Background Information: ‘Blue Harvest’ is the hour-long premiere of the 6th season of animated comedy Family Guy Aired September 23rd 2007 Episode retells and parodies the 1977 blockbuster ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ The plot follows Peter Griffin retell the story as there is a power cut in their house Director Dominic Polcino Writer Alec Sulkin
Film Title reference Film title: Blue Harvest was a fake working title used to hide the production of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in 1982 and is a reference to this
Cultural Referencing One of the Star Destroyer’s has a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker referring to George Bush and Dick Cheney’s 2004 election campaign - John Fiske’s development of Barthes’ semic code could be applied here as the audience has cultural knowledge of American politics to decode this. Another is when Leia is captured by Darth Vader he asks her where she has hidden the death star plans, responding that it is in 1 of 20 briefcases – referring to Deal or No Deal. This example of bricolage complies with Levi Strauss’ concept that the ‘debris’ from other texts are constructed by substitution.
Luke breaks the ‘fourth wall’ when he introduces the London Symphony Orchestra and composer John Williams. This could be considered postmodern as it creates disjuncture and doesn’t follow the conventions of a modernist narrative. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O CrcDG5b86Q) This also creates an idea of hyperreality as the audience then make the connection of reality from fantasy which immediately strikes us as abrupt and unusual, and we become conscious that the cartoon isn’t real.
Mixture of Genres Obi-Wan sings a rendition of ‘(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life’ the title song from 1987 romance film Dirty Dancing in case he never sees Luke again. This mixture of genres, romance and comedy as well as the action of Star Wars, could be considered postmodernist as it deliberately plays with the meaning of the film.This could argue against JacquesDerrida’s proposal that texts cannotbe genre-less. In this case, themixture of genre goes against themodernist thinking that onlyconventional grand narrativesfeature genres of love, war, deathetc.This is also an example ofintertextuality as it makes directreference to the iconic film scene.This also breaks the boundaries oflimits in certain genres.
Lyotard’s Postmodernist Theory This introduction to the film complies with Lyotard’s Postmodernist theory, rejecting the “grand narratives” This rejects the idea that as history moves forward in time, so does humanity. This state of being in the episode has not progressed in time or moved backwards, suggesting that the narrative can go in any direction, supporting Lyotard’s theory.
Paraody Han Solo refers to himself as “Captain as the Millenium Falcon and the only actor who’s career isn’t destroyed by this movie.” when he meets Luke and Obi-Wan in the cantina. This form of self-reflexivity involves a component of self- consciousness which can be considered postmodern as even the character has become aware that the film is entirely fictional and even his role. This also applies cultural knowledge to the audience as it becomes a subjective thought about the real actors within the original movie and their own careers outside of that. Again, this creates an awareness of hyperreality as the audience know that it is a parody with the characters playing other characters from a different text.