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Collective Identity lesson 6 - Inbetweeners

Applying Adorno, Althusser and Fiske to two episodes of the Inbetweeners
by

Rebecca Morris

on 24 May 2013

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Transcript of Collective Identity lesson 6 - Inbetweeners

The Inbetweeners
Lesson aims:
To understand the
representation
of characters in TV as
differently

constructed
than the news or film forms;
To
apply

theory
: Fiske, Adorno and Althusser;
To
examine
the relationship between tv
channels
and
audiences
.

Theory re-cap
Adorno
Producers guideline is for the
illusion
that the
outside

world
is the straightforward
continuation

of that
presented
on screen
- that real life is becoming indistinguishable.
Producers are producers of '
cultural commodities
' and their goal is
to make money
;
The products are used to
entertain the masses

and
to simultaneously
reinforce the dominant ideology
;
Their products are
formulaic
and repeat the same ideas and values
regardless of their form
.
Fiske:
Media Theorist: wrote extensively about television (fiction and non-fiction). We are going to
examine
some
new ideas

around television drama
Representation
in television drama is
different
to film and news
due to 'formal conventions
':
series, serials
- representation lives beyond the end of the episode, unlike film which has a finite ending;
The
camera focuses on individuals
: 2 and 3 shots show relationship between characters;
Plot development
- can take weeks/months/years;
Performance of actor
- naturalistic.
Idea 1:
Idea 2:
Our relationship

with the characters is 'unique'
compared to other media forms, due to this structure:
Constant repetition of character means
characters 'live' in similar time-scale to us
;
They have a
past, present and future
;
We
are invited to
relate to them
;
We therefore develop different relationships with the characters from that offered in flim.
Idea 4:
Polysemic reading:
Audience is diverse - with differing viewpoints - and so
how you read a representation in TV will depend on your own experience
.
TV offers many opportunities
to identify with certain other characters -
polysemic readings
.
The audience imagines how he/she would have behaved had they been in a character's shoes at particular moment;
The
viewer
is
less of a subject of the dominant ideology
and
more in control of the process of identification
through his/her own meanings.
Audience judge characters on how real they seem.
Production and Channel Identity
The
owner, producer and writer
of a TV programme will always
reinforce the values
and ideas
of the channel
that they work for.
The
representation
of young people in TV drama
will
therefore always
reflect
the
values
held by the
channel
about the specific collective group.
Reflective questions:
Which channel is most likely to
reinforce dominant ideology and why?
Is the way young people are represented in
TV drama the same on all channels?
Inbetweeners Contextual Information
Adorno
:
Tv
is a product
used to entertain
the
masses

and
to simultaneously
reinforce
dominant ideology
in society.
Fiske:

the
audience
for TV is
less of a subject

of the dominant ideology
and more in control
of
the process of identification through his/her own
reading.

Awarding-winning comedy about
four teenagers growing up in
suburbia
18 episodes
3 series
2008-2010
British Digital TV channel
Owned by Channel 4
Launched on 18th Jan 2001
E - stands for 'Entertainment'
Mainly aimed at lucrative 15-35
1.1% audience share
11th October 2010 - 3.7m viewers
Most successful broadcast ever on E4
Bwark
Produced by Bwark
Independent British production company
Let's watch a short clip of the writers
discussing the casting of the boys.
E4: Who's the audience?
Why might there be a secondary audience who
may enjoy watching programmes on E4?
What are the reasons why people might
want to watch The Inbetweeners?
Episode 3, series 1
Thorpe Park.
Using the handout, analyse the episode.
Be prepared to answer these questions at the end:
1. Where are the examples where the dominant ideology is reinforced in the episode?
2. Where are the examples where the dominant ideology is challenged in the episode?
Applying theory:
What stereotypical characteristics are present
that encourage the viewer to see the characters as real?
which formal conventions are used to help us to believe that what we see is real?
Episode 2, Series 3
The Gig and the Girlfriend
Using the grid, analyse the episode.
Do you think the events seemed realistic?
From your knowledge of the series: What aspects of the character's personalities are repeated in this episode from previous episodes?
Character Analysis
We are invited to see them as individuals despite
their shared characteristics;
This enables producers to target a wider audience -
there are more chances we will identify with one of
the characters;
Suggests that the representation is
complex
rather
than a simplistic process
Summary of the representation of young people in The Inbetweeners:
A variety of identities are represented through the 4
characters, using physical appearance of the actors
and stereotyped characteristics to tell us something
about each character;
This approach enables producers / writers to attract
a wider target audience - more characters to aid identification
Fiske argues that representations of characters
in TV is complex and depend upon the structure of
the programme, repetition, realism, the actor, stereotyped
characteristics, the social status & ideological values written
into the character.
He argues audiences will read characters depending on their own experience of young people. Audiences won't simply accept the dominant ideology but will instead, because they are polysemic, gain
pleasure even if they are not the intended target audience.
The process of identification with the representation of
individual and collective identities allow the audience to
negotiate their reading of the characters and they gain
pleasure in this whether they identify with them or not.
The programme offers a representation of the
collective identity of 16-18 year old students
Summary questions:
Is the representation of young people in the Inbetweeners positive or negative?
Think of three adjectives that describe their representation across the series.
Are there any similarities with the representation here of young people and those in the News and Shank?
Are there any differences with the representation here of young people and those in the News and Shank?
"If you like this, you probably weren't cool when you were younger".
Reading week work
Who can remember what they read?
Homework

First week back after Easter is a marking week in Media Studies so you won't have any MEDIA classes (all other classes will run)
You must complete your Key Assignment plus Identify three online 'texts' that you feel offer positive representations of young people.
Full transcript