Representation of Family in Television – Annotated Bibliography

To sum up the past 6 weeks or so it is imperative to consider which leads I have begun to follow, where they have led me, and where to from here. Please note, each link present in this post constitutes each of the 8 posts necessary for this assessment.

At first we saw the project best served by an adaption to a dual location comparison. By contrasting Hong Kong and Australia we believed we would be able to come across enough defining factors to gain an understanding of 1. the difference between the two cultures, 2. The effect Television has on this culture, these families and the way they interact and identify with their people and 3. how we can become more active viewers and in so doing, become more active in shaping the social mindset.

While we have not lost this basis, it wad made obvious to us that a study limited to these two locales would simply not cut it. Not only that, a lack of basing this study in history would not allow us to accurately map the now.

So we set about researching leads.

To start, what better place than I Love Lucy. This show is essentially the first popular sitcom, having been translated into 22 languages and shown in over 80 countries worldwide. Its humour is still relevant, and its quirky take on American life still serves a purpose in reaffirming positivity in the American existence. Yet the program still does pose questions of equal rights between men and women, and prompts us to ask whether such a show as this influenced the direction of TV to the gratuitous offerings we see before us today. More on that later.

Could we say I Love Lucy ignited that sense of voyeurism that undoubtedly informed the production of a show such as Sylvania Waters? And hence could be held responsible for a show such as Jersey Shore? I’d hesitate to actually back up either of these, however they do raise an important aspect of TV that is covered in the post ‘Media consumption and its affect on the good old days of TV viewing’; that of the changing ways of TV consumption and the affect this has had on family viewing habits, content produced and heterogeneity within the family.

This post also links into other contemporary examples of reality TV such as The Voice and the Producer vs. Character vs. Audience dilemma and further asks us to question the effect of content dispersion, Transmedia and Multi Channel services evident in shows such as Game of Thrones.

A question to come out of Media Consumption and its affect on the good old days of TV viewing is that of the influence Tv content has had on shaping the family, whereby I question whether TV has influenced families to the point that it has ‘influenced our understanding of ‘family’ through its representation of family and hence altered the way in which we identify accepted or normal practice with regard to family TV consumption’. Following up this theory I look at a few case studies of TV shows that represent family in contentious ways, and go on look at a location specific example of how TV might be used to enforce cultural and national identity.

Regardless, there are still many questions to be answered and much more research to be conducted. Not only is it necessary to decide where influence comes from with regard to Audience, Producer and Character, or at least chart a relationship that can be applied per genre or content, it is also necessary to contrast by country and consider ways in which TV has worked to benefit or hinder a nation.

In so doing, we hope to come across a greater understanding of the television landscape as it exists now.

Word count for 8 posts: 4255 words

Reality TV, you’ve been a bad boy

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Even in the cheesiest reality shows, there is an aspirational quality, a democratic quality, a quality that’s – yeah, I’ll say it -American. “American” in the sense that what is true of countries is true of TV genres: their worst traits are inseparable from their best ones.

James Poniewozik, TIME, Vol. 175, Issue 7

In the same A Current Affair report on Sylvania Waters mentioned in my post Man I Shouldn’t Have Done That, Noeline’s granddaughter, now 26, mentions the difference is that ‘now they’re all acting, back then we weren’t acting’. Fitting then, that in his article for TIME magazine James Poniewozik points out that ‘it’s commonsense branding’ that an ‘unknown 23-year-old from Long Island would come equipped with a tabloid-ready exclamatory nickname, like J. Lo or P. Diddy’ (Poniewozik, 2010).

He’s talking here about Jwoww, The Situation and Snooki, some of the drastically tanned and lowly educated guidos and guidettes of Jersey Shore. Poniewozik goes on to suggest ‘if you might be on a reality show, you may as well have a name that pops and precedes you like a well-positioned set of silicone implants’ (Poniewozik, 2010), not bad advice considering the aesthetic lack of anything natural existing on the bodies of these young specimens.

Which brings into question the change that has taken place since those unassuming days of Sylvania Waters. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, back then they thought they weren’t acting. They thought reality TV was just that, a look at reality. But how can we possibly look at the ‘camera-readiness’ (Poniewozik, 2010) of these Jersey-ites and not consider it a highly contrived performance?

Or if this is indeed how they live their lives, should we be questioning the intention of the producers in exploiting these clearly deranged subjects, just as Noeline suggests they did to her and her family back in the 90’s?

