History of American Television Reflection Essay Example

Historical Development of the Medium

Television was invented in the twentieth century. Nowadays, it occupies a great part of American culture. As for me, now I am sixty years old and from my childhood a lot of things have changed on television. But the one thing is the most important for me. In the late 1950th and the beginning of 1960th, television at home was not such an ordinary thing as it is nowadays.

Description of concrete experience:

When I was a child, our family did not have it. Newspapers were the main source of information for my parents. Once, my father brought home a big box. It was Christmas time, and all my family members were very curious about the box and its contents. When my father finally opened it, everybody was shocked and happy. There was TV in the box. That time I was 8. I heard a lot about television before. Our neighbors had one and it was a great joy for me to have a TV. In such a way, it was a time when the history of American television started for me. Later, the 1960th became the years of discovering television for me. A lot of things were happening in the world, and television was the main source of information about them. In the 1970th, television was quite popular. News programs became an influential matter. The 1980th became the years of many key world events that were observed on television. In the 1990th and 2000th, the television continued to develop.

Reflections:

I understood that it was quite difficult for my father to make such a gift. My family was not rich, but my father loved us so much that he had been saving money for a long time to make such a surprise for us. From this experience, I have learned a lot about family relationships.

Generalizations, principles and theories:

Family values are very important in a person`s life. Everybody should esteem and support a family unit. It is not easy for people to live together. A person has to work hard to have a good family and be happy with it. All problems can be solved with good attitude.

Testing and application:

Many times in my adult life I recollected the described situation and lesson that I have learned from it. I will never forget that Christmas present from my father. I always try to do the best for my family and teach my children to do the same. Now I have a good family with its values and traditions.

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Role of the Medium as an Expression of the Storytelling Tradition

Description of concrete experience:

Television is a great invention of the humanity. There are many entertainment programs such as talk shows, series shows, movies, and so on. On the other hand, for me television means the source of information. Due to television, American people have got the possibility to learn about the most important events from all over the world. It gives people a huge opportunity to be informed and developed intellectually. For me, the first strong impression from television was the coverage of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. It was a huge tragedy for the American nation. Summer 1972 Olympic Games were also covered by television. I liked to watch sports competitions, especially swimming. At the same time, I was shocked about the taking Israeli athletes into hostage and then killing them. It was significant and cruel event that was covered by television live. The failed attempt to kill the President Ronald Reagan in 1981 also was also covered by television. Other breaking news I learnt from television and the one that influenced me much was the suppression of protests in Beijing`s Tiananmen Square in 1989. On the one hand, I saw the longing of people for freedom. On the other hand, I saw a great violence of government striving to put an end to this longing. In 1989, due to the existence of television I watched the fall of the Berlin wall. The symbol of epoch and communism had fallen. It was a great event for Germans and other nations all over the world. The country had been separated into two parts for a long time. People of common history and traditions had other political systems, ideology, educational priorities, and so on. People lived other lives. Some people were living in wealth, others in poverty. But they had common roots, were thinking about one another and had a desire to be together. It was a big happiness for both parts of Germany to be connected and finally live in one country. I know that West Germans still pay some taxes for the renovation of the Eastern part of the country. They are still helping each other. In 1991, I was impressed much by reports about the war in Iraqi. American television covered it in details, showing the bombing in real time. It shocked me deeply. People’s cruelty was enormous.

Reflections:

My father always told that news programs are not independent and are ruled by governance. Over the years, I have understood his words. I know the meaning and importance of independent mass media for the civil society. From that time, many things have changed. Nowadays, I can watch television and obtain true information about many events from all over the world. I can receive news from independent news programs which I can rely on. I think this is very important for me personally and all American people.

At the same time, watching news I was afraid about the future. The President could be killed. There is no stability. Ordinary people are not safe. I had these thoughts at that time. When I was watching reports about mentioned events, I had thoughts about people’s destiny. As for Tiananmen Square, I have understood that Chinese people were struggling for things I already have from the birth – for freedom and democracy. There were people in American history who struggled for these things too. In its turn, the fall of Berlin Wall gave me the hope that the world will become better and barriers between people will break with time.

