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CTCS_191_Midterm_Study_Guide - Question 1 Background Info...

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Question 1 Background Info: According to Newcomb and Hirsch in, “Television as a Cultural Forum,” television’s ideological structure creates a multiplicity of meanings for the viewer through its ability to comment about relevant societal problems without coming to any distinct conclusions. Therefore, television allows the viewer to reach his or her own conclusions about the issues without taking any firm position. Indeed, the “rhetoric of television drama is a rhetoric of discussion…ideological problems can be balanced within the forum by others from a different perspective” (Newcomb and Hirsch). ` Both The Honeymooners and Roseanne portray differing modes of reception within their respective shows, that function to create alternate meanings. In The Honeymooners , the site of reception is the living quarters and the television soon becomes the central piece within it. Additionally, the husband cannot detach himself from the television set, missing work and sleep while paralyzed by its incessant flow. He positions everything necessary for living around him so that he does not have to move his eyes away from the television. Overall, this episode portrays television commenting on itself, revealing itself to be an addiction that is most clearly shown when the husband eventually begins to fight his neighbor over viewership..Also, The Honeymooners utilizes the subject of reception to derive meaning. Originally, the wife pleads for change in the household and wishes to purchase a television set. However, after the husband buys the set, she never gets a chance to watch it. Once the husband gets home from work he controls the television. It is a “viewing behavior…generated within the structure of domestic power relations” (Morley). The program is subtly commenting on the power relationship between husband and wife, using the television as merely an example of the male domination over the domestic housewife. Similarly, in Roseanne the television is also the central part of the living room and dominates the focus of the family. Also, the wife again pleads for change with regards to a television set. However, in this program, Roseanne is proposing that the family change their viewing habits in order to affect the Nielsen Ratings. Thus, the show is attempting to promote the television as a means for social change, contrasting with The Honeymooners , which placed it a primarily negative light . Also, Roseanne is the person in control of the television set, thereby opposing David Morley’s analysis of the power relations within the domestic sphere . A woman now controls the viewership within the household. Eventually, though, Roseanne’s family becomes subject to the same addictive flow as the couple in The Honeymooners , allowing the television to seclude them from the outside world.
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