Type: Analysis
Pages: 2 | Words: 597
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

“I’m not a bad guy. I work hard and I love my kids, so why should I spend half of my Sunday hearing about how I’m going to hell?” says Homer Simpson, a host character in one of the America’s longest running animated sitcom series-The Simpsons. Just like the famed media critic Jeff MacGregor says:

It is Homer Simpson who drives the show”¦As a moving, ever expanding satire, he is at once the best and worst of American dadness. He is forever wanting the things he’ll never have, scheming to get them and failing, his appetites and disappointments as classic as the central conflicts from which all great theater and literature derives. (27)

Such a TV media can be used as a critical thinking model to offer students a wide variety of composition strategies such as describing, analyzing, comparing, and synthesizing (among others), texts; whether written, oral or visual. The rich rhetoric choices present in contemporary TV programs can be applied in equipping ENC students with handiness in evaluating their own writings (and readings), and developing confidence in confronting diverse composition tasks. Ultimately, they learn to write and interact with a wider scope of audience beyond the formal conventions of writing that written text largely tend to cover.

TV (for example, The Simpsons) offers great flexibility especially when it comes to criticizing elements of composition such as introduction, characterization and use of figurative language, among others. It also has a large potential in generating critical response to various issues that are passed through the programs; about family, race, class, nationality, religion, individuality, political ideologies, among others. In The Simpsons, the TV program explores around a day-to-day life of a middle-class family living in an American suburban. Through satire (which is dominant in the program), humor, themes, settings, voiceovers and its distinctive sequence styles, the writer is able to relate and learn critical thinking while composing texts and discourses.

While an instructor can come up with a model for the study of a contemporary media, in this case a TV program, he can bring together an array of rhetorical frameworks in style, pragmatics, text and discourse analysis strategies to interpret, criticize, discuss, comment and account the media. According to Paulo (24), a TV media writer and researcher, using TV episodes and film can act as a powerful analogy of what a student already know and what he need to know as a writer. He recommends using an elemental TV episode (like The Simpsons) in a classroom, (and filling in plot lines reading from “Rhetoric and Composition in Film”), and later ask the class to impose critical criteria on the media and discuss its composition strategies. Such a lesson establishes aesthetic as well as skills on a wider scope of text genres through which a student can dissect in composition. A gradual use of a selected TV show like The Simpsons can be used as a warm up strategy where the instructor brings in the basics to composition skills, engage students into questioning, discussing and commenting on the elements used, and finally writing a report in response to the stimulus. The writings can then be shared among the writers to view different analytical perspectives of the media. This will not only equip the writer with rich skills in rhetoric and composition, but also create enthusiasm in the same. (25)


The TV media has become an integral part of everyday communication, and students need to learn how to read, write, listen and speak to such audience. Therefore, a course of instruction designed to include such media can help a literal student achieve his goal valuably.

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