Generalizations, principles and theories:

Television shows that there is a huge need for security and stability in the society. This will help people to start valuing things they have. The freedom and democracy are among these things. The brotherhood is another. For me, the events in Beijing`s Tiananmen Square in 1989 was the destroy of everything. But the fall of Berlin Wall was the victory of democracy and freedom.

Testing and application:

Television has a great influence on the society. Television brings not only good but a lot of bad things to our homes. At the same time, TV news about cruel events taught me to respect the main American values – freedom and democracy. I am proud to be American and I am a patriot of my country.

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Characteristics of Genre

Description of concrete experience:

Television is a mixture of everything. Each person can find there what he/she is especially interested in. First time when television entered our family, we were watching a popular comedy series The Andy Griffin Show. It came to an end in 1968. From 1969 until 1971, all my family was watching The Bill Cosby Show. It was a situational comedy consisting two seasons. This comedy, which was about an average high school teacher, described real life situations and provided solutions to many problems. It was useful and really life learned. When I was a child, every morning my parents watched Good Morning America. There were much interesting information, news and many host guests. Usually, I had my breakfast at that time and it was accompanied by this show. Thus, it made my day and until the lunch I heard in my mind its main melody. Besides, my father liked westerns and talk shows very much, especially The Phil Donahue Show. My mother preferred soap operas that were shown daytime. The soap Days of our Lives was her favourite one. As for me, being a child I enjoyed watching PBS Sesame Street, Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones. Muppets, animation, and games were widely used there.

In 1970th, drama programs such as Charlie`s Angels, Columbo and Dallas were commonly watched and popular in America. Besides, television also offered Lou Grant, Little House on the Prairie, and Quincy. My family, neighbors and friends were regularly watching at least one of these programs. In my family, we usually watched Columbo and Dallas. Columbo was about a smart detective Lieutenant Columbo who had a specific way to investigate crimes. At first, the series described the crime and its commitment in detail. The main question was in the way of how a detective would find a murderer. In its turn, Dallas described a love story based on the plot of Romeo and Juliette. In the 1980th, I started watching series themes about the life of rich people. The whole America was watching Dynasty, Dallas and Rich and Famous. I was not an exception and watched Dynasty. This epic series theme showed the life and love of rich oil tycoon and his family. It was full of glamour, wealth and fashion.

There were a lot of other interesting TV programs. Magnum P.I. show with Tom Selleck was telling me about important and hard work of American Police. The Oprah Winfrey Show was the source of information and new emotions for me. I liked Oprah. Her charism and charm gave me additional energy.

In the 1990th, I watched Law & Order and X-Files. Law & Order had been popular for a long time. I have watched it from 1990 until 2010. Detectives, investigations, prosecution of the offenders – all of this made the series interesting and dynamic. Moreover, it was based on real cases. In its turn, X-Files was mysterious and unbelievable television series that was broadcasted on television from 1983 until 2002. Two FBI agents investigated abnormal events. The most intrigue thing here was the endlessness. With the problem solving, new questions arose and they were not answered fully. It gave additional charm to this television series. The Rosie O`Donnell Show made my evenings. In 2000, I started watching a television series Sopranos about a criminal Tony Soprano and his family. I am watching it until now.

In the 1990th, I saw a reality television show for the first time. It was The Real World by MTV. This long series show was something new on television. I was surprised to watch people`s ordinary life in real time.

Reflections:

As a child, from Sesame Street I eagerly learned a lot of information that is valuable for a child. Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones were so funny and fascinating that I could not leave my place until the final scenes were shown. Later, Columbo was interesting for me because while watching it I could develop my logical thinking and intelligence. A great number of psychological aspects of human behavior, various puzzles and tasks for solving gave my brain additional stimuli for active work. From Dynasty, I have learned new things about the life other than mine and that I could hardly ever have. It was interesting to look at these people, see their luxurious things, dresses and houses. When watching Dynasty, I was thinking about people. The main discovery for me was the fact that people are the same in their wishes, attitudes and desires disregarding their status. Everybody needs such things as love, friendship, and kindness. From Law & Order I learned a lot about police work and various aspects of detectives’ life. While watching Sopranos, I was thinking about the difficulties in life. Despite Soprano is a criminal, he is always between the two worlds – his home and his criminal activity.

