110 point study plan – did you do any revision over Easter?1. Watch several episodes of the show so you get a feel for what is repeated and whatchanges2. Find out what you can about the two channels by looking at their schedules, theirchannel idents, how they promote themselves, and their websites3. Decides what you think the target audience is for that channel4. Look at the slot the programmes have been scheduled in and see; what else isscheduled in that slot on different nights; what is scheduled before and after theprogramme; what is scheduled on competing channels at the same time5. Discuss why you think the programme has been scheduled in that slot6. Look at the narrative pleasures of the programme – does if offer narrativeresolution (stories that end), identification with characters, rewards for the loyalviewer, etc.?7. Look at the media language pleasures of the programmes – does it offer fast pace,attractive actors, glossy style, appealing mise-en-scene, etc?8. Look at the form of comedy it offers – is it slapstick, characters comedy, blackcomedy, satire, verbal comedy, punch lines, etc.?9. Watch some more episodes of the comedy; this is a good idea in itself, but it alsoprovides a number 9, which leads on to …10. Number 10! Practise writing essays comparing the two programmes and alsowriting about one comedy in detailAnswer the following questions in your books, use full sentences (use example exam answer andPowerPoint to help:1. What sub-genre of comedy is Scrubs? What conventions does the show have to fit withthis particular sub-genre?Scrubs is a situation comedy, situation comedies can be identified through several commonconventions. Some of these conventions include the setting this can be the workplace orhome. Scrubs is set in Scared Heart a teaching hospital and every episode we follow the livesof the employees at the hospital. The series features fast-paced screenplay, slapstick, andsurreal vignettes presented mostly as the daydreams of the central character, Dr. John "J.D."Dorian. The humour comes from the limited number of characters and frequently in theform of conflict which typically gets resolved at the end of the episode – conforming to thecircular narrative structures that sitcoms have. For example2. What sub-genre of comedy is Have I Got News for You (HIGNFY)? What conventions doesthe show have to fit with this particular sub-genre?HIGNFYis a comedy panel game show, and like many other comedy panel games shows itfeatures two re-occurring team captains journalist IamHislop and comedian Paul Merton.Their respective teams change every week and are usually made up of guests who arepoliticians, journalists or comedians. Unlike other comedy panel game shows HIGNFY hasguest presenters every week. HIGNFY is filmed in front of a live studio audience and has arecognisable animated opening title sequence which usually features current world events.Every week it opens with the guest presenter announcing the week’s news in a satirical
2manner that can be compared with real TV news broadcasters. For example one guestpresenter Warrick Davis says “In the news this week… on Newsnight there’s furtherevidence of George Osbourne’s incompetence as he tries to do a piece to camera” this isthen followed by film footage a George Osbourne talking away from the camera, and thusmaking a mockery of him. The studio set up of the show can be said to conform to theconventions of a panel game show with the opposing teams facing each other, and dividedby the guest presenter/ judge’s desk. HIGNFY has a loose narrative in which playerscompete for points and the teams win or lose at the end, but this is far less important thanthe laughs generated along the way.The humour in HIGNFY comes, for example, fromattacking the stupidity of people and events in the news, the previously mentioned GeorgeOsbourne reference is an example of this.3. Who is the target audience for Scrubs? How does the content of the show appeal to thisparticular audience?The target audience for Scrubs are a young adult audience. The fast paced visual style of theshow appeals to this audience along with the fact that show main characters also fit thisdemographic and the inclusion of rock, pop and indie music would additionally appeal to ayoung adult audience.4. Who is the target audience for HIGNFY? How does the content of the show appeal to thisparticular audience?HIGNFY appeals to an older adult audience, especially those interested in the news andpolitical events. The content of the show would appeal to and audience who frequently readnewspapers and are in the know about current affairs. In addition the guest team players arepeople who would also fit into an older demographic and would appeal to the targetaudience; for example GylesBrandreth who was introduces as ‘president of the associationof British Scrabble players’ – Playing Scrabble is a past time associated with the oldergeneration.5. Scrubs is shown on E4, which is part of Channel 4, this means it has a niche audience, it’s acommercial channel and a non-PSB digital channel. What can E4 do that the BBC can’t?E4 is part of Channel 4 a non-PSB digital channel, this means that unlike the BBC it doesn’tneed to provide a public service. It can show any programmes that it thinks will attract anaudience, in any order. Whereas the BBC are duty bound to educate, inform and entertainthe whole British public.This means BBC1 programmes have to be popular, but have to havean extra quality - being very well made, having educational value or representing all thedifferent parts of Britain. But because E4 is part of a non-PSB broadcaster it can import lotsof cheap American programmes like Scrubs, E4 can show the same programme twice in astripped schedule (e.g. at 12.15 pm and 12.45 pm every day). The BBC has to show a lot oforiginal material and have a mixed schedule with different genre of programmes. E4 arecompeting with lots of different digital channels, so it needs to have a schedule that is easyfor the casual viewer to understand - so it strips programmes across the week.
