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Discussion in 'Media studies' started by magic surf bus, Jan 16, 2011.
Representation of what?
I am going to use it to cover a few areas, Gender, Age, Issues there are a few boxes you can tick.
You could also look at the representation of youth offenders and what represents a super hero. The last series particularly was interesting for this with the dual role played by shy Simon. It opens up the representation of their powers and why some of them wanted to trade their old ones in for new ones. As you say, the representation of gender is an interesting one here as Nathan badly represents young men but is still a likeable and watchable character for the viewers - he adds the humour. You could also look at the representation of the fictional city it is filmed in as this is another focus for representation which is in reality shot in SE London.
Do you mind if ask something here - are you using it as a text because you perceive it to be currently popular with your students or because it's a stand-out text for studying representation?
I'm going to use it as a secondary case study in OCR A2 - Collective Identity (Youth), and for both reasons. It's popular with students and provides opportunities to explore stereotypes, Dyer's ideas about types versus novelistic characterisation, moral panics, audience identification and more besides. I can't say I particularly like the show, but the producers have managed to create characters that are (at times impossibly) raw and crude, while carrying real moments of tenderness and warmth - more so, I think, than in Skins. It's also interesting how the characters' powers clearly represent teenage anxieties or desires (as seen also in Heroes). My favourite scene was in the Christmas episode, when two characters who have never met play out an entire relationship through dialogue in about 45 seconds - touching and funny!
I used this for AQA AS Media Studies for the cross-media study and looked at the representation of teenagers. I'll see what resources I can dig out at school tomorrow.
Fair point in the context of representations of Youth. Their powers also reflect/contrast their specific personality traits: Simon is geeky and withdrawn so becomes invisible, Kelly's constantly mouthing off about others' motives and actions so becomes a mind reader, Alisha's power exaggerates her sexual allure, Curtis suffers guilt about drug abuse wrecking his athletics career so is able to change the past, and as most people find Nathan's crude egotism intensely irritating he becomes immortal.
For further source material reflecting on the superhuman condition a close study of Alan Moore's graphic novels is essential. 'Watchmen' is effectively the textbook that inspired all that followed, but there's also works like 'Top Ten' (how do you police a ghetto of costumed superheroes?) and 'Judgement Day' (how do you put a superhero on trial for murder?), amongst others.
Speaking personally I'd be a bit wary of using 'Misfits' given its pretty full on sexual content and boundary-pushing crudity. It might put you on the spot re safeguarding if parents latched onto it, or if parts of it offended any strongly-held cultural or religious principles. This is why I asked the question above. I think I'd need to able to justify its use as a text very clearly and specifically in case there was any adverse reaction from parents, and it found its way to senior management. My nightmare would be a college Principal questioning my judgement after receiving an irate phone call from an outraged parent who had very traditional values.
Then again I'm an old git, I don't work in post 16 so maybe the rules are different, and perhaps I'm being over-cautious here, I actually watch Misfits myself, but I did think the issue worthy of a mention.
I agree you with you here totally. I will be selective of the content and it would have to be relevant, but I think that it is important to explore cultural and religious principles and HOW they are represented in any media text, and not avoid them in case someone may be offended.
I would find this text innapropriate if I was to teach in secondary education.
Agreed! I only teach A Level and was responding in the context of Year 13 classes only - this is all 18 Certificate stuff. Even in that light I will be using extracts rather than the entire show - particularly as it's a Catholic school, I have yet to find a complete episode I can watch without blushing! Pretty much every student in the class knows the show well, so as a secondary case study it should serve us well.