Describe the ways in which different TV fictional narratives appeal to their audiences. Refer to specific examples in your answer. I am going to focus on different types of sitcoms and refer to examples. Firstly I will gather some background research from the internet – www. aber. ac. uk/media – then describe how different fictional narratives appeal to their audiences. I am also going to look at a soap and also one example of a programme which can be argued that it is a sitcom or a soap. There are three distinct types of sitcom: actcom for the action comedy, domcom for the domestic comedy, and dramedy for the dramatic comedy.
A very good example of an actcom is a very popular classic sitcom, “Only Fools & Horses”. This is a great comedy that appeals mainly to men and is considered a masculine orientated genre. This is because there is only one major ‘hero’ and this sitcom lacks romance and mainly features action and it identifiably relates to a typical man. It is referred to as a sitcom as there is no continuous storyline – each episode is on a different theme with a different storyline. Even though this is the case, each episode still relates to one thing, which is making money.
Although, sitcoms are usually filmed in a small number of locations, “Only Fools & Horses” is an exception to this theory as there are lots of different location shots. The majority of action occurs in the home (flat) of the main characters or in the local pub (Nag’s Head) but there are many more shots shown when ‘Del Boy’ and his younger brother ‘Rodney’ go off to work – or at least their idea of work. The theme of the sitcom is based on one main character ‘Del Boy’ who constantly defies the ‘tax man’ and attempts to earn a living from ‘flogging’ cheap, ‘knocked-off’ goods down the market stall.
He is a typical ‘wheeler-and-dealer’. This is where the comical side to the sitcom comes in as Del Boy is forever repeating his famous slogan, “This time next year we’ll be millionaires”. This quote often spoken by Del Boy is aimed at Rodney who appears to be more academically educated. He is considered a catalytical character, as he is the second in line to Del Boy and not particularly featured as much. Rodney is roped in to his brother’s plans and usually the one who gets lumbered with the worst jobs. These events are what allow the audience to gain continuous laughter.
‘Only Fools ; Horses’ appeals to the audience as they can empathise with the characters and it is very funny in the way Del Boy attempts to be rich and also the other characters have some input in the humour of the sitcom. The funny ‘lingo’ used increases comedy and the yellow robin-reliant with the initials T. I. T on also produce humour. It appeals to the audience as it is clear to see Del is living in a dream world and when in public Del tries to make others think he is very upper class but with the audience knowing his reality, it appears very funny.
The narrative structure seems the same as it is intended to be for all sitcoms. Each character does their job and then eventually something occurs, usually involving one of Del’s scams, resulting in two characters crossing wires, which increases comedy. The sitcom relates to Eaton’s theory of a psuedo family. Del acts as a mother to Rodney, Uncle Albert possesses the father role and Rodney acts as the kid. These characteristics appeal as this the type of role they have in work-based events and also at home. This increases the comedy.
Television soap operas are long-running serials concerned with everyday life. A good example of a soap opera is Eastenders. It is a BBC production and shown around 3-4 times a week. It is watched by a little under a third of the British population, by more women than men, and more by those in lower socio-economic groups. This idea of women watching more soaps is because women are attracted to programmes with lots of dialogue and not much action. The soap resists narrative closure which allows females to predict the likely outcomes and gossip with each other.
There is not one major hero as everybody is equal and over a long period of time each character is subjected to being involved in a main storyline or plot. The fact there is not one hero and not much action also puts the men off watching soaps. This also proves soaps are female orientated genres. The characters tend to be mainly working class. In addition to women, young characters and men are given strong roles, so that the potential audience is wide, but whether this true can be argued.
It features realism as it is about everyday life like most soaps. It is regarded as a ‘real slice of life’. Eastenders has also featured single-parent families, teenage pregnancy, prostitution, arranged marriages, attempted suicide, drug problems, alcoholics, marital bust-ups, sexism, urban deprivation, mental breakdown, disappearances, muggings, road accidents and suspected murders just like some of the more dramatic things that occur in everyday life somewhere in the world.
Also the fact Eastenders has featured crime also indicates a male audience could have been attracted. The programme has an informational or educational function for viewers, offering a discussion of topics of concern to them, but they are more concerned with raising questions than with offering answers. This is how Eastenders appeals to its audience. They must be doing something right as an average of 14million people tune in to each episode. Entertainment is seen as the main purpose.
The reason Eastenders features reality and what goes on in everyday life, attracts audiences as human beings are very nosey and have opinions and some people see it as real life rather than actually a TV programme about life. With this in mind, it is clear to see Eastenders is very appealing to its audience whether they be female, male or children. An example of a fictional TV narrative is a serial called, ‘Dream Team’. This is arguably a sitcom and/or a soap. It seems not to popular as it is shown at 8pm on a Sunday Night on Sky One.
This clearly intimates it is a more serious narrative that really does not include much comedy. It is shown once a week and is like a soap in the fact there is a continuing storyline and also cliffhangers at the conclusion of each episode. The programme is about a make-believe football team that act as a professional football club playing against real life teams. Dream Team does not have many location shots just like a typical sitcom and nearly all the main actions and events occur at the football stadium of ‘Harchester United’.
The targeted audience could arguably be debated. You would expect a TV narrative about a football club to be all male viewers. This is not the case. There are a lot of characters all of equal status as there is a number of different heroes at different times. Also there is a lot of romance and personal relationships occurring. Although the whole story is about the football team being successful, the majority of the events during each game are more suitable for female viewers. With this in mind I would say the viewers are of equal sex.