Satirizing social issues in the name of Family guy: Exploring TV's impact on young viewers
LE3 .A278 2009
Bachelor of Arts
It is arguable, when considering social problems and ways in which social awareness occurs, that satire is not always a useful strategy for acknowledging and encouraging awareness of social issues, especially among young viewers whose critical and analytical skills may not be fully developed. Very little research has specifically explored the level of awareness of and stance on social problems that youth may have as a result of the media they mundanely encounter. The purpose of this study was to use the animated TV series, Family Guy, to understand the type and nature of the satirical content that is presented in animated comedies and provide insight into how this content may affect young viewers. A content analysis of ten randomly selected episodes of Family Guy was employed. The episodes were coded according to content that may be defined as objectionable, such as being derogatory to an identifiable group or demonstrating sexual harassment. The most common form of content coded involved the denigration of women. In addition, I conducted a focus group to gain additional insights into the issue of social apathy among youth in relation to the satirical content found in Family Guy. Members questioned whether young teens and pre- teens would be able to place the satire in context and understand the social nature of the issues being presented. Further research should be conducted with adolescent participants to apply the theoretical speculations of this study to determine whether or not social apathy could be measured and is related to watching social issues satirized in television shows.
The author retains copyright in this thesis. Any substantial copying or any other actions that exceed fair dealing or other exceptions in the Copyright Act require the permission of the author.