36. HIGNFY is shown on BBC1, which is part of the BBC who appeals to a mass audience. Howis the BBC funded and how does this impact on its remit?The BBC is not funded by advertising like E4 and Channel 4 but by the licence fee, this is paidto them by the public. Due to this fact the BBC has the create a broadcast programmes for amass audience unlike E4 who just appeal to a niche audience. The BBC have to attract thefull range of the British audience (much of what was written for question 5 is also applicablehere)7. How does Scrubs and HIGNFY fit the remit/ brand image of the channels they arebroadcast on?E4 is a young channel and much like its parent channel it seeks to be more daring andexciting than its competitors. Much of their programmes are popular and entertaining butnot to mainstream. So a programme like Scrubs fits this brand image, although it fits typicalsitcom conventions the surreal daydream sequences are unique to that programme and thusdoesn’t allow it to become to mainstream.The main remit of the BBC is to educate, inform and entertain. HIGNFY through its content,guest presenters and regular team captains successfully does this. Ian Hisplop is a moralisticjournalist who has serious opinions about the news and Paul Merton provides the jokes. Thisgives the programme the opportunity to inform, as well as entertain.8. What pleasures (enjoyment) do the target audience get from watching Scrubs andHIGNFY? (You must reference specific examples)According to Blumler and Katz we choose to watch certain programmes because it satisfies aneed – we USE a programme to GRATIFY or please ourselves. The identified four main useand gratifications these includeEntertainment and diversion (taking you away from your own problems and yurownworld for a while – escapism)Surveillance and information (helping you to get knowledge about the world andhow it works)Personal Identity (comparing yourself to characters on the TV – what would you doin that situation? How would you behave?)Personal companionship (getting involved with the characters as if they are realwanting to find out what happens in their lives; also having something to talk aboutwith other people ‘did you see that last night?’ conversations)With Scrubs a narrative pleasure is provided we can follow the story as it unfolds but wehave that reassurance that everything will be resolved at the end. For example…We identifywith one or more of the characters - we feel for them and want the best for them, though inJDs case this can be spoiled by his obvious weaknesses and stupidity.Examples…There arecertain ‘in-jokes’ that can only be understood by loyal viewers, the comprehension of thesejokes is the reward for remaining loyal. For example, only viewers of the pilot episode knowwhy the Janitor is constantly playing practical jokes on JD.Scrubs offers a mix of serious andcomic storylines. We might sympathise with characters as well as laugh at them Example…
4HIGNFY fits into surveillance and information and to some extent personal identity. It gives aviewpoint on events in the news. This can add to the audiences sense of security broughtabout by the feeling that you know what is going on in the world and listening to otherpeoples opinions about these events. Have I Got News For You also has a track record inattacking the rich and powerful, such as top politicians and business people. Forexample…This satire, apart from being entertaining, may also help the poor and lesspowerful feel better about themselves.9. What time is Scrubs on and why?Scrubs is scheduled at 8.45am, 2pm and 2.30pm every day on weekdays. Saturday 2.05pm,2.45pm and 3.05pm, Sunday 9.05am and 9.35am.Scrubs is scheduled before the watershed,so has to be a programme that is suitable for children. It fits this requirement because,though it does contain some sexual content, it is not sexually explicit, or violent, and it doesnot contain excessive bad language. It is, however, a slick and reasonably adult comedy thatwould appeal to a teenage audience.10. What time is HIGNFY and why?HIGNFY is scheduled at 9pm on Fridays. It is repeated the next day. 9 pm is when BBC1schedules its showcase dramas and documentaries. This suggests that 9 pm is the premierslot on weekdays on BBC1.The slots before Have I Got News For You from 8 pm to 9 pm onBBC1 are filled with very mainstream programmes, such as Eastenders at 8 pm, and the slotafter Have I Got News For You is filled with a comedy - making the 9 till 10 slot on Fridaynights a regular comedy slot. This suggests that Have I Got News For You is being aimed at alarge, mainstream audience that likes to wind down to comedy at the end of the week. HaveI Got News For You is scheduled just after the watershed. This means it is allowed to featureadult content, which is important for a topical news show.11. In what ways are Scrubs and HIGNFY similar?Both programmes use verbal comedy.Both programmes deal with real-life issues.Both programmes have regular characters that become familiarto regular viewers.(Back up each of the above points with examples)