Archive for the ‘television’ Category

#6 – Glee bringing sexy back

March 12, 2011 14 comments

Recently, the sensational American hit series Glee featured the topic of sex and homosexuality in their latest episode, much to the dismay of The Parents Television Council (article here). Sexy, aired on March 8 featured the guest appearance of Gwyneth Paltrow (episode trailer here).

Firstly, the Parents Television Council is unhappy with Gwyneth’s character as a teacher, who rips her shirt with her students while dancing to ‘Do You Wanna Touch Me’. Next, the show mocked the celibacy club, defining it as a place only for nerds. Abstinence was deemed as un-cool in this school.

Lastly, they were also disturbed with the discussion of sex tapes. “Most notably was the discussion between a couple of students about wanting to become famous by making a sex tape,” said Isett, referring to Puckerman (Mark Salling) and Lauren Zizes (Ashley Fink) — who decided not to make a tape after Paltrow’s sub teacher, Holly Holliday, informed them it would be child pornography because they’re under 18. “Exactly what kind of message is that?”

Aside from those scenes, I noticed 2 more scenes from the episode that were not deemed as appalling. One of which is when Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris) were figuring out if they had feelings for each other, highlighting the issue of homosexuality (lesbian in this case). Another is when, “Kurt Hummel’s (Chris Colfer) father responsibly explained sex and the ramifications.”

Based on that episode, I observed the presence of cultural imperialism. USA is dominant in the exportation of their mass media products to all over the world. This includes their television series, which has a huge following and fan base worldwide.

Cultural imperialism is the one-way flow of international messages or media products that led to the dispute over cultural dominance. It brings about the messages of imperialism and ideological propaganda. One of the concerns is that it causes real damage through disruption of basic social and cultural institutions.

It seems that the USA is more receptive towards the exploration of homosexuality issues on television along with the ‘sex talk’. I observed cultural imperialism in place, where it is fine to talk about sex and homosexuality openly. Comparing the cultures of the West and East, the East prefers to discuss the issue in discreet. Are we supposed to accept this idea that contradicts with the Asian culture?

Then in this case, is cultural imperialism good or bad? Good in the sense that it is an outreach and opening our minds to touch on the taboo topic in the Asian culture or bad in the sense that we are merely accepting the ideas the West impose on us through the shows?

From my point of view, cultural imperialism need not necessarily be bad. I think the television programmes acts as a powerful tool that can help us learn about foreign culture but due to its ability to shape’s one mind, it can also be a harmful tool that cause us to merely follow what is seen. I do not think that we can resist cultural imperialism. All we can do is to stay open minded yet hold on to the values of our society.

What do you think about cultural imperialism? What are some of the shows in which you observe cultural imperialism?


#4 – Interacting with the Bachelor

February 27, 2011 14 comments

The best show to observe interpersonal communication (two-person, face-to-face interaction) would be the reality show The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. This reality game show revolves around a bachelor (or bachelorette) surrounded by a pool or love interest. Ultimately, the show aims to pair up the single man (or lady) with one of the contestants, who successfully managed to woo him (or her) and escape being eliminated.

In order to pursue the bachelor the contestants have to go through the first contact to a richer interpersonal communication, through engagement. Take a look at the video from the latest season (season 15) of the Bachelor.

Human form relationships based on various reasons; one can become friends with another due to similarities or proximity. Similarly, relationships can be formed based on various reasons. In the video above, the contestants are trying to form a relationship with Brad Womack through highlighting exchange, and reciprocity and liking.

Exchange is when relationships are formed based on perceptions of the costs and rewards of the relationship. Here, the relational benefits play a role in forming a relationship. As seen in the video (between 44s-47s), one of the contestant is using, in this case, the disadvantage Brad would encounter by being with another contestant. The statement, “If you end up with Chantal, it will be a huge mistake,” shows that Brad would have more to gain by being with her.

Reciprocity and liking, is the tendency to form relationships with those who reciprocate our communication. This is crucial at the developmental stage where it serves as self-disclosure. In this video, this can be seen when one of the contestants confessed to Brad that she has indeed fallen in love with him (between 48s-51s). Later in the video, Brad then reciprocate the mutual feelings (between 1m12s to 1m17s).

I think these factors are crucial to the formation of relationship especially on this show. Given the nature of the show where 10 girls fight it out to win Brad’s heart, it is only understandable that one would go to extreme ways to form relationships such as exchange. However, the game would eventually change when several girls are eliminated leaving a smaller group of 3 or 4 girls in the competition. At this stage, relationship maintenance would then play a bigger role for Brad to see if the candidates of girls he narrowed down are suitable for him. Factors such as self-disclosure (sharing of information about self that other person in unlikely to know), conflict and relational needs help Brad decide his ‘ideal’ girl.

As much as I detest the Bachelor, somehow I could not stop myself from following this show occasionally. So which stage do you think requires more effort, forming a relationship or maintaining one?