Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Alternate Activity 3: Love in the Media

Activity time: 45 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • TV and DVD player or computer
  • A DVD or downloaded version of a TV sitcom episode
  • Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Think about your favorite TV sitcoms. At the center of most of their narratives is a storyline about love. It could be family love like The Simpsons, The Cosby Show or The George Lopez Show; the love among friends as in Friends and Living Single; or it could be romantic love as in How I Met Your Mother. Choose an episode that addresses an issue of love and either rent or download the episode as available. Make sure it is appropriate and interesting for youth.
  • Write reflection questions on newsprint and post.
  • Make sure that all of your technology is working.

Description of Activity

Participants will look at how love is portrayed in the mass media in the form of a TV sitcom. They compare that portrayal with their own experiences of love and how love is understood in a Unitarian Universalist faith context.

Explain that love is often a central theme in mass media, especially in TV sitcoms. Tell participants that you have picked one of your favorite TV sitcoms for the group to watch and analyze. Tell them a little bit about why you like this sitcom and why you think this episode fits the theme of love. Then, draw their attention to the reflection questions you have posted on newsprint. Ask them to consider these questions as they watch the show.

Show the sitcom episode, then lead a discussion with these reflection questions:

  • How is love presented in the sitcom episode? Is it family love, friend love, romantic love or some other type of love?
  • Is love presented in a positive or negative way? Is it consensual or exploitative?
  • How does the love presented in the show compare with your experience of love?
  • Is the love presented inclusive or exclusive? Does it have a wider purpose than the individuals involved?
  • How does the love presented in the sitcom compare to the kind of Unitarian Universalist love we have been discussing in this program?