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Social Scientific Research Question: Two and a Half Men

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Question 1. Develop a social scientific research question regarding mass media representations of families. Your research question should also incorporate issues of gender and/or class as it pertains to your topic. Your research question will also indicate which television show you will focus on: "Two and a Half Men."
Question 2. You will need to do a mini literature review of 4 academic journal articles (Canadian preferably) that discuss the issues related to your scientific research question.
Question 3. After reading your articles provide a BRIEF summation of each of the them. The four summaries should very briefly address what each article is generally about, what the author argues, and what author concludes.
Question 4. How can each of these articles help answer your research question? Use specific quotes from each of the articles to support your answer.

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Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task of analyzing the TV show 'Two and a half men' in terms of studying how mass media represents families. Questions in the original problem (see above) are explored and discussed). Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.

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TV Show Family Dysfunction Review

Title: Two & a Half Men
Genre: Sitcom
Creators: Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn
Year: Began in 2003, still ongoing
Stars: Charlie Sheen (up to season 8), John Cryer, Angus T. Jones and Ashton Kutcher (from season 9)
Company/Network: Tanenbaum Co. & Warner Bros. TV/ CBS

The show's plot is straightforward enough - Charlie Harper, a hedonistic freewheeling, non-committal and successful jingle writer who has, to his mind, an ideal life in Malibu, CA., had no choice but to open his home to his divorced brother Alan and his son Jake, whom Alan got custody of after his divorce. As 2 men living with a boy, with 2 very different views and responsibilities in life, chaos and hilarity ensue. The show enjoyed exceptionally high ratings and established Sheen, who plays Charlie Harper, as a key commercial success. But his issues with drugs in 2011 lead to a halt in the production of the hit TV show with Sheen getting fired and subsequently replaced by a Ashton Kutcher whose character, Walden Schmidt moves in with Alan & Jake, the father and son unit. Walden is trying to move on after his divorce while Alan and Jake are trying to move on with their lives after the 'death' of Charlie. Their once more hilarious chaos ensues and they become a dysfunctional but recognizable family unit.

Research Question

Quite apart from the troubles of the show and the obvious plot, what is directly touched on here is the unconventional family setting Charlie, Alan and Jake (and now Walden) have. They are not your typical family. Alan is a divorcee with a son; Charlie is an uncle who is addicted to women, sex and irresponsibility while Alan is an uptight and conservative guy. Walden is much the same with Charlie in many of his views and approach so quite easily; he replaces the 'killed off' character. In their home there is no sense of long-term continuity in the women presence in the household. The only constant are 3 - dysfunctional and neurotic Rose, Charlie's stalker/neighbour who becomes his obsession much later, Berta, Charlie's sharp-tounged housekeeper and Evelyn, their wealthy and conceited mother. I would like to focus on how such a setting affects the development of children. My research questions then are thus - "In cases where fathers get custody in a divorce, can the dysfunctional setting without the presence of a mother affect the child's development? In what ways?"


There are 4 studies that I ...

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  • MPhil/PhD (IP), Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • MA, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • Certificate, Geva Ulpan (via Universita Tel Aviv)
  • BA, University of the Philippines
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