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timer Asked: Oct 19th, 2018
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Question Description


  1. Create a list of both inner and outer conventions for the cop show and the medical drama. Each list should have a minimum of 10 conventions.
  2. Return to your list of conventions for cop shows and medical dramas and using the LEGO and salad metaphors, please envision 4 different versions of each genre that still use the same conventions, but play with syntax, scale and emphasis.

Topic 2

  1. Select a reality TV subgenere (other than competition/gameshow, e.g. cooking reality TV, domestic life reality TV [Real Housewives, Little Women of...], entrepreneurial [Shark Tank, The Profit] ) and then select 3 current series that fall under that subgenere. Screen an episode from each. Then compile a list of conventions that they share in common (minimum 5). Finally, explain how similar conventions are used differently in each show.
  2. In what ways in An American Family similar to and different from contemporary reality TV shows?
  3. Screen an episode of Top Chef (available on Netflix) and compose a response that identifies how the episode both normalizes self-governance and offers viewers schadenfreude. Are these two ideas interconnected?

Topic 3

  1. Are media franchises like Law & Order like McDonalds franchises? How are they similar? How are they different?

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Below are directions followed by each point question. Use this is direction and content for the post. Genres are designations that attempt to define and categorize groupings of content (from speech to cinema) through the identification of regularly occurring conventions (plot elements, character types, settings, props, film techniques, subject matters and themes) Any given genre subscribes to a set of conventions that, for the most part, have to show up or the audience will not recognize them as a part of that specific genre (though the forcefulness of their presence and how they are utilized can substantially differ). Both outer (structure) and inner (subject matter) conventions required. Outer = what we actually see; Inner = themes. Western: • • Outer: Cowboys; Indians; horses; cattle; guns; frontier towns; saloons; ranchers; etc. Inner: Good versus evil; manifest destiny; The struggle to bring civilization to the savage West; Struggles over maintaining one’s autonomy and freedom in the face of an encroaching civilization. EXAMPLE #1: DOMESTIC SITCOM GENRE CONVENTIONS: • • • • • • • • • • • • Laugh tracks. Three-point lighting. Shot on sound stage. White, middle-class, suburban nuclear families. Recurring settings (the home). Conflict generated through misunderstandings and generational differences. Happy endings. Amnesia and loopiness (the characters typically forget what happened in the previous episode and everything just restarts). Conspicuous consumption. Precocious children and Father typically knows best. Mothers never have trouble balancing work and home life. Home is haven from outside forces that usually provide conflict. EXAMPLE #2: NEWS PROGRAMMING GENRE CONVENTIONS: • • • Two anchors (often one man and one woman; often of two different races). Weather person. Sports person. • • • • • • • • • • • All dressed professionally. Anchors seated behind the anchor desk; weather person standing. Screens within screens. Recurring reporters and segments. Local -> national -> international segments. Crime, politics, economy, entertainment, human interest stories. Trustworthy and authoritative sounding anchor. Friendly banter between anchor, sportscaster, weather person. Direct address to camera. Impartial tone/claims to neutrality. Liveness. Create a list of bother inner and outer conventions for the cop show and the medical drama. E should have a minimum of 12 conventions. #2 According to Rick Altman, genres might be studied by analyzing the relationship between their semantic elements and their syntactical structures. • • Semantic elements = common traits (conventions) [think random words] – wide applicability w/out explanatory power. Syntactic structures = constitutive relationships between undesignated and variable placeholders (meaning-bearing structure) [think the arrangement of words into sentences through grammar]. We do not define a genre by its content alone, but rather by its syntax, by the rules governing the arrangement of said content. Meaning comes from the ways the semantic elements are arranged. Lets think of this in terms of Lego sets and salad recipes. EXAMPLE: Lego sets: each word below represents a block that you can build whatever you want to with. REARRANGE: water; resistance; group; machine; encounter; home; but; invented; human; aliens; search; scientists; from; sea; world; who; invade; small; level; the; in; of; a; of; have; a; that; prevents; rise. • • • Possibility #1: Aliens invade the human home world in search of water but encounter resistance from a small group of scientists who have invented a machine that prevents sea level rise. Possibility #2: Humans invent a machine in search of water but encounter resistance from a small group of alien scientists that rise from their leveled sea home world. Possibility #3: Water aliens resist science on