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The media is a form of entertainment that lets us escape reality and distract from the pressures of life. In this time, we are at ease and absorb messages rather than analyzing and breaking it down. If we try to be media literate we will see that the world as the media shows it, deals with race, class and gender on many grounds. If we use the criticism approach properly, rather that swallowing everything the TV tells us, we will realize that as Michael Parenti shows in “Political entertainment,” many hidden agendas of media production. The media serves support, package it and sell it in the market all of these hidden agendas.
In the episode, Papa’s Cabin of TV show “Veronica Mars,” we can identify the hidden “curriculum” that Parenti addresses in the article, while not adhering to the typical police / crime show discussed by Stuart Kaminski. The show is about a young girl named Veronica Mars, daughter of a sheriff. They reside in a small town called Neptune, where everything is sound and perfect. This town is suddenly interrupted when Dean O ‘ Dell was murdered and Veronica’s professor Landry becomes the main suspect. Dean O Dell’s wife was having an affair with professor Landry. The dean finds out about it and is killed.
Evidence was discovered and the professor was placed in jail. His teaching assistant Tim becomes a main character as he and veronica try to prove his innocence. Professor Landry has an alibi and is freed, while Miley O’ Dell collects insurance money and disappears along side Landry. Landry accidentally kills Mindy during argument. In class when Tim takes over the professor, Veronica realizes that Tim is the murderer and the episode ends with veronica having dinner with her father. The world represented in the show is full of twits and plots in criminal activity.
It deviates from the standard that Kaminski expresses, some are present. There is no “good guy,” “bad guy” scenario; the story is much more complex than that. There are three alleged suspects: Landry, Mindy O’Dell and Tim. Landry and Tim turn out to be the criminals and Mindy a suspect thief of insurance scam. The “detective” is not working alone nor is she a “lone wolf” she shares her investigation with Tim. Tim is not the typical sidekick/partner who are not her equal; he turns out to be a manipulative criminal with a motive: he wants too be the professor and professor does not give him a recommendation he wanted.
The show takes place in a place that represents the ideal all- American small town. Most individuals are white, middle class with one or two minorities. This can be seen by their comfortable looking homes and the fact that all of the young college adults are driving descent cars. The town is suddenly disrupted by the murder of the professor. When Veronica solves the case the town returns to “normalcy. ” This is shown when the episode ends with Veronica, for the first time, having dinner with her father. This environment reflects the demographic it is trying to target: young, white, middleclass females.
I say female because it is through the narration of Veronica and she often deals with romantic, womanly issues that guys can not relate to. The marriage and family structure portrayed in Veronica Mars is unstable. In the episode there was not one example of a nuclear family. That is; the suburban, 2. 5 kids, soccer mom scenario usually allied with the suburban life. The wife of the d, Mindy is having an affair with the professor, the main suspect. As soon as he is killed, she collects the insurance money and buys a boat (way to celebrate your husband’s death). She is shown as relentless and dauntless of her husband’s death.
Veronica in this episode is living with her father and no signs of a motherly influence. Yet she is strong and independent not the typical representation of a product of a dysfunctional family, partly because she is raised by a strong man. The other depiction of a family is the stripper mom scenario raising her son on her own. In this case, she looks like a single parent and is struggling financially, because she is a female single parent, in raising her son. Therefore, the son is a teenager who is easily convinced into giving his address over the phone when Veronica acts like radio show and lures him with an ipod.
When she goes there he answers the door with a video game in his hand, not very intellectual compared to Veronica. This is because Veronica’s father, who holds a better position in society as a sheriff, is a man and is stable financially. While the stripper, because she is a women struggles more financially to raise her son. This shows that the message of the episode is that men are represented as having the upper hand in positions in society and mentality to raise a child, unlike women. Veronica mars shows how a women use their sexuality whether it is to solve a crime or get paid.