Five Examples of Postmodernism in Television

Five Examples of Postmodernism in Television

Postmodernism is a complicated philosophical movement and it's influences can be found everywhere.
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What is Postmodernism?

Postmodernism is probably a word you’ve heard tossed around in conversation about paintings that look like plain blocks or movies you thought didn’t make any sens. However, you may not know the definition of postmodernism or where it comes from. Postmodernism is the ideological response to modernism, which can be defined as the rejection of traditional ideas about how the world works and how we can make sense of it. Before modernism, it was generally thought that everything could be explained through religion or science. Modernism was a rejection of this concept in the sense that many people became disillusioned with the idea that religion or science could be used to explain everything, believing instead that religion and faith were “holding back” progress for humanity. Modernism was the beginning of creating things for the sake of creating them and using them to explore oneself and humanity more thoroughly. Modernists generally believed that this was the best way to understand how the world works; you must truly understand yourself before you can understand humanity and the world around.

Postmodernism rejects this, and basically everything, in an extreme and sometimes nihilistic manner. Postmodernism says that everything is relative and constructed by political, social and historical perceptions, therefore nothing can be adequately explained by any sort of grand theory, idea, or meta-narratives. Postmodernism is often very self-referential and ironic. Often times, postmodernism can be used to critique the way certain things work or they way certain things are. Often times, however, postmodern works of literature or art may just be absurd for the sake of being absurd. Many, many television shows of the last 20 years or so adopt at least some form of postmodernism. Here are some fantastic examples of postmodernism in current television shows.

1. Bob’s Burgers

Bob’s Burgers is one of my personal favorites, and it constantly utilizes pop culture references to make the viewer feel like they are “smart” or “smarter” than those who don’t get the references. There are examples of this all throughout the series. In Season 3, Episode 2, it’s Halloween and Tina, Gene, and Louise are all dressed up and ready to go Trick-or-Treating. While the kids are getting ready to leave, Linda asks about everyone’s costumes. She sees Louise and says “Ooh, Wolverine! Scary!” and Louise says “I’m Edward Scissorhands.” Unless you’ve seen Edward Scissorhands and at least one X-Men movie or comic book, this joke won’t make any sense to you. On the opposite side, if you have seen or know of both of these references, you immediately feel rewarded for being “smart enough” to understand the joke. Also, if you’ve ever seen Bob’s Burgers, Bob always has a burger of the day. The burgers all have corny, dad-joke type of names. However, a lot of them also contain pop culture references. In Season 1, Episode 10, the burger of the day is the “Hit Me With Your Best Shallot Burger” which is obviously a reference to Pat Benatar's “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” In Season 1, Episode 12, the burger of the day is the “One Fish Two Fish Burger” which is a reference to the classic Dr. Seuss book.

2. Community

Community is another fantastic example of postmodernism within television shows. As the Idea Channel on YouTube has suggested, Community may even be a “Postmodern Masterpiece.” This show is littered with self-referential jokes, pastiches of countless film genres, and discussion of postmodern ideas within the episodes. There is a western episode, an apocalyptic episode, a love story episode, an action episode, etc. In the pilot for Community, Jeff Winger says “I discovered at a very early age that if I talk long enough, I could make anything right or wrong. So, either I’m God, or truth is relative.” A quote couldn’t be more postmodern than that.

3. Family Guy

Family Guy might be the King of pop culture references, and I think everyone knows that at this point. Every single episode contains some sort of flash reference where they make fun of a celebrity, an event, or something similar. In Season 3, Episode 3, a tobacco company buys the toy company that Peter works for. The tobacco company begins placing advertising into the children’s toys, and in one instance, they flash to an advertisement that uses the 1954 television show “Lassie” to jokingly show how companies place advertising in their products. In Season 5, Episode 14, Brian and his black roommate are watching television when the results of the OJ Simpson trial are released. Brian’s roommate is happy about the not guilty decision, while Brian is angry about the decision. Family Guy even occasionally references postmodern ideas outright, such is the case with Season 10, Episode 21, where Peter paints a picture of a family on a couch. However, instead of painting them as they are, he paints them with the two males as they are and the two females making out in their underwear. When the family gets angry about the painting, Peter says “I painted the truth. My truth.”

4. Ed, Edd, and Eddy

While Ed, Edd, and Eddy may not be current, it's still a phenomenal show with loads of postmodern tendencies. Characters on this show frequently break the Fourth Wall. For those who don't know, the “Fourth Wall” is an imaginary wall between the characters of a show or performance and the audience. One very recent example of this is Deadpool, which is a fantastic movie as well. The whole character of Deadpool is based on the idea that Deadpool knows he's a character in a fictional universe, and he loves pop culture references and talking to his audience. In Season 2, Episode 4, Eddy decides to create a show where the kids in the cul-de-sac can showcase their talents. He has them audition, and when Rolf comes to audition he says his piece is called “the dance of the hairless otter” to which Eddy responds “Next! There’s no budget for subtitles.” In Season 2, Episode 13, Edd says “I think I’ve lost ten pounds this season!”



5. Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is a very different example of postmodernism. In this series, as many of you probably already know, Walter White is a chemistry teacher at a high school, and he also works at a car wash. As a result of working at the car wash without proper safety precautions being taken, Walter ends up getting lung cancer. Also, his wife Skyler is pregnant with their second child. Walter doesn't make very much money and quickly realizes that the cancer is terminal and he isn't going to be able to leave enough money for his family to survive without him. His brother-in-law, Hank, is a DEA agent, and after seeing a meth bust on television, Walter asks to accompany Hank on one of their meth busts. Long story short, Walter ends up finding one of his former students, Jesse Pinkman, who also cooks meth, and they team up together to make the purest meth on the streets. Initially, Walter does this so he can make enough money to support his family after his death. However, as the show goes on, Walter slowly descends into wickedness. Without spoiling too much for anyone who might not have seen the show yet, Walter does some very, very awful things. He becomes coldhearted and cruel. Breaking Bad is truly one of the most fantastic television shows ever made, and I strongly recommend watching it if you haven't already. You'll love Walter in the beginning, and throughout, you'll slowly go from admiration for his strength and toughness, to disdain for the awful lengths he'll go to reach his goal, despite who it affects in the process.



These five television shows are just a handful of television shows that showcase the existence of postmodernism in television. The examples given are also only a handful compared to the amount of examples you'll find in each of these shows.

Cover Image Credit: Reddit

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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