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Semiotic Interpretation of a TV Show

Topic For this essay, you will conduct a semiotic analysis of a TV show (focusing primarily on a single episode), preferably one of the series I’ve listed below.* We will be discussing a specific episode of a show during class (as a sort of “trial run”) and exploring, via discussion and writing, denotations and connotations in the episode’s characters, setting, and plot. Note that most of the shows listed contain mature content, which may include profanity, nudity, or violence. Please check ratings before viewing, especially if you have kids at home and/or find certain material objectionable.  HBO Max  (Note that all the HBO series listed are rated TV-MA) The Wire  The Flight Attendant Game of Thrones It’s a Sin Lovecraft Country Veep The Sopranos Barry Silicon Valley Big Little Lies Succession Westworld My Brilliant Friend Chernobyl Band of Brothers Gentleman Jack The Night Of The Plot Against America Watchmen South Park The Office (UK) Netflix  Ozark  Peaky Blinders Arrested Development Sherlock Anne With an “E” After Life Breaking Bad Better Call Saul The Crown Schitt’$ Creek Derek Firefly Lane The Queen’s Gambit Amazon Prime Video  The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Sneaky Pete Bosch Fleabag Catastrophe Red Oaks Upload AppleTV+ The Morning Show Ted Lasso For All Mankind Hulu  Family Guy Harlots Seinfeld Futurama 30 Rock King of the Hill The Handmaid’s Tale Ramy Killing Eve The Great *If you would prefer a show not listed here, you must clear your selection with me beforeproceeding. Be prepared to rewrite the paper if you fail to communicate with me about an alternate show. Please note that “reality TV” is out of bounds for this assignment.    Directions Choose your TV series, and then plan to watch at least two or three episodes to get a general grasp of the characters and the show’s themes (which entails examining connotations, of course). I strongly recommend taking notes while viewing. Consider the following questions to fully grasp the show’s/episode’s denotations: What is the show’s physical/temporal setting? Examine not only where but when the program is set.  What do you know about the value systems governing the time/place in which the show is set? Who is the protagonist (central character)? How would you describe his/her/their personality? What motivates this person? Who are the show’s supporting characters, and what is their relation to the protagonist? In what way, if at all, do they influence the main character?  Look for the antagonist (which isn’t necessarily synonymous with villain). What is this character’s motivation, and in what sense does this cause conflict? What happens in the episode, literally? What seems to be the primary conflict? Does the plot feature flashbacks, foreshadowing? Can you identify a climax?  (Note that, while this step requires you to provide a summary, you will ultimately use your synopsis as a base from which you launch into a significant analysis–and an attempt to discover underlying meaning through examining connotations.) Try to determine the show’s genre. Is it a comedy? A drama? A dramedy? Do you notice elements of satire (i.e., is the show making fun of a specific person, type of person, institution and/or idea)?  Locate allusions or references to outside material, such as other shows, films, novels, elements of popular culture. (You may have to research at this point, but under no circumstances are you to copy material from Wikipedia or any other site.) What’s the show’s tone or mood? How might the tone affect our interpretation(s)? What might we identify as the show’s/episode’s theme(s)? In other words, what might be the underlying meaning not readily apparent on the surface? Pause the show so that you have ample time to jot down your responses. The more you can get down on paper, the more material you’ll have when you begin drafting your essay. After viewing the program: consider freewriting, brainstorming, and/or clustering. If you have a friend/relative who’s watching with you or is a fan of the show you’re examining, speak with him/her/them to generate ideas (while, of course, maintaining ownership of your writing).  Begin drafting with the understanding that writing is a process, and it’s okay (even expected) that you’ll have what Anne Lamott calls “Crummy” first drafts.  I recommend starting in the middle, constructing one or two body paragraphs. Here is a template you might use in a body paragraph:   Topic sentence (which provides readers with an overview of what you’re discussing in this particular paragraph) A statement pinpointing the plot point on which you’re focusing: “In one scene, the protagonist’s husband reveals to her that he’s been having an affair.” Your interpretation of the character’s reaction: “She is devastated by this revelation and dismayed by the fact that the ‘other woman’ is her husband’s secretary, whom she perceives as a dimwit.”   What these reactions signify: “The fact that she has gone to great lengths to maintain her husband’s interest makes his departure as baffling as it is painful. For example, she has maintained her physical beauty and youth through great sacrifice, only to lose her husband to a woman who is not as exciting, funny, and intelligent as she is.” Analysis of what all this means in the larger picture: “The protagonist’s experience here connotes the challenges many mid-twentieth-century women dealt with, maintaining oppressive gender roles as submissive homemakers and still being responsible for keeping their spouses from ‘wandering.'” (If relevant) A statement about how the above is reflective of (or different from) contemporary society: “Women still, although to a lesser extent than in the late 40s/early 50s, suffer through double-standards, inequality, and misogyny; for example, women who choose not to be mothers and homemakers and instead navigate the world of business, are often labeled ‘bitches’ for exhibiting the same characteristics that lead men to be seen as ‘shrewd’ or ‘clever.’ Unfortunately, many today are troubled by anyone refusing to conform to traditional gender roles.”    Compose a working thesis**, which must include a somewhat general statement about what underlying messages (or connotations) you’ve identified. Know that you will fine-tune your thesis or even scrap it and start over. **See the “Thesis Statements” page in the week-8 module Now, focus on your introduction and conclusion. Note that your thesis statement must appear in your intro., ideally at the end of that first paragraph. I recommend putting your draft aside for between 12 and 24 hours. Bake yourself cupcakes. You deserve it. The next stage is revision, which means, literally, “re-seeing” your essay. This step requires more than just light editing. Prepare to abandon what doesn’t work, restructure entire paragraphs, and/or add new material. Don’t complain—you just had a cupcake. Attend our next class with a draft you can share and workshop with peers.  Revise again based on what you learned during our workshop. Strive to improve your word economy.  Proofread, edit, and run a spell check.   Format    For all formal essays, you must use MLA format: typewritten, double-spaced, one-inch margins all around, proper heading and header, left-aligned text, 12-point Times New Roman font. Failure to adhere to these guidelines will adversely affect your grade. I have posted a downloadable MLA-formatted document (see below), so formatting should never be an issue. This essay needs to be done exactly as asked, will be giving good tip. Need it to be done with absolutely ZERO PLAGIARISM.