This question of Character influence vs. Content/Producers influence is also covered in my post on The Voice, in this case Poniewozik places importance on the former, but not without noting the latter as key in creating and conditioning these people. Whereby ‘the Jersey Shore-ites have never known a world in which hooking up drunk in a house paid for by a Viacom network was not an option’ (Poniewozik, 2010) so with a camera stuffed in their face and inhibitions firmly stuffed in their back pockets the show is set to roll.

It’s obvious this mindset is innately problematic. Not only does it highlight the drastic effect TV can have culturally, albeit to minorities, it positions the audience as a passive sponge that can’t help but be affected by the content getting pumped into their homes.

To quote Poniewozik once more, ‘In 1992, reality TV was a novelty. In 2000, it was a fad. In 2010, it’s a way of life.’ (Poniewozik, 2010)

A way of life. A contrived, fake, performative way of life.

If you trace the switch from sitcoms based on families to that of the friendship group brought about by Friends (see ), it’s not surprising reality TV took a similar turn.

Far from suggesting this representation of friends as family should be solely considered as informing real life families and their interaction with TV, it is clear that this popular shift needs to be considered and further explored if we are to truly understand the changes that have occurred in content, expectations and audience desires over the 20 years since Sylvania Waters.

Just as the public responded negatively upon the release of Sylvania Height’s, it is clear that when society sees something that is supposed to be a representation of themselves that they don’t like, they respond, and they respond quite verbally. It’s as if society knows the affect TV is having on them, the cultural influence it possesses, but most of the time chooses to let it do its work until shows such as Jersey Shore or Sylvania Waters insult their sensitivity. Are we really not passive, sponge viewers with a direct link from the TV to our brain? Do we simply buy into the fantasy of it all because it appeases our sense of entertainment, but as soon as it oversteps the line we denounce it as if we never liked it in the first place?

I’d like to end this post on another quote from Poniewozik as food for thought.

How, exactly, can reality TV mock its participants and celebrate them at the same time? In fact, the audience’s relation to reality shows is more complicated. People don’t watch Jersey Shore because they consider The Situation a role model. It’s entertaining because the show is basically satire, a pumped-up spoof of bigger-is-better American culture… But there are other American ideas that reality TV taps into: That everybody should have a shot. That sometimes being real is better than being polite. That no matter where you started out, you can hit it big, get lucky and reinvent yourself. In her own way, Jwoww is as American a character as the nobody Jay Gatsby heading east and changing his name.

Poniewozik, J 2010, ‘What’s Right With Reality TV’, Time, 175, 7, pp. 92-97, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 17 April 2013.

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I Love Lucy: A look at Family, TV and this iconic show

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I Love Lucy is stuck in my brain for some reason. When contemplating what case studies I could look at to tackle this idea of family and TV, I Love Lucy popped straight into my head.

Interesting, I think, considering I’ve never actually watched an episode. Nor have I really got any idea what its about. Which begs the question, why is this show so iconic? To the point that a guy in their 20’s born 4 decades post its release has its name in his memory? And considering how I’ve chosen this as a key case study for the early days of television, how did families back then relate to this show?

Watching the pilot you get this feel for Americana. Lucille and Ricky, along with the Mertzes, living in America and dealing with life with a smile. It’s understandable that it was such a success considering the enormous anxiety that undoubtedly fuelled the nation post World War II.

It’s interesting to note that in an exhibition curated by the Library of Congress entitled I Love Lucy: An American Legend, words are written to this effect ‘I Love Lucy initially centered on the relationship between bandleader Ricky (the “I” in I Love Lucy) and Lucy Ricardo and their friends, the Mertzes. However, it soon developed into the relationship between millions of American television viewers and their Monday-evening neighbors’. This kind of connection to the television is an aspect that one must consider when analysing the effect I Love Lucy had on a nation, and indeed worldwide considering ‘It has been dubbed into twenty-two languages and seen in eighty countries’.

The suggestion here is that the viewer connects with Lucy and her world as if it is a part of their own. As if Lucy is as much a real, … as their own neighbour. Such a suggestion ties directly into a query I had when posting about Francis L. F. Lee’s article from the Asian Journal of Communication – that of ‘are certain genres more likely to prompt a collective family viewing over others? And hence is the opposite true, with some genres pushing towards a more heterogeneous approach?’.

