America in Primetime

Over the past several weeks I have had the opportunity to view the series “America in Primetime” on my local PBS station. Over a four week period the series has taken a look at characters that we have loved and really can’t explain why. The question asked is, are these characters we have grown to love a reflection of our psyche or an imaginary conglomerate of who we want to be.

The first episode begins by taking a look at the “Independent Woman”. This episode began by looking at the stereotypical housewife as she was portrayed in the early 50’s in series like “Father Knows Best”, “Leave it to Beaver” and “I Love Lucy” to the modern day woman as depicted in shows like “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Nurse Jackie”, “The Good Wife” and ” Desperate Housewife’s” (America in Primetime, 2011).

The second episode takes a look at the “Man of the House” from the character of Ward Cleaver who we came to endear on “Leave it to Beaver” to characters like Walter White (Breaking Bad) as portrayed by Brian Cranston and Bill Hendrickson (Big Love) as portrayed by Bill Paxton. The show basically looks at how the man of the house or so- called father image is no longer just a bread winner, standing tall and proud but a passionate soul, showing and inner side that was once never allowed to be a part of the male role model (America in Primetime, 2011).

The third episode takes a look at those, we call “Misfits”. These are the characters that tend not to fit in, societies oddities. In this show the focus is more on characters we’ve come to know from series that appeared in the mid to late 60’s to those we see in shows like HBO’s “True Blood” and “The United States of Tara”. How can we forget those characters from the past like Herman Munster or Gomez Addams, moving forward to someone who is as obnoxious as Louis DePalma of “Taxi; who despite the character flaws had a sense of compassion and need deep within to the outcasts of the newly found realm of the mystic vampire tale (America in Primetime, 2011)?

And in the final episode we take a look at the “Crusader”. Beginning with the lone gunman of the western to the present day beat cop or investigative journalist looking at delivering and protecting life’s truths as they go without due recognition. We look at such characters like Jack Bauman of “24” as portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland to the characters of Scully and Mulder of “The X Files” (America in Primetime, 2011).

Each of these allows us the opportunity to look back at television and the characters that have been created over the years that represent and reflect the inner beings that we are and they way that we see life in itself.


America in Primetime. (2011). Retrieved November 19, 2011, from

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *