Does entertainment influence society’s attitude towards violent behavior? In order to fully answer this question we must first understand what violence is. Violence is the use of one’s powers to inflict mental or physical injury upon another, examples of this would be rape or murder. Violence in entertainment reaches the public by way of television, movies, plays, and novels. Television with its far-reaching influence spreads across the globe. Its most important role is that of reporting the news and maintaining communication between people around the world.
Television’s most influential, yet most serious aspect is its shows for entertainment. After viewing NBC from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. there was an average of 3.4 acts of violence per hour. This is during prime time and many people might think this is too much for children to see. Also, if you look at how it is depicted and the degree of violence it shows, it could be a very bad influence on children or anyone for that matter. In my opinion, NBC did not do a good job in responsibly showing the violent acts during its prime time hours.
The first show I viewed was Seinfeld at 6:30 p.m. Of all the shows viewed over the course of the night Seinfeld had the most acts of violence in its half-hour programming. There were a total of five acts of violence, which included tripping and hitting people with a cane, verbal threats, and physical slapping with hands. All these actions were meant to be funny best evident by the laughter from the audience in the background each time something occurred.
One violent act was when one of the main character’s George was standing in a hall way and someone walked passed him and he stuck out his cane and tripped the person walking past him. This wasn’t such a horribly violent action although it could possibly cause physical harm to someone. A child seeing this might think this is very funny and repeat the act in real life. Of course the child thinks nothing will happen because there was laughter after the man was tripped and he got up just fine after being tripped. In order for the program to depict this random act of violence more realistically they maybe should have shown the man getting hurt, but then of course this wouldn’t be considered funny.
Also later in the show George ends up getting beaten by and old couple with a cane. Once again there’s laughter but if this were to happen in real life someone would be seriously hurt. NBC poorly depicted violence in Seinfeld by making it seem funny and causing no pain. When actually violence ultimately will cause pain leaving an immature viewer whom is watching Seinfeld with false ideas of violence.
The show after Seinfeld was Suddenly Susan at 7:00. This show had far fewer acts of violence in its half-hour programming only tallying one violent act. In the show a man wearing a clown outfit and carrying a knife mugged the main characters mother and co-worker. Instead of allowing herself to be mugged, the old mother fights back against the attacking clown kicking and punching him repeatedly till he runs away. This is very unrealistic and very poorly depicted. How many times have you ever heard of an old lady beating up her attacker in real life? I’d have to say never.
This showing of violence could give someone the impression to fight back if they were ever put in that situation. That could end up with someone getting severely hurt and possibly even killed. Since this show is being aired at 7, younger children still have the possibility to see this. It could give them false ideas about how to handle the situation if it ever happens to them. So with this showing of a mugging, NBC once again poorly depicts violence.
The third program viewed was Caroline in the City at 7:30. This show had no acts of violence in it at all. NBC should show this program at an earlier time slot as to allow less kids to see the more violent programs that were on before Caroline in the City came on. From 8 to 10 p.m. was the second half of the two-day showing of the Temptation’s story. Over the two-hour period there were about the same amount of violent acts as in Seinfeld. However this show was later then Seinfeld. So the acts of violence in this time frame might be seen be fewer people who are not mature enough to fully understand what is happening.
The violent acts shown during The Temptations included pushing and verbal threats to a wife, a suicide by a gunshot to the head, a car-jacking ending up in a shooting, and a punch to the face. These acts of violence were much more brutal and realistic then seen in the previous shows. Since the show was based on the true story of the Temptations, the acts of violence are believable. NBC did a good job depicting the violent acts during this program. However since kids were more likely to see the earlier shows the depiction of violence during the Temptations isn’t enough to say NBC’s overall depiction of violence is good.
During 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. NBC had numerous depictions of violence. They were often laughed off or very unrealistic. These depictions’s can leave bad impressions on certain people especially younger immature children who don’t know right from wrong. So NBC didn’t depict violence in a good manner. The question arises though, is it NBC’s job to depict violence the way it’s suppose to be or is the responsibility left to someone else? There are only two ways to get rid of the violent entertainment in our lives: we could shame those who make the violent movies, television shows, books, and plays, into having a social conscience, making them be less prone to creating violent entertainment; or we could simply solve the problem ourselves, with a push of a button, or the turn of a page.