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"Themes and characters in television fiction reflect the society in which they are produced".

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Introduction

A/S Media Studies "Themes and characters in television fiction reflect the society in which they are produced" Refer to examples; including the two broadcast fiction texts we have studied to explore this statement. I agree that television fiction reflects the society in which they are produced, shown in the themes and characters in the programmes. It may not appear so on the surface, as in Eastenders, our society is not dominated by East London 'gangster types', nor as in father Ted, religious pillars of society are not typical targets for creating 'slapstick' humour. However to a certain extent, television fiction programmes do reflect the society they were produced in, primarily because if British people produce them, then British influences will come through in the themes and characters almost subconsciously when they are produced. The narratives of television fiction vary considerably from the realistic setting and storylines of Walford residents in Eastenders to the slightly 'life is like a joke' approach to narratives in Father Ted. Narrative satisfaction is very important in any television fiction programme, as it will keep the audience coming back for more. Storylines may not appear to be true reflections of society, but the messages and representations are to do with human emotion and reaction to events. We react in this way, as it is the particular 'norm' of society to do so. Narratives in soap opera such as Eastenders are often dramatic and far-fetched, but still to the point of plausibility. Creating a community of people that we feel familiar and comfortable with allows the fiction to continue. ...read more.

Middle

Owen dying in an explosion, however the aim of such a storyline is to show that people do get their 'just desserts'. Values and Ideologies of a society change over time, often quite considerably if a current affair is dominating the news. Therefore there have been such storylines in Eastenders to do with homosexuality and Aids, because these are issues that cause debate in society. A television fiction programme such as Eastenders or other Soap operas have to be quite sensitive in their approach to such issues, moral views cannot be enforced upon an audience and it is important that no bias or judgements occur. However the values and ideologies raised in sitcom are often very different. The very nature of sitcom allows for certain rules and boundaries to be broken, sitcom is all about having a laugh at the expense of another and making a comment on society in a critical way. Such as in Father Ted, showing how revenge can backfire on you, and that you should be satisfied with who and what you are. Also the topic is raised about the church being indecisive and weak, this is still quite a sensitive area as questions about the church are around in society, but generally there is this belief. 20 years ago this would not have been the case and a storyline such as this would never have been thought of nor even considered. Television Fiction has to adapt and change with the times, it has to adopt certain issues and reflect attitudes that are currently in our society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also there is a lot of intertextuality in Father Ted. The idea of a comical tone and aiming to make the audience laugh means the realism that could be created is changed, for example with the use of a blurred motion shot to show a dream. Dialogue differs depending on the television fiction; soap operas may include length one to ones about a topic, characters talking about trust and forgiveness for example. Whereas sitcom is often more about getting the audience to laugh with punchy brief statements and one-liners. Dialogue also reflects the degree that a television fiction programme reflects society, as it is interesting to note how a British sitcom like Father Ted differs to an American one like Friends. One-liners feature heavily in American sitcom whereas in British sitcom there is a lot of set up and pay off, being that a joke or funny situation may be set up at the beginning and resolved at the end, this could be a reflection of the British sense of humour! I believe it is correct to say that themes and characters in television fiction do reflect the society in which they are produced; obviously this statement is truer of some programmes more than it is of others. With all the television fiction programmes that there are, huge numbers of people watch them and keep on watching them and therefore they must feel something drawing them to watch it. I think that social issues are raised and discussed within television fiction, and also to some extent, new issues are provoked by television fiction. ...read more.

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