Generalizations, principles and theories:

Programs for children shown on television develop a young person in the process of entertainment. Programs for adults make people think about some vital issues. In television shows, a lot of controversial and topical themes are discussed. It allows a person to form his/her own opinion on the topic. As for me, I generalized the following conclusions. No wealth could automatically give happiness to a person. The American Dream can be achieved by everybody. The main thing is to study and work hard. At the same time, there are always moral dilemmas in life – how to act and what to choose. Every person faces these dilemmas. From television series I learned that there are no right or wrong things for anybody. There is moral choice of a definite person.

Testing and application:

During my life, I used lessons learned from television. I try to be tolerant and show love and kindness. I understand that no wealth can bring happiness and I try to be good person in any situation.

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Effect of Corporate Ownership on Trends in the Medium

Description of concrete experience:

When I was a child, I was influenced much by the governmental ban on cigarettes advertisement on television and radio. My mother supported it. She did not smoke and thought that such advertisement promotes nicotine addiction and influences a lot of young people. My mother did not want to see me smoking. This situation and my mother’s words about it made me think that smoking was a bad thing. From that time, I do not smoke.

By the end of the 1970th, the cable television has entered our home. Cable television proposed new interesting channels on various themes. After the domination of only three networks, the introduction of a new one seemed like a mystery. It changed a lot in the industry. People obtained new opportunities to develop and were given a range of channels to choose from. For instance, as a child I liked Nickelodeon. It was oriented on children and young people as I was. Nickelodeon proposed a lot of animation, movies and shows for people of my age.
Many new cable networks were introduced to American people in the 1980th. As I was young and curious, I preferred Music Television, Discovery Channel and Arts & Entertainment. Later, I have discovered for myself The History Channel. All my life I was interested in history, and this channel was especially valuable for me. I watched programs about ancient times, middle ages, and modern history. I learned a lot about people’s life in different countries in other time periods. I was interested in things related to the First and Second World Wars that influenced much a world order and were connected almost with every country in the civil world.

Reflections:

In my opinion, my mother was right saying that smoking is bad. The governmental decision to ban cigarettes’ advertisement was a good decision for the society. As for additional channels, I was happy about it. For instance, while watching Nickelodeon, I was happy to see the same young people as I was, listen to discussions on questions and problems which I was thinking about.

Moreover, there were a lot of jokes and funny things in the scenes. Thus, this channel taught me a lot about things topical for me. I found a lot of useful information and answers to various questions that I hardly could ask my parents. Music channel gave me additional energy, I liked to sing and dance while watching it. Discovery channel gave me a lot of new interesting information about various sides of life – from bacteria to universe. The Arts & Entertainment helped me to be in a good mood and gave me positive emotions. These things were important for me. I learned to live and be happy in life. From The History Channel, I learned about traditions, culture and behaviors of various nations. I have obtained much useful information.

Generalizations, principles and theories:

I have learned that television has a great influence on people, their minds, habits and attitudes. Corporate ownership plays its own role. It can use television as a means for achieving goals, like in the case with a ban of cigarettes’ advertisement. Government banned it. It was good for people, but bad for big corporations. Simultaneously, the development of television led to the introduction of new cable networks that was a good thing for both people and corporations.

Testing and application:

Ban of cigarettes prevented many young people from smoking. For instance, due to such bans, I am not smoking. The variety of television channels helps me in real life, including cases of communication with people of others nationalities and religions.