their home world but encounter a small group of humans invent a machine that prevents sea level rise. The same conventions rearranged would create very different scenarios yet all still recognizable as "sci-fi." Or, Let’s make a salad: EXAMPLE: Salad: Your ingredients: Tomatoes, lettuce, onion, cucumber, olive oil, salt, lemon juice, blue cheese But how much of each should we put in the bowl? Scale and emphasis allow for play with conventions. How humanoid are the aliens? How different is the future? How big are the lasers? What scale is the intergalactic war? And what if you want a fruit salad? Return to your list of conventions for cop shows and medical dramas and using the LEGO and metaphors, please envision 4 different versions of each genre that still use the same conventi play with syntax, scale and emphasis. #3 Please make sure you have read Laurie Ouellette’s essay “Enterprising Selves: Reality Television and Human in Capital” in Making Media Work before reading this page. The television genre that has dominated since the late 1990s is “reality television.” The description is misleading, because many of the programs included under the moniker are highly unrealistic. Though there is some debate here, TV genres like news programming, sports programming, talk shows, game shows, and documentaries are generally not considered “reality TV” despite sharing some overlapping conventions. Reality television typically refers to unscripted television (though even this can be a fuzzy concept) that documents actual - if also highly contrived - events and usually features non-professional actors. Generic conventions include: frequent interviews with participants, with an emphasis on drama and personal conflict. There are many sub-genres of reality TV including self-improvement/makeover (The Biggest Loser, Supernanny), renovation (Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Pimp My Ride), social experiment (Wife Swap), legal/medical (Judge Judy, The First 48, Intervention), celebrity (The Kardashians, Real Housewives), and competition/gameshows (American Idol, The Apprentice). Competition-based reality show conventions often include a participant being eliminated every episode, a panel of judges, and the concept of immunity from elimination. Select a reality TV subgenere (other than competition/gameshow) and then select 3 current se fall under that subgenere. Screen an episode from each. Then compile a list of conventions th share in common (minimum 8). Finally, explain how similar conventions are used differently in show. #4 Several series and sub-genres dating back to the 1940s are seen as precursors to reality TV. Most notably talent, stunt, hidden camera, and prank programming like Candid Camera (1948-2004), Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (CBS, 1946-1958), Truth or Consequences (NBC, 1940-1988), and You Asked For It (Dumont/ABC 1950-1959). Also, home improvement shows like This Old House (PBS, 1979-) and legal shows like The People’s Court (1981-). In 1973, PBS aired the 12-part miniseries An American Family, which followed a year in the life of the Loud family. A small SCREEN: television icon Series was shot in Cinema Verite style. Bill and Pat Loud’s marital problems, which worsened under the constant scrutiny of the camera, led to their divorce midway through the filming of the series. A small television icon SCREEN: american-family-the-louds-split-up/ Lance Loud’s openly gay life was also a watershed moment for television, as the series became the first to deal with homosexuality in a way other than to present it as “a problem.” Craig Gilbert, executive producer, described the series as “about a land of plenty that produces mindless people, who talked all the time, but not about the things that were troubling them… In some ways, all American families resemble the Louds.” A small SCREEN: television icon In what ways in An American Family similar to and different from contemporary reality TV sho The creators of MTV’s The Real World (1992-) claim that the show was inspired by An American Family… … but a closer influence was likely the Dutch program Nummer 28 (1991), which followed the lives of seven strangers put together in a student house in Amsterdam for several months. Nummer 28 also pioneered many of the stylistic conventions that have since become standard in reality television shows, including interspersing of events on screen with after-the-fact "confessionals" recorded by cast members. In 1997, Swedish television introduced the series Expedition Robinson, a competition-based show about teams competing with one another on an isolated island location in the Baltic sea. The series is better known as Survivor, which was adapted for US television in 2000, and has also been adapted in numerous countries around the world: Many reality programs are parts of larger global franchises that adapt a format to different national markets. Indeed, many of the most popular US reality TV programs, like American Idol, Fear Factor, and Survivor were not initially created for US audiences. #5 Many reality TV shows celebrate multiculturalism and sexual difference. These shows can serve as spaces to promote “queerness,” or a celebration of non-normative attitudes, behaviors, identities. But reality TV also often commodifies “difference” and promotes new consumer and citizen norms. The thematic preoccupations with celebrity, talent, competition, and self-improvement that are found on many reality TV series tap into our current social climate. In an era defined by neoliberalism (i.e., the liberalization of market constraints and the outsourcing/radical reduction of social services in favor of private enterprise), citizens are increasingly asked to invest in discourses of self-branding and self-management as means of attaining resources for their success. Reality television programs starring lifestyle coaches and/or featuring competitions between unpaid creative and craft laborers are part of the process of normalizing the ethos of selfgovernance by repeatedly demonstrating how success and failure are matters of personal choice, creativity in the face of adversity, and the ability to "sell" one's brand to clients. Alternately, many reality TV shows provide a kind of schadenfreude for viewers, who take pleasure in seeing others humiliated on TV. Typically, those others correspond with groups identified as either super wealthy or super poor, appeasing middle-class anger and anxiety about wealth disparity. #6 David J. Schwartz (1959) identified the franchise as an agreement between stakeholders—a franchisor who develops the system and a franchisee who invests independently in that system: “[t]he franchisor advertises nationally. . . and in other ways attempts to create public recognition of the franchised outlets. The franchisee, following the merchandising and business procedures outlined by the franchisor, proceeds to operate his outlet as an independent establishment…to develop a ‘chain’ of independent business. In the ideal situation, the franchise system has the advantage of both the large and small business.” Are media franchises like Law & Order like McDonalds franchises? How are they similar? How are different? Media franchising proliferates from a logic of multiplied production, rather than multiplied distribution. One could define media franchising in the terms of products and intellectual properties extended in an ongoing fashion within the culture industries. Such a definition would include repeatedly reproduced or reinvented intellectual properties as James Bond, Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Law & Order, CSI, The Matrix, Pokémon, X-Men, Batman, Teen Wolf, Sex and the City, and Transformers. Media franchising as cooperative enterprise. Media franchising was understood to be a site of negotiation between distinct stakeholders, rather than an entirely perfected tool for top-down corporate control, calculability, efficiency, or predictability. Franchising “creates value” (branding) and allows for micro-marketing to differentiated consumers within the same franchise. Derek Johnson suggests the media franchises are purposely “overdesigned” so as to establish overarching rules that govern all franchise outposts (but are presented as rules nascent to the shared “world” they inhabit) These shared resources can include consistent references to characters, historical events, or places, shared political, economic, technological, religious, moral, and other cultural and social systems & hierarchies, shared aesthetic and linguistic principles, etc. Importantly, however, these rules must be flexible enough to allow each franchise outpost to expand, deepen, complicate and nuance aspects of the world’s mythology in order to be able to forge a unique identity. In other words, franchise overdesign is intended to enable as much as to constrain creative possibilities through focalization. Franchise outposts can also include shared extra-diegetic elements, like credit sequences, music, lighting & camera techniques that remind viewers of their relational affinity to one another. ...
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Tutor Answer

School: Cornell University


Surname 1
Student’s Name
Professor’s Name
Topic 1:
Question a.
Cops show
Cops shows are the police television dramas that depict their procedural work, the work of the
secret agents, private detectives and how they relate to the justice system.
Inner Conventions (Themes)
• The TV shows centers on vigilance
• Cops have a high level of intelligence
• Tactfulness
• Cops display rapid response to emergency situations
• The presenters are always alert
• Anchors show paramilitary precision
• Prompt response
• Actors induce hallucinations at inopportune times
• Parallels the experience of young women joining the profession
• Presenters show crime-solving techniques
• Use of science and technology
• The high evil of perseverance to thrive
Outer Conventions (What we actually See)

Surname 2

Participants always running

Participants always alert

All cops dressed in uniform

Labels and budges used to distinguish ranks

Radios call used to alert each other

Police vehicles with sirens

Use of guns and bullets

Stern and authoritative voice form the presenter

Always clear and audible word directed to the junior police

Uniformed and professional police display

Presenter looks at news anchor directly.

Medical drama shows
Inner convections

A good relationship between doctor, nurse, and other professional teams

Struggle to solve puzzling cases


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