Past Winners

Here we will post the past winners of The Analytical Couch Potato’s annual writing contest, The Larry L. Stewart Prize For Critical Essay On Entertainment.

2014:

1st Place: Hannah Rothman, for her piece “It’s Time to Let the Kids Play With Your Toys: The Lego Movie as an Endorsement of Fanworks
2nd Place: Saker Alexander, for his piece “Jem the Dog and Scout the Human: An Analysis of Similarities Regarding Growing Up, Change, and Childhood in Maycomb and Ooo
3rd Place: William Knight, for his piece “Tamer vs. Trainer: How The Digimon Anime Evolved While Pokémon Was Stuck At Level One
Honorable Mention: Lizy Newswanger, for her piece “Cloud Strife: Substitute Hero
Honorable Mention: Anna Mazin, for her piece “Analysis of an Archetype: Questioning the Perfection of Nancy Drew

2013: 

1st Place: Sara Goodwin, for her piece “Reading The Soundtrack: The Star Wars Soundtrack As Primer
2nd Place: Katrina Alexis Robinson, for her piece “Very Pinteresting: Does Pinterest Perpetuate Female Stereotypes?
3rd Place: Laura Walter, for her piece “Hey Adulthood! How Nickelodeon’s Hey Arnold! Trusted Us With The Real World
Honorable Mention: Benjamin Boruff, for his piece “Gender Roles And The Mass Effect Universe
Honorable Mention: K.L. Korte, for the piece “Life Imitating Art Imitating Life: The Thick Of It And Modern British Politics

2012: 

1st Place: Alex G. Jones, for his piece “In Defense of Pro Wrestling, or, Why Vince McMahon’s Employees Are the Best Actors to Never Be Nominated for a Tony Award
2nd Place: Elizabeth Maffetone, for her piece “The Question of Morality in Shadow of the Colossus
3rd Place: Saker Alexander, for his piece “Nostalgia and Reference in Homestuck: How it Contributes to Success
Honorable Mention: Fay Hughes, for her piece “Gul Macet to Legate Damar or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cardassians
Honorable Mention: Andy Tisdel, for his piece “Smith and Jones

 

For those interested in how we determined the winners, here is an approximation of what we look for in each essay:

-Structure: The article has a clear thesis, a well-articulated argument, and a beginning, middle, and end.
-Style: The article is written consistently in a style that is engaging and informal, yet scholarly and well-researched.
-Topic: The article’s topic is a movie, TV Show, or Video Game, or makes a case for why it fits into the ACP’s purview. If the topic is a recent pop culture sensation, timeliness is key. If the topic is older, it should note why this has earned a state of “classic” noteworthiness.
-Analysis: The article is, in fact, analytical, and not merely a review or a fan theory. The thesis of the article resounds beyond the work in question and says something about the genre, medium, or culture as a whole.
-Length: The article goes sufficiently in depth and summarizes material enough to be accessible without being overlong or cumbersome to read.
-Quality of writing: The article is easy and enjoyable to read and continues to be enjoyable for multiple re-readings. The article incorporates an appropriate amount of humor or levity for it’s subject.
-Validity: The arguments for the article’s viewpoint are valid and logically consistent, making sure all arguments contribute in a way that necessitates the thesis’ main point.