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Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class (2005)

Based on the forthcoming book by Pepi Leistyna, Class Dismissed navigates the steady stream of narrow working class representations from American television's beginnings to today's sitcoms,... See full summary »


Loretta Alper


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Credited cast:
Stanley Aranowitz Stanley Aranowitz ... Himself - Sociology, City University-New York
Edward Asner ... Narrator
Roseanne Barr ... Herself (archive footage) (as Roseanne)
George W. Bush ... Himself (archive footage)
Bill Cosby ... Himself (archive footage)
Arlene Davila Arlene Davila ... Herself - Anthropology, New York University
Ellen DeGeneres ... Herself (archive footage)
Susan Douglas Susan Douglas ... Herself - Communication Studies, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Barbara Ehrenreich Barbara Ehrenreich ... Herself - Author, Nickel & Dimed
Jeff Foxworthy ... Himself (archive footage)
Herman Gray Herman Gray ... Himself - Sociology, University of California-Santa Cruz
Bambi Haggins Bambi Haggins ... Herself - Film / Video Studies, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Lisa Henderson Lisa Henderson ... Herself - Department of Communication, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Robin D.G. Kelley Robin D.G. Kelley ... Himself - History, Columbia University (as Robin D. G. Kelley)
Pepi Leistyna Pepi Leistyna ... Himself - Applied Linguistics, University of Massachusetts-Boston


Based on the forthcoming book by Pepi Leistyna, Class Dismissed navigates the steady stream of narrow working class representations from American television's beginnings to today's sitcoms, reality shows, police dramas, and daytime talk shows. Featuring interviews with media analysts and cultural historians, this documentary examines the patterns inherent in TV's disturbing depictions of working class people as either clowns or social deviants - stereotypical portrayals that reinforce the myth of meritocracy. Class Dismissed breaks important new ground in exploring the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality intersect with class, offering a more complex reading of television's often one-dimensional representations. The video also links television portrayals to negative cultural attitudes and public policies that directly affect the lives of working class people. Featuring interviews with Stanley Aronowitz, (City University of New York); Nickel and Dimed author, Barbara Ehrenreich; ... Written by The Media Education Foundation

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Release Date:

31 August 2005 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

TV defines the working class
6 September 2017 | by bettycjungSee all my reviews

This is a must-see documentary for the documentary film student! Great coverage about how TV reflected the American working class, but at the same time defined how the working class is viewed by the American public. It probably also explains how TV served as a balm for the working class audience that saw themselves on screen and served as a how-to primer to become part of the American Middle Class (AKA American Dream).

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