It would seem that this kind of wholehearted, warm, positive sitcom is widely received and to great applause. Which is is stark contrast content wise when compared to more recent reality TV examples of brash, crude, argumentative programs that seek to exploit the subjects it documents.

Regardless, why is it that I Know Lucy? Well in part it is due to the countless reruns that grace our television sets each week. So too, it’s through references in pop culture. In cartoons that deal with family (Family Guy for one, referencing Season 2, Episode 4: Job Switching where Lucy and Ethel going to work at the chocolate factory. Drake and Josh too), in Sesame Street.

If we are to consider this the essential starting point for content that is aimed at families, and about families, where have we come to now?

And also, who is Lucy? How does she compare to the women shown from similar times in contemporary popular shows such as Mad Men? In making such connections we hope to be able to chart the change in the relationship between families and each other, the way they watch TV, and the change in content as a result and also as an initiative of the companies creating it.

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Man I shouldn’t have done that.. From Sylvania Waters to Jersey Shore

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Sylvania Waters was the first reality show to ever be produced in Australia. Premiering in 1992 in conjunction with the BBC, the ABC traced 6 months in the life of Noeline Baker and Laurie Donaher of 42 Macintyre Crescent, Sydney.

Considering what we now know about reality TV – highlighting on traits as a way of creating characters that are easy to understand and pigeon hole, characters that perform for the camera, tireless arguments etc. – it’s a wonder Noeline and Laurie ever put their hand up for the gig.

Lo and behold in hindsight they regret this decision. In an article from The Times newspaper in London entitled ‘Australia’s televised truth is soapier than fiction’ that dates back to 1993, Noeline is quoted as publicly complaining that the show “‘defames’ Australia, when she had the idea it would ‘promote’ it” (Times, 2013). Bit of a tall ask considering it’s her life she is referring to as something that could be deemed a promotion of Australia but I’ll let that one slide given the 20 year hiatus.

The same article points out the audience reaction that one can only assume prompted the above statement from Noeline. To quote, ‘the audience saw it as an assault on Australian culture, and the hapless real-life Baker-Donahers were thrown on the defensive’. In another article from the same year and same newspaper, “Noeline hits back at Sylvania film makers; BBC’s Sylvania Waters”, a recollection of Noeline and Laurie flying to England to set the record straight suggests the pair felt ‘their lives were destroyed by a false portrait that depicted them as vulgar, racist, drunken materialists’, so much so that Noeline was ‘driven to the verge of suicide.’ (Fowler, 1993)

Now considering the aim of the Family and TV project, would it not be necessary to ask the following: if we are presented with content that doesn’t mirror our vision of ourselves, our family and our culture, is this content wrong? Does content need to be a proper representation of how we as a culture see ourselves in order for it to be succesful?

Well, if we take a look at representations of family and culture in other more contemporary examples of reality television it appears that this isn’t exactly the case. Take Jersey Shore for example.

So how effective is TV as a cultural influencer? And does a negative representation of our culture result in cringes and outcries from the public, or does it more reassure us that unlike those people up on the screen we aren’t that crazy?

After all, you can’t cater to everyone.

In another article from The Times from 1997 dealing with the same two subjects of Slyvania Waters, the author goes on to point out that ‘Not everyone is left with only bad memories.’ The example given that of Marc and Karen Adams-Jones in Desmond Wilcox’s 1986 documentary film ‘The Marriage’ (Midgley, 1997).

And as an A Current Affair report from July 23rd 2012 notes, this ‘warts and all look at an Australian family’ was watched by millions.

So where do we find ourselves today? What better place to look than The Voice, and Jersey Shore.

Truss, Lynn “Australia’s televised truth is soapier than fiction.” Times [London, England] 23 Apr. 1993: 3. Academic OneFile. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
Fowler, Rebecca “Noeline hits back at Sylvania film makers; BBC’s Sylvania Waters.” Sunday Times [London, England] 29 Aug. 1993: 3.Academic OneFile. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
Midgley, Carol “Regrets linger long after documentary makers have cried ‘Cut’.” The Times (London, England) March 14, 1997: 3. Academic OneFile. Gale. RMIT University Library. 17 Apr. 2013

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Vive La France: TV and Culture in France

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Does France manipulate TV to great effect?

I’ve got France on the brain. My brother is over there at the moment, as is a good friend, and having learnt French all through high school I’ve got this deep memory of just how ardently La Republique Française fights to maintain its image and culture.

So does this translate to TV?

