, the show has been a huge success with American audiences. In this clip, "Mamma" June is making Alana's favorite recipe: sketti (i.e. spaghetti) with ketchup and butter sauce. The popularity of Honey Boo Boo raises important questions about media’s depictions of class, race and family life in modern America.
This video describes how graffiti artists snuck subversive messages onto a 2015 episode of Homeland, an American political and espionage television show about a CIA agent. The artists were asked by producers to add Arabic graffiti to the walls of a fictional Syrian refugee camp and they decided to take the opportunity to make a statement about the show’s repeated stereotyping and negative, limited portrayals of Muslims, Arabs, and the Middle East. The clip describes what happened and also shows one of the artists explaining why he finds Homeland problematic. He says, “It’s a complete inaccurate description of the Middle East and the Far East and the wider region. It shows every Muslim or every Arab who appears in the series as a terrorist, basically…In a case like Homeland, when it’s really degrading people and cultures…we should try and look a little bit beyond entertainment and also see the political messages that are transported on TV.” The graffitied messages (in Arabic) included, “Homeland is Racist,” “There is no Homeland,” and “#BlackLivesMatter.”
Keeping Up with the Kardashians is a reality television show that first premiered on E! in 2007. It centers around the upper-class lives of the four Kardashian siblings, their mom and extended family. The show has been critiqued primarily for a “superficial focus” on famous people who “doing nothing but be famous”. In this clip, Kim Kardashian is set up by her sister and mother, who suspect she is addicted to shopping. They challenge her to come to the mall with them and not buy anything, and ultimately they catch her sneaking off to try on clothes. Although the show is shot to appear candid, it is unclear how much of the show and its storylines are staged.
This clip from the animated Fox television show King of the Hill aired in 2004. In it, Connie and her family are upset to hear that she has been rejected from a prestigious summer school. When her father sets up a meeting to protest this, the admissions officer informs him that Connie was not accepted because she is one of many “boatloads” of “overachieving Asians”. Connie's parents are depicted as a highly caricatured Asian-American stereotype – from their thick accents to their obsessiveness with their daughter's success in school. With that said, the show is intended to be a satire that uses humor – including ethnic humor – to point out problems of discrimination in society.