Monday, September 21, 2009

Media Images of the Family

I watched a fairly new TV drama called Lincoln Heights for the Media of Images of the Family assignment. It is about a middle class African American family and their daily trials and tribulations. Eddie Sutton is the father of the Sutton family, who is a police officer struggling to take care of his own. His wife, Jenn Sutton, is a nurse practitioner and a mother of three (Cassie, Lizzie and Tay). She comes from a privileged family. They are living in the neighborhood that Eddie grew up in, Lincoln Heights, which is not as nice as some of the places that Jenn is used to.
The episode I watched for the analysis was called “Home Again”. In the previous episode there was an earth quake and many of the people in the neighborhood, including the Suttons, lost their homes. Eddie Sutton’s paycheck and government assistance were not enough to help the family pay for a new place. Since Jenn comes from a family with prestige, she asks her father to help them get a new home. This causes “gender issues” because Eddie feels it is his role as a father and a man to take care of his family, and he doesn’t like that they needed his father-in-laws help. He accepts the help though because his family needs a place to live. Jenn also works double-shifts at the clinic to help save extra money for the family. She doesn’t get to spend as much time with her children and you can see the results of her not being around as much. Cassie gets into trouble with her boyfriend Charles, Lizzie is having a hard time adjusting to High School and Tay ends up finding an after school job (behind his parent’s back), because he feels his family needs the financial help. The hours Tay puts into work are causing him to lose sleep, and his school work is consequently falling behind.
Another issue that comes up a lot in the episode is the issue of race. The Sutton’s are an African American family, and they live in a pretty diverse neighborhood. Cassie is dating a white boy named Charles. Throughout the episode, there are many comments on Cassie and Charles being an interracial couple. Charles ends up getting in a fight with one boy who told Cassie he was going to, “knock the black off of her.” Jenn Sutton couldn’t believe in 2009 people were still worried about issues such as race.
I think Lincoln Heights portrays a pretty good view of a traditional family. It showed a pretty basic structure of family with a Dad, Mom, two daughters and a son. The episode showed how race, class and gender can affect day to day living for a family. It also depicted the relationship between family members, and problems they can have due to socioeconomic and other factors.

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