In the past, the gouvernement Français has historically chosen to ban the burqa (Allen, 2010), could potentially be the 14th country to legalise gay marriage and oh, that bizarre thing called the foie gras controversy where ducks are fed more than they should be because ‘foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France’ (French rural code L654-27-1)

Unfortunately, it seems this sense of patriotism doesn’t translate to the screen. One of the most popular on French screens is “Des Chifres et Des Lettres’, basically ‘Numbers and Letters’ an analytical half hour game show that tests numeracy and literacy of its competitors. Instead, the French love US shows. A poll conducted by ‘Promise Consulting reveals that French tastes for regular television are overwhelmingly American.’ (Toot La France, 2012), with the most popular being Criminal Minds followed by The Mentalist and NCIS (CBS must love the French).

Given this evidence, should we be placing such a huge importance on content as is suggests in ‘Reality TV, you’ve been a bad boy‘ and ‘Contentious displays of family‘? Or rather should we be looking to the law makers and their influence as a direct impact on the content society chooses for its entertainment?

Food for thought.

Allen, Peter 2010 “France’s Senate backs National Assembly and bans women from wearing the burka in public”. Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers Ltd) Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1312016/Frances-Senate-bans-women-wearing-burka-public.html. [Accessed 16 April 2013]

2013 ‘New Zealand 13th country to adopt gay marriage, France could be 14th’ euronews, world news. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.euronews.com/2013/04/17/new-zealand-13th-country-to-adopt-gay-marriage-france-could-be-14th/. [Accessed 17 April 2013].

2012 ‘French Prefer US TV Series’’ Toot La France [Online] Available at: http://www.tootlafrance.ie/?p=1436 [Accessed 15 April 2013]

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Contentious displays of family

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Has TV influenced our understanding of family through its representation of family and hence altered the way in which we identify accepted or normal practice with regard to family TV consumption?

This quote is taken from the post ‘Media consumption and its affect on the good old days of TV viewing’ and is an ideal way to begin this post on representations of family in popular TV shows and the affect this may or may not have on its audience.

The first and most pertinent example to mind is that of Home and Away. Firass Dirani recently tackled this point in an interview and article for the Sydney Morning Herald, noting ‘When you walk down Sydney streets you see so many different cultures and so many different people. Our TVs haven’t reflected that yet.’ (Wilkinson, 2012)

And he’s not alone, in that same article, Jay Laga’aia is quoted in support, ‘hats off to you Firass Dirani, for a call to stop commercial network producers casting only white actors. Only on Australian screens. Shame!’ (Wilkinson, 2012)

Considering Francis L. F. Lee’s hypothesis that commercial television is more likely to positively engage a family type dynamic, is this not irresponsible content production?

Dirani suggests in another article from She Knows Australia ‘those people on Winners & Losers in their floral colours and their pastels. I don’t even know people like this. We need to watch ourselves, warts and all; flaws and all,’ (Blais, 2012) and it would seem necessary to add Packed to the Rafters and Neighbours to the mix, both also buying into a sense of racial tokenism.

In response we have Geoff Field from 2dayfm, who dips in with ‘maybe both men have a point, but I hope the industry TV isn’t racist, and compared to the top shows in the 70’s and 80’s like Number 96 and Prisoner it’s certainly moved on to reflect the changing face of Australia.’ (Field, 2013)

So are we getting a bit ahead of ourselves? Realistically, how influential are shows such as Neighbours or Home and Away on our sense of national identity?

It is apparent that these shows should be at the forefront of our minds. ‘Neighbours was first broadcast in Australia 18 years ago, has been running on BBC1 since 1988 and is currently on air in around 60 countries,’ (Deans, 2004) that’s Jason Deans writing for the Guardian in London back in 2004. The main reason of the article however, ‘after more than 4,000 episodes and 18 years on screen, Australian soap Neighbours has finally cracked America’ (Deans, 2004.

With such widespread reach as this surely we must consider how our shows are representing our culture. When we saw something we didn’t like in Sylvania Waters we revolted against it. So what is there to like about these shows? And why aren’t we doing anything about it?

Deans, Jason 2004 ‘Neighbours knocks on America’s Door’. The Guardian [Online] Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2004/mar/24/broadcasting. [Accessed 15 April 2013].

Field, Geoff 2013 ‘Is There A ‘White Australia’ Policy On TV?’. 2dayfm [Online] Available at: http://www.2dayfm.com.au/shows/geoff-field/blog/is-there-a-white-australia-policy-on-tv/. [Accessed 15 April 2013].

