AS EXAM: TV DRAMA

I have checked with the exams office.

You can pick up your pen as soon as the DVD starts (but have to put it down for the first viewing), so I suggest that you write down some of the key terms you are going to look out for when the DVD instructions from OCR are being given:

Editing: rhythm, selection of shots, order of shots, duration of shots; SFX; transitions

Camera: framing (central or peripheral); shot type; movement

Sound: sound bridge; contrapuntal sound; parallel sound; diegetic; non diegetic

Mise en scene: cultural codes; lighting; costume; setting

ANGRILI – audience, narrative, genre, representation, institution, language, ideology

Good luck 🙂

AS TV DRAMA CLASS ESSAY

CLASS ESSAY – DISABLED REPRESENTATION IN CASUALTY (BBC 1)

Disabled people are one of the most underrepresented groups on British TV, therefore for many media commentators it is a sign of progress when mainstream TV dramas such as Casualty feature them as central characters. However, when disabled people are featured, often lazy stereotypes are utilised which can have a very negative effect upon the audience.

In the sequence, the main focus is on Alex, who is in a wheelchair who is shopping with his brother. The mise en scene establishes Alex as a middle class man; his well-spoken voice, use of standard English and clean and neat appearance and brother who is a doctor all serve as cultural codes for the audience.

Initially, the sequence is a slightly alternative  representation of a disabled man because he is represented as an unlikable character because he is often rude to the shopkeeper and his brother. When asked by the shop assistant if he would “like to try one on”, the camera abruptly cuts to a high angled close up of him which highlights how weak, angry and upset he is particularly when he criticism his brother in a very blunt fashion. Moreover, the low angle over the shoulder shot which focuses on the shop assistant highlight her dislike of Alex. However, because he is disabled, the other characters don’t admonish him;  this therefore conforms to the stereotype of disabled people as victims and as a special case. Cutaways clearly indicate his brother’s hurt and disappointment and these anchor the preferred reading that Alex is unfair to his brother and that the audience should feel sympathy for him.

It could be also argued that Alex is demonised because he is stereotypically represented as a burden and someone who always needs help. In particular, the brother helps him empty his urine catheter which is made more unpleasant because the director chooses a close up (that lasts quite a long time) and prominent diegetic liquid sounds to demonstrate the yellow liquid being released into the toilet. The sequence has high levels of verisimilitude and it appears that the director chose to encourage the audience to be shocked and saddened by the life of Alex. This is very much in line with Paul Hunt’s research in 1991 which found that disabled people were not represented as normal, instead they were portrayed constantly with the medical model whereby the representation is always centred on the disability. This sequence also serves to represent the able bodied brother as somewhat of a saint because he helps his brother despite his rudeness and lack of gratitude.

Yet, the representation does change and the ideology of the final scene encourages audiences to see beyond Alex’s disability and understand that he is an intelligent and commanding man. Alex is shot from a low angle and takes control of the emergency situation. A medium close up of Alex helps focus the audience on what he is saying on the phone and to a bystander – he speaks clearly and issues instructions. A cutaway to his brother demonstrates his pride in seeing his brother triumph over adversity. The shots in this sequence are edited to last only a short period which accents the drama and excitement for the audience. It offers a real feel good factor because the two brothers are working together and Alex’s disability is not important when he is faced with a difficult situation.

To conclude, the extract represents disability in a safe and inoffensive manner. It perhaps does so because it is scheduled on BBC1 which has to adhere to the Royal Charter which stipulates that the institution should educate, inform and entertain a diverse audience. The representation of Alex is initially negative but becomes very positive by the end, thus it is quite a well-rounded representation and Alex is neither idealised nor demonised. For the target audience of Casualty, the representation will do little to challenge stereotypes but at least the final preferred reading is that disabled people are not entirely useless like many representations suggest.

AS Theory Plan of Action

Here is the full version with homeworks: Plan_of_action

LDV 12 Media Studies plan of action until May

Lesson number Content

 

Homework
1 Watch Toy Story III J Technology essay
2 Watch Toy Story III J  
3 Watch Toy Story III J Audience and Institutions quiz 3 x revision posters (over Xmas)
4 Marvel  
5 Marvel  
6 Marvel  
7 TV drama introduction  
8 TV drama introduction Representation summary
9 TV drama: gender 1  
10 TV drama: gender 2 Gender case study textual analysis
11 TV drama: ethnicity 1  
12 TV drama: ethnicity 2 Essay preparation
13 TV drama: timed exam practice 1: ethnicity  
14 TV drama: age 1 Age case study textual analysis
15 TV drama: age 2  
16 TV drama: sexuality 1  
17 TV drama: sexuality 2 Essay preparation
18 TV drama: timed exam practice 2: sexuality  
Lesson number Content

 

Homework
19 TV drama: class and status 1 Class and status case study textual analysis
20 TV drama: class and status 2  
21 TV drama: physical ability/disability 1  
22 TV drama: physical ability/disability 2 Essay preparation
23 TV drama: timed exam practice 3: disability  
24 TV drama: regions 1 Regions case study textual analysis
25 TV drama: regions 2  
26 REVISION: Audience and institutions revision 1 Prepare for mock
27 REVISION: Audience and institutions revision 2  
28 FULL MOCK  
29 FULL MOCK  
30 Mock feedback; targets; filling the gaps  

 

MAY: REVISION AND EXAM J

 

Writing AS TV drama and Audience and Institution introductions

I suggest that you try and cover the following in your introduction for TV drama:

– Is there a sub genre?

– What channel did the programme appear on and how might this affect the representation?

– Who is the primary target audience and why might it affect the representation?

The Wire is a hard hitting and gritty TV drama which is yet another example of HBO’s commitment to producing high quality, complex and character led programmes. Demographically, the programme is likely to primarily appeal to young to middle aged men who enjoy multi layered narrative threads, crime and social realism. 

I suggest that you try and cover the following in your introduction for audiences and institutions:

– Define any key words

– Link this your case study, DIsney (Pixar and Marvel)

– Locate any point/s for discussion

The production and distribution of Disney films have changed significantly in the last few decades. New technologies have had a huge impact upon all aspects of the film industry and consequently, Disney has had to evolve dramatically in order to remain relevant to ever more demanding audiences. In particular, Disney’s relationship with Pixar and Marvel has really galvanised the institution and helped cement its place as one the world’s media powerhouses. 

Gender Ideology in TV and Film

This is what gender ideology looks like:

3

That’s The Walking Dead’s Rosita Espinosa with newly shaven armpits.

This is also gender ideology at work: the privileging of an idea of gender over real life or, in this case, realism.

The Walking Dead’s producers go to great lengths to portray what a zombie apocalypse might be like. They are especially keen to show us the nasty bits: what it really looks like when dead people don’t die, what it looks like to kill the undead, and the evil it spawns in those left alive. It’s gruesome. The show is a gore orgy. But armpit hair on women? Apparently that’s just gross.

If gender ideology had lost this battle with realism, we’d see armpit hair on the women in Gilligan’s Island, Planet of the ApesThe Blue Lagoon, Beauty and the BeastWaterworld, Lost, and The Hunger Games – but we don’t. (Thanks to Ariane Lange at Buzzfeed for the whole collection and to @uheartdanny for the link.)

At least Rosita could conceivably have a razor. How do women supposedly shave their armpits on deserted islands? Did the Beast slip Belle a razor, you know, just as part of his controlling personality? And maybe some persnickety women would continue to shave even if they were lost in purgatory, but Riley in Alien? Come on.

1b

Our interest in realism only goes so far. Armpit hair on women is apparently one of its limits.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.