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Communication Theory and Millennial Popular Culture

Essays and Applications

Kathleen Glenister Roberts

Theories help to troubleshoot gaps in our understanding, and to make sense of a world that is constantly changing. What this book tries to do, in part, is blur the lines between the differences between today’s college students – the millennial generation – and their professors, many of whom hail from the Boom Generation and Generation X.
In the following chapters, contributors build upon what both parties already know. Writing in a highly accessible yet compelling style, contributors explain communication theories by applying them to «artifacts» of popular culture. These «artifacts» include Lady Gaga, Pixar films, The Hunger Games, hip hop, Breaking Bad, and zombies, among others. Using this book, students will become familiar with key theories in communication while developing creative and critical thinking. By experiencing familiar popular culture artifacts through the lens of critical and interpretive theories, a new generation of communication professionals and scholars will hone their skills of observation and interpretation – pointing not just toward better communication production, but better social understanding.
Professors will especially enjoy the opportunities for discussion this book provides, both through the essays and the «dialogue boxes» where college students provide responses to authors’ ideas.
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11. Knope vs. Pope: A Fantasy Theme Analysis of Scandal vs. Parks & Recreation



Knope vs. Pope: A Fantasy Theme Analysis of Scandal vs. Parks & Recreation

Krystal Fogle

When asked their opinion of American government, most citizens will not respond favorably. This reaction is interesting, considering the number of politically focused television shows emerging on major networks, cable, and the internet. It seems that although Americans feel negatively toward their government, they are still fascinated by the goings-on of government officials. Still, many of these shows contribute to the shadows associated with government dealings. Two very popular government-centered shows deal with similar themes, but come to very different conclusions about how America’s government should be viewed. Scandal is a dark show, filled with brooding people. Parks & Recreation, on the other hand, leaves viewers feeling bubbly and light, enjoying the antics of characters, while admiring the hard work Leslie and her coworkers put in to running their local government. Which depiction is accurate? Possibly both. This chapter delves into how American government is represented in popular television shows, using a fantasy theme analysis.

Fantasy Themes

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