Television vs. Reality

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It is 8:30 Monday night and the whole family is in the living room watching the Fox network's primetime hit "Ally McBeal". Suddenly, just after the program resumes after a painstakingly long commercial break, you see a man and a woman lying in bed talking to each other after having a night of hot, passionate sex. You look down and see your ten year old son or daughter lying on the floor just staring at the TV, taking it all in. You begin channel surfing, and end up on channel 3, CBS. There is a brand new sitcom being aired called "Some of My Best Friends". Almost immediately after you and your family begin viewing this program, two men, both proclaiming to be gay, begin kissing and embracing each other. Upset by all of this "garbage", you turn off the TV and decide to try and find something a little more "educational" to do.

Sex. It seems to be everywhere on television today. From sitcoms to reality shows to dramas to soap operas, sex is one of the leading factors in most television programs. A recent study showed that 3 out of 4 primetime programs portray sex in relationships and 68% of all television programs contain sexual content (Cutler, Jacqueline, TVData Features Syndicate March 24,2001). There are exceptions to this, however, with networks occasionally focusing on education and children's programming, but the mainstream of primetime television programs tends to focus on sex. But how accurate is television's portrayal of sex in the real world? Does everything turn out like it does on shows such as "Sex in the City" or "Temptation Island"? Or are these sexual messages just an obvious ploy to help boost ratings? Recently I have watched several shows I thought would help answer these questions. The programs I have researched are "Friends", one of NBC's highest rated shows, "Everybody Loves Raymond", a family sitcom on CBS, and "Days of Our Lives", one of NBC's daytime soap operas. In viewing these shows I hope to compare the key message...
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