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Media Response #1 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Essay Sample)


Television functions as an extremely popular medium for American culture in general. Ranging from merely reflecting the broader norms of and mores through to focused attempts to influence American ways of thinking and behaving more generally, it is clearly important. And yet, it's not uncommon to hear explicit resistance to how important TV itself may be.
To that end, I want you to:
Pick an American TV show for this assignment.
This TV show can be anything (current or old; sitcom, drama, cartoon, reality, etc.; you can even pick specific news shows/news hours; I want it to be something you're interested in)
I want you to use the show to address whether it is representative of American culture or not.
You can argue for or against but I want you to take your personal experience and understanding of American culture, alongside the readings especially from weeks 1 and 3.
You'll need to watch at least two episodes and pull out three examples to substantiate your claim.
This paper should be 3 full pages (longer is fine, shorter if you're someone is very concise). Remember, I want you to use your experience and thoughts from your life with American culture alongside the readings to integrate these points together.


Media Response #1
In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith plays the character of a young black street basketball player from West Philadelphia who goes to stay in his uncle’s family upscale home in Bel Air, Los Angeles. Smith stays in the home of Philip Banks a hard working judge, Vivian Banks and their children including Carlton, Hilary, Ashley and the youngest child Nicky Banks. Respectability is a recurring theme in the 90s sitcom and Will learns not to make impulsive decisions and unlike Carlton, his cousin and age mate he gets in trouble for failing to head to Phil’s advice. The sitcom focuses on traditional American families such as family, seeking opportunities including education, tradition, and hard work. The sitcom is representative of American culture as it focuses on American family life, respect tradition, education, and hard work
In the episode, Will Gets a Job, Will gets a job partly because he is uncomfortable living off Uncle Phil, but while working at the pirate-themed restaurant, Phil does not recognize his nephew. The episode highlights the importance of success and determined where one can seek opportunities regardless of their circumstances. Will and Uncle Phil recognized and the importance of family is also based on respecting each other, while juggling between school and work is a challenge for Will. TV is an important cultural form for people to articulate their concerns and experiences, even as there are contested explanations (Newcomb & Hirsch, 1983).
The sitcom one was one of the few TV programs that touched on economic achievement and Black wealth. Carlton is the opposite of his goofy cousin Will Smith, as he loves education, behaves well, and is honest. Despite Will Smith being a mischievous character, he also a need to be independent and not rely on his wealthy uncle and even as will is young and reckless he was critical of injustices and was open to become a better person. The belief that there are equal opportunities and freedom is one way that Americans have a chance to live a better life
However, Bigsby (2006) argued that there are ambiguous meanings on what it means to be American and what constitutes American values.
In Burnin' Down the House season 6, episode 1 Will accidently burns the kitchen while trying make dinner and tries to hide the extent of the dame, Judge Walker and his wife are invited to the house, and Will is required to behave well.

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