Essay: Annotated Bibliography – Contemporary American Culture

M.S. (2011). Culture and economy: watching rich people on TV. The Economist Blogs, 26 April. Retrieved from                                                                                        

This blog review of M.S. (2011) is discussing the perception disruptions produced by watching popular television dramas. In particular, the author claims that the results of recent Gallup survey, showing that most upper-income people (earning over $250,000) still don’t realize they are not the average middle class, is directly linked to the median household as it is depicted on popular TV dramas. On the one hand the author seem to be unreasonable focuses at only one illustration of this basing upon “Parenthood” television drama, but on the other hand, M. S. (2011) clearly shows that the existing distortion between TV and real life economy, as well as makes a strong point on most popular culture element being concentrated mainly on the economic elite. Similarly to Beck (2010), the author refers to the 19th century novels’ characters, but regarding the discussed aspects, finds that contemporary dramas now move much far from showing real proportions of American society.


Reed, J. (2003). Beleaguered Husbands and Demanding Wives: The New Domestic Sitcom. The American Popular Culture Website. Retrieved from

The online magazine article by Reed (2003) is centered around the context produced by modern domestic sitcoms. The author claims that the majority of shows depict traditional marriages with masculinity and femininity roles performed in conservative ways. The strongest side of the study lies its relying on historical perspective of domestic melodramas starting from 1950’s in order to trace the ongoing changes. Thus, Reed (2003) claims that contemporary shows tend to demonstrate crucial shifts in their response to cultural shifts over the past forty years. In particular, similarly to Seltzer (2012), the article discusses the aspects of feminism and women representation in drama series, as well as touches upon changes in gender relationships. Though Reed’s (2003) concept of “post-feminist family television” is somehow contradicting her main point that domestic sitcoms mainly depict traditional roles, the author is reasonable in explaining how popular dramas reinscribe the terms of femininity, masculinity, heterosexuality and domesticity in terms of the cultural functions.


Richardson, K. (2010). Multimodality and the study of popular drama. Language and Literature, 19 (4), pp. 378-395.

Viewing popular film and television dramas as influential factors of sociocultural sphere formation, this peer-reviewed journal article focuses at the assessment of drama dialogues stylistics, emphasizing the multimodal character of modern popular dramas. Widening our understanding on the aspects that might until recent time have been obstructing similar studies, Richardson (2010) demonstrates effectual drama dialogues logocentric studies that certainly represent a deep penetration into approaching the multimodality through utilization of a variety of linguistic analyses and contextual semiotics methods. However, logocentric perspective is also exposed to certain provisions relating to the particular aims of the study (which is, though, realized by the researcher). In general, the stylistic analysis of television dramas dialogues is closely related to the study of messages in the media by Glover’s et al. (2011) and Geraghty (2010).


Seltzer, S. (2012). Audiences Can Be Color Blind. The New York Times Opinion Pages: Room for Debate Blogs, 17 August. Retrieved from

Being a journalist specializing in popular culture, in her blog review Seltzer (2012) focuses at the issues of race representation quotas demonstrated by US television dramas, claiming that while contents about racial minorities are mainly promoted to their representatives, contents with regular white characters are advertized to everyone. Seltzer’s strong point lies the position that viewers factually tend to be in “search for a mirror”, trying to see their own and their lives’ reflections in television dramas, and therefore the norm of racially neutral heroes representation gains crucial importance. On the other hand, the author is not clear enough in whether her analysis regards colored women or colored men representation, or even whether the point is generally on rather gender or race quotas. Besides, the article could be seen as biased in many aspects, as it lacks statistical proofs. Although, similarly to Reed (2003), Seltzer (2012) puts the reasonable ideas that contemporary popular television dramas with multimillion audience is now playing the important role in social contexts by broadening the comprehension of the human nature, arousing compassion and breaking even the most deep-rooted stereotypes.

Leave a Reply