Music and Movies / In Your Chosen Two Television Programmes, Discuss The Extent To Which Situation Comedy Is Dependent On Stereotypical Representations Of Gender.

In Your Chosen Two Television Programmes, Discuss The Extent To Which Situation Comedy Is Dependent On Stereotypical Representations Of Gender.

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Autor:  anton  24 September 2010
Tags:  Chosen,  Television,  Programmes,  Discuss
Words: 1073   |   Pages: 5
Views: 438

Stereotypical representations, what does this mean? Well a stereotype is “an inflexible and simplified representation of individuals based on generalisations about a particular social group”; a representation is “the process by which a media text represents an idea, issue or event to us”. So a stereotypical representation is a representation of an individual based on generalisations about a particular social group.

So in which ways are situation comedy dependent on stereotypical representations? Well over time stereotypes or stop characters have been used to break up tension with in the comedy or to help change scene. As main characters are not stereotypes (as they are too complex) they are not used for this, but they do maintain some stereotypical elements. Stereotypes give us the chance to laugh at our self’s or even recognisable groups in society. As stereotypes are generalisations of individuals this means that common factors of individuals are used and exaggerated and displayed with in the media or in this case on the TV set. When we see this it then becomes recognisable with in others we know or ourselves. So the ability to recognise these brings a smile upon our faces.

For the first of my two chosen television programmes, which is Men behaving badly series 5, episode 2 “The good pub guide”. In this sit-com there are four main characters, Dorothy, Debs, Gary and Tony.

The two guys in this situation comedy have what’s known as “masculine characteristics”, example, lack of emotional awareness, immaturity. This is also proven by Gary’s response to Dorothy’s disgust openly farting in bed, “its what men do”.

The two girls in this situation comedy are what we know as typical female qualities such as; forgiving, understanding and mature. This gives a balance of the “stereotypical ideas”.

The men are stupid, juvenile, fart a lot, always talking about females, and female forms, drinking beer, over all a extreme exaggeration of a “typical male”, on the other hand we have the females, both have jobs thus independent, rather intelligent etc. having these two opposite, and this rather odd match gives us the view of a comical relation. This is because of the two completely different personalities qualities. It makes the audience question what such an intelligent, independent female would be doing with such a selfish dependent male. For this exact reason the audience find this amusing because of the strange set up and the gender stereotypical exaggerations. The situation comedy depends on our experience or knowledge of these two individual personalities being together being strange. If it wasn’t for these stereotypical representations would the audience find this set up unusual or comical?

In my chosen episode the opening scene is the couple (Dorothy and Gary) in bed sharing differences of opinion upon “proper behaviour”. In this scene both these characters show their gender stereotypes. This is also shown by the mise en scene. The conflict of the couple is found amusing because of their clash of opinion, which is sourced by their gender tendencies (masculine and feminine characteristics). With out this the conflict or argument of each person would be as amusing or make a good enough comedy.

My other chosen TV situation comedy is absolutely fabulous, series 4, episode 3; “small opening”. There are three main characters, Edina, patsy and Saffron. All of which are females, which is rare with in situation comedy. How ever there is a balance of gender.

The set up again is unusual but this time is not in the form of a partner relationship but in a family relationship.

The sit-com is based upon a middle class family living in London where the income is made through fashion supplied by the mother (Edina). The stereotype of a middle class individual living in a city is well know to our audience and is the base of our unusual set up.

Edina has a few different sides but over all is a stereotypical female. Patsy on the other hand plays a masculine role. Which becomes more obvious towards the end of the episode, where Edina’s mother asks for a “strong pair of arms” and turns to patsy. One of the stereotypical factors of a male, is strength, so by asking patsy to help out with a heavy chore (“a mans job”) is the way in which the writer shows this to the audience. Another way in which the writer shows this is by Patsy’s appearance. She appears a little like a male with the help of her over dress and lighting, like a drag queen (a mix of male and female), which is exactly what she is.

The upbringing of saffron has made her become completely different to Edina (her mother). This set up is so extreme and hard to believe, as a mother Edina is most inappropriate and unsuitable. The combination of motherhood and career woman in a fashion industry along with the life style that involves seems a complete miss-match and a very unlikely combination, so the result of this is amusing.

Saffron is a motherly figure and dresses older than she really is. Edina acts like a kid and dresses in all the “latest fashions” as if she is still a kid.

The roles of the family are heavily played upon in the sit-com. The result of this middle class upbringing and Edina’s life style (heavy use of drugs and alcohol) has made Saffy what she is.

A lot through the series there are many scenes of Saffy telling off or warning eddy and patsy. A good example of this is in my chosen episode, it’s a flash back of Saffy when she was young. Patsy (father figure) and Edina (mother) take her to the park; Saffy stands and watches the two of them while they investigate the new environment (park/play area). Whilst patsy is investigating the play area Saffy warns patsy of the dangers of a returning swing. This set would usually consist of a mother telling her young child to be aware of the usual laws of tension (the return of a swinging swing). Her role of a mother figure is unusual which is what makes this set up unusual.

Patsy goes against a typical female gender. In this case she is a masculine character. This goes against the usual roles of gender in sitcom. In some ways a female character playing the part of a fatherly figure gives a whole new view upon women in society.



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