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Influence of the Medium on a Particular Culture

Description of concrete experience:

During my life, I was always impressed by talents shows that were offered by various TV channels. There were shows like Showtime at the Apollo, Solid Gold, and others. I think these TV shows influence the American culture to a great extent. In such shows, Americans were dancing, singing and doing many other tremendous things. I am waiting for every season of America`s Got Talent, worrying about participants and following the course of the competitions. In 2014, I was for Mat Franco. I was happy when this talented person had won a competition. In 2015, the winner of 10th season Paul Zerdin also won honestly and fairly.

Among others, series themes have a huge influence on culture. For instance, such series as Sex and the City boomed America. This series was cult for many American women including me. The story about four middle age women turned my world. It was the first time that the television described the life of adult women, their problems and desires. Many topical themes were also discussed in this project. This series theme dictated people the fashion and the way of living in the society. My children watched series Friends and Beverly Hills 90210. Despite the fact that I was an adult, I also liked it very much. It showed young people`s everyday life. They were solving problems and living a life with humor and ease. It was useful series for my children because everyday problems and situations of youth were discussed there. Besides, I watched Murphy Brown, the television comedy about life and the creation of the television series. I liked the main character Murphy Brown, a smart and talented female reporter. Many people wanted to be like her.

News and talk shows also have huge influence on culture. For instance, these days I have been watching The Tonight Show. Many interesting themes are discussed there. I am listening to different opinions and forming my own point of view regarding the main topics.

Reflections:

The number of talented Americans impressed me the most. While walking through the streets, sitting in restaurants and living an ordinary life I have never thought that there are so many talented people around me. Earlier while communicating with them I looked only at their appearance but not their internal side. These talents shows push me to think more about it and try to something good and exceptional in everyone.

Generalizations, principles and theories:

Television has a huge influence on culture. It dictates fashion, the way of dressing and behavior. To a great extent, popular culture is made by television. Due to television, I know that each person is genius. From that time I think that each person is talented in one or another field of activity. The most important thing is the ability to discern and estimate it.

Testing and application:

I know that many things I am doing I do in a way television has showed me. It concerns many things in my life including dressing and behaving in the society. Due to talents shows, I acquired a different attitude to people around. I started looking for something good and interesting in everybody.

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Influence of a Particular Culture on the Medium

Description of concrete experience:

In 1976, it was the first time that I saw a woman in news program. It was Barbara Walters who was the co-anchor in evening news on ABC channel. It was discussed much. In the evening, my family watched the comedy All in the Family. It was shown in the prime time, and all my family were sitting, laughing and discussing it. A lot of controversial questions were raised in the comedy. Relationships in the ordinary American family, between Archie Bunker, Edith, Mike Stivic and others, were diverse and complicated. Situations, problems and their solutions were different. Themes were topical. All in the Family showed social inequality in the society. In 1977, we watched Roots. It was miniseries about the life of African-American family. Race relationships, sex, romantic relations, violence and many other things were discussed there. It was topical for that time. Besides, from 1984 my Thursday evenings were accompanied by Cosby Show. This show was about an African-American family of the upper-middle-class. I liked the soundtrack to it very much. It was almost like jazz. A lot of humor and real family situations made this show interesting and easy. The main issue of the show was the fact that it raised themes of inequality in America.

Reflections:

For me to see a woman as a co-anchor was not so crucial, but I had a real feeling that the priorities in the society are changing. The power of men was shacked, and women began to declare their rights. As for All in the Family, in this series social inequality in the society was also showed. I was a child and did not understand the question on the whole, but I still have in my mind the main things. It is about the injustice and cruelty of inequality. This issue should be eradicated from life. At the same time, while watching The Cosby Show, I learned that disregarding the race or other matters Americans can achieve certain status in the society, have good profession and be equal.

Generalizations, principles and theories:

The Movement for Woman Rights, as well as African-American Civil Rights Movement had a considerable impact on television. That is the case when television was influenced by culture, began to count with it and offer connected programs and materials to people. It helped to break the inequality barrier in the country.

Testing and application:

I saw many controversial things in my real life and could not find right answers for my questions. But civil movements changed the American culture and influenced television as well. In its turn, television gave me necessary answers and taught me to be tolerant and understanding.