Glee, Breaking Bad, and Parenthood
Chapter 7. “Breaking” Down the Content
← 102 | 103 →Chapter Seven
“Breaking” Down the Content
The purpose of this study was to examine the various themes related to disability, particularly youth with disability, in three TV series—Glee, Parenthood, and Breaking Bad—to get a better sense of how these popular television programs include this population in their repertoire. This work builds upon previous research in the field of disability, media, and critical youth studies.
I chose to examine the representations of youth living with disabilities in three primetime television programs on two major networks (NBC, Fox) and one cable network (AMC). Specifically, I looked at episodes featured in Season 1, each an hour long. Through a thematic analysis, I found major themes related to the depictions of contemporary disability in these dramas. I decided whether a pattern was a theme based on its frequency and relevance to disability as it exists in the educational environment of the high schools of these programs. For example, was disability depicted inclusively? Are the images used to represent disability stereotypical? Is bullying involved in these representations, and if so, is it physical or emotional? Are the educators and schools integrated into the lives of the disabled characters, and ← 103 | 104 →how are they portrayed? These are the types of questions that started to form as I examined the shows. I also found that these were the topics most widely discussed in the media on news programs and on social networking sites (i.e., Twitter, Facebook)...
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