Blais, Nic 2012 ‘Claims Australian TV is racist’. She Knows Australia. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.sheknows.com.au/entertainment/articles/949925/claims-australian-tv-is-racist. [Accessed 13 April 2013].

Wilkinson, Georgia 2012 ‘Star hits out at Home and Away racism’ The Sydney Morning Herald Entertainment. [Online] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/star-hits-out-at-home-and-away-racism-20120216-1ta23.html. [Accessed 12 April 2013].

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Media Consumption and its affect on the good old days of Family Viewing

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We all remember sitting down as a family to watch a movie. Sitting in front of the Carols by Candlelight. Watching a Rerun of God knows what Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

But do families still do this?

In order to explore this idea this post will look at an article authored by Francis L. F. Lee entitled ‘The influence of family viewing preferences on television consumption in the era of multichannel services’, published in 2010 via the Asian Journal of Communication.

Lee approaches questions of family, perceptions of family, television viewing and the effect this has on content via the lense of a telephone survey. She initiially acknowledges the general perception that a ‘more individualized TV culture within the household’ now exists, and forefronts Multi Channel services as a key influencer in this change. However, by treating family as a variable to compare preferences and consumption, Lee differentiates pay TV and free to air TV in order to reposition family as a central aspect of TV viewing, rather than a subsection of it – arriving at the following two hypotheses and two research questions:

Free to Air TV

Hypothesis 1: Preference for family viewing relates positively to consumption and evaluation of conventional mass television broadcasting.

Hypothesis 2: Perceived family television preference heterogeneity relates negatively to consumption and evaluation of conventional mass television broadcasting.

Pay TV

Research Question 1: How does preference for family viewing relate to consumption and evaluation of multichannel television services?

Research Question 2: How does perceived family television preference heterogeneity relate to consumption and evaluation of multichannel television services?

Here Lee is referring to the contrast in viewing preferences of individuals within a family when using the term ‘television preference heterogeneity’ (Lee, 2010).

In so doing, Lee arrives at a very important notion. Whereby, ‘if it is simply a habit for a family to watch television together and the ‘togetherness’ itself is all the family members are concerned about, they may continue to watch television together regardless of whether the television contents are designed for family viewing’ (Lee, 2010).

Which prompts me to consider this analysis by a case by case approach. But then how can we gain a proper insight into how the viewing culture of families have changed? After all, Lee notes that it is not necessarily possible to differentiate the key motivating factor being that of Pay Tv or Free to Air considering ‘it remains possible for multichannel television to be consumed as a form of family entertainment’ given the above is also true.

Alas, we find ourselves at a cross roads. Undoubtedly, the options a family has to access TV have diversified. But as Lee shows, this does not necessarily signify a complete change of viewing habits. Hence I would like to put forth a couple research questions of my own:

Research Question 1: Has TV influenced our understanding of family through its representation of family and hence altered the way in which we identify accepted or normal practice with regard to family TV consumption?

Research Question 2: Are certain genres more likely to prompt a collective family viewing over others? And hence is the opposite true, with some genres pushing towards a more heterogeneous approach?

Lee, FF 2010, ‘The influence of family viewing preferences on television consumption in the era of multichannel services’, Asian Journal Of Communication, 20, 3, pp. 281-298, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 16 April 2013.

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The Influencer Box

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Game of Thrones is back. Back in a huge way. Dragons, Khaleesi, new characters and new problems. But what did HBO do over the break to keep us entertained? Well, in America at least they posted out a thing being called the Influencer Box.

Anna Kendrick's Influence Box

That one just there got sent to Anna Kendrick. Lucky gal. But why? As Myles McNutt notes in his post “A Box of Influence: Game of Thrones and Cultural Capital” on March 22nd, 8 days before the return of the series, “HBO is effectively spending thousands of dollars to send rich celebrities personalized gifts to promote a show that is already wildly successful and likely to run for many seasons”. Thus it seems silly as McNutt also notes, fans are beginning to question why a “celebrity’s” fandom is valued more highly than their own.

He goes on to suggests the reason lies in a lack of understanding. That is, a lack in comprehension of the real effect social media can have and thus and emphasis on brand building and immersion. To quote, “The Influencer Box was not simply designed to promote the process of watching Game of Thrones, but rather to promote the idea of engaging with Game of Thrones as though it were a part of your life.” (McNutt, 2013)

And here we begin to see a trend emerging quite rapidly in the media sphere. That of complete infiltration into our very being and interactivity.

