NBC’s Saturday Night

Lorne Michaels vision for Saturday Night Live, an American late variety show, came to life on the night of  October 11, 1975 premiering on, well you could’ve guessed, NBC. Saturday night live was a hit in family homes all across America. Reaching an audience range many shows couldn’t. The goal of SNL wasn’t just to get that quality audience, however get the audience the other shows couldn’t get. This late night comedy stared weekly celebrity host and musical guest with that formula your guaranteed to get people watching. If it wasn’t for the show it was for whoever was going to be on it that week. This is just a pure example of television and the family. NBC’s Saturday Night gives families the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a show together.

With cast members like  John Belushi and Chevy Chase each week something new was going to happen. Thats what keeps this show running from day one is each episode is never going to be the same as the previous. Each celebrity host puts there own twist on it and the cast is there to back up there image and put on a show. The range of cast members this show has gone through is hard to look at and think that they’re still on the air. As of Season 44, SNL has featured close to 150 cast members. Thats what keeps so many people watching and shows how when reviews go down and they do have a rough season, they have something new coming that can bring them right back up. So for the families that eat dinner in the living room, or the families that eat dinner, and then go to the living room to watch that late night Saturday time slot. I bet it was SNL.

Because SNL was such a good example of Television and the family it brought in all sorts of commercials and sellers trying to put they’re product in the late night time slot rather than the prime time.  In 1975 and 1976, they were the most desirable demographic for television advertisers. In this era of Broadcast Television, adds where everything. The way SNL brought something new to the table shows how much of an impact it was and still is for telivision and families.

– Drake Nickolaison

Teachable Moments in The Andy Griffith Show


The Andy Griffith Show, season three episode twenty-one called “Opie and the Spoiled Kid” aired on February 18th 1963 where Andy explains to Opie the value of hard work. Opie is Andy’s son and, in this episode, Opie learns about the value of hard work. Opie meets some new kids at school who get a hefty allowance so in this scene Opie tries to convince Andy to give him a big allowance for the work he is currently doing for free. Andy sits down and explains to Opie the value and importance of working hard for a respectable pay and not just working to get rich.

The shows values are clear from this scene because it values working hard and teaching children about morals This ideology relates back to incorporating family with television. This is the type of show that would be considered appropriate in 1963 for the entire family to watch and enjoy. There is comedy involved with the adult characters on the show that parents can enjoy watching while there are subplots with Opie and other kids that would entertain children watching the show. Not only is it entertaining for the whole family to gather around and watch, but it also teaches children lessons about what is right and wrong.

Early television was meant to bring together the family and promote ideas that were appropriate and safe to air on tv. There was a lot of fear surrounding television that it was “brainwashing” children, making people lazy, and stupid. To reassure people, television shows such as this one were created to show how television was safe and nondamaging for your child to watch. Family is what the entire show circles around because the show is specifically meant for families to watch together. This scene highlights this fact and provides insight to televisions humble and innocent beginnings. Oh how far we’ve strayed from this…

-Sophia Pellar

Breaking Television Show on Orange is the New Black

The clip that I have chosen is from season four of the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. The scene in the clip is of the death of Poussey Washington, one of the inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary, a women’s prison. In the scene, the inmates are protesting by standing on the cafeteria tables when one of the prisoners, Suzanne, has an episode from her mental illness. Upon seeing this, her friend Poussey jumps from the table and is pinned to the ground by a guard that views this action as dangerous. From the guard pinning her down, she loses her consciousness and then dies.

This scene is completely different from anything that one would see on television as little as ten years ago, and it goes directly against the Television Code that we learned about earlier in the semester. There are many aspects of this scene that are contrary to Television Code, especially the negative portrayal of law enforcement officers. The mere fact that there was a protest shows that there was some kind of negative portrayal earlier in the series (maybe even in the episode) that would cause an uproar in the prison (in this case, the prisoners were protesting their unfair treatment by the authorities in the prison). Later, when the correction officer actually does kill Poussey, he is portrayed very negatively because he murdered her, even if it was not on purpose. Murder is inexcusable and puts the correction officer in a negative light.

Another main part of the Television Code that is broken in this scene is the presentation of cruelty. Poussey’s death is an unusually cruel death. She is constrained under the knee and hand of the much larger correction officer. The scene shows her struggling to breath through her eyes widening and the audible, shallow gasps she makes. This is incredibly cruel and is also potentially quite disturbing to viewers. This obviously against the Television Code as part of the reason for the Television Code beginning was to protect viewers from disturbing scenes, especially the younger viewers that the show is aimed towards. These are only two examples from a very short scene of the evolution of television away from the Television Code, but it shows that television is a changing medium that is moving away from traditional family values.

-Annie Cohen

Privacy Statement