Take Zeebox, Fango, The Walking Dead Story Sync or the True Blood Beverage, companies are attempting to capitalise on our ability to become engaged in drastic ways, and our tendency to interact with life across a multitude of screens and experiences.

So where does this leave the viewer? Will we begin to see parts of the TV show dispersed onto other mediums in order for a Transmedial presentation to be engaged? Will we cease to be able to simply watch a TV show or movie without feeling obliged to tweet about it with our House Sigil display picture only to proceed to rage multiple keyboard wars with other fanatics?

An initiative such as this one is a perfect example of the ‘more individualized TV culture within the household’ (Lee, 2010) that Lee acknowledges now exists.

McNutt, Myles 2013, ‘A Box of Influence: Game of Thrones and Cultural Capital’, Cultural Learnings, Blog. viewed 23rd March 2013.

Lee, L.F Francie 2010, ‘The influence of family viewing preferences on television consumption in the era of multichannel services’, Asian Journal Of Communication, 20, 3, pp. 281-298, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 16 April 2013.

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The Voice

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What I wish to discuss here is relatively contentious. It’s contentious because it’s a taboo topic, and it’s contentious because we all react emotionally towards it.

I’m speaking of course, of the tendency for The Voice to choose entrants who have been through hardship as their poster boys and girls for the show.

Now it is necessary for me to preface this with a disclaimer as I obviously realise the positive effects that a show such as this could have on the lives of a Rachael Leahcar or a Harrison Craig. So too, I admire them for their ability to front up to a national audience, and the hardship they have been through. But I wish to bring into the question the way the in which we as an audience react to these ‘feel good’ stories, and the way in which The Voice feeds them to us.

After all, are we not amazed and all warm and fuzzy inside because of our low expectations for these people who are deemed disabled? And hence, when they exceed our expectations we are delightfully surprised?

In this case, I am not sure whether we can hold the creators accountable for these actions. As producers and writers, they have deeply considered the desires and expectations of their audience, thus, the best way for this show to have an effect on the audience and hence be successful. After all, all shows create characters regardless of whether they are pitched as fact or fiction.

However, should we not question the motives of the producers to cast these entrants as remarkable and extraordinary by virtue of their disability?

Take the marketing for The Voice through Harrison Craig. Backed by emotive music and dramatic inter-titles the young man stutters through his explanation of how he has come to be there. It truly tears at your compassion and empathy. But how can we possibly sit there and remain passive to the blatant exploitation of Harrison’s speech impediment as a means of evoking an emotional reaction from us, the audience?

I do not dispute that his story is one of great strength, and indeed an inspiring one, but for The Voice to monetise his disability strikes me as morally unsound. The emphasis should be on ‘The Voice’ rather than the back story, and through the voice we should learn learn more of these people their story. Not the other way round.

Further from this, perhaps we need to consider our own reactions to Harrison and Rachael Leahcar.

Are we not submitting to an able-bodied hubris that makes us vulnerable to the poorly informed constructs of The Voice?

And how does a show such as this affect the family dynamic discussed in my post Media Consumption and its affect on the good old days of TV viewing?

I would think a show like this covers all bases. Going with Lee’s Hypothesis 1, that of ‘preference for family viewing relates positively to consumption and evaluation of conventional mass television broadcasting’ (Lee, 2010), one could extrapolate that a variety talent show like this would appeal to all heterogeneity existing in a family, to include Hypothesis 2. However this, of course, would not always be the case. So who exactly is the audience that desires for the emotional hooks The Voice wishes to drive in? And what kinds of families might actually sit down to watch such a program?

The show itself attempts to show supportive families and friends that accompany their progeny to the blind audition. They attempt to cover the back story of the contestant. But do these feigned attempts at content really constitute adequate representations of Australians? Is the appeal in the feel good euphoria we feel about our nation when we watch those who achieve having been through hardship? And lastly, what sort of message is this pumping into our homes?

After all, taking the example of Jersey Shore and James Poniewozik’s reading of how it has affected the characters of that show, will The Voice and its audience take a similar turn?

Lee, FF 2010, ‘The influence of family viewing preferences on television consumption in the era of multichannel services’, Asian Journal Of Communication, 20, 3, pp. 281-298, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 16 April 2013.

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