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Televisuality

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Autor:  neo_80  06 January 2010
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Words: 484   |   Pages: 2
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Although Ellis argues that “television consists of series and established formats” and has “become routinized,” Caldwell challenges that argument with the emergence of “televisuality.” Ellis states that the reason for television being routinized is because “watching television has become such a central part of everyday life” (276). More and more people are watching television because as Ellis states in his article, it becomes society’s security blanket for the audience and the entertainment industry. Routinized television is catching on like wild fires on a daily basis. It is clear that with the emergence of new channels and new shows every day, television is becoming without a doubt customized.
Because television consists of formatted elements, the audience is aware of how the show is played out. Games shows, soap operas, and sitcoms all consist of both routines and televisuality. Take Seinfeld, for example, Jerry’s living room is always the same and Kramer always comes through the door in the exact same way. The audience thrives on “knowing” what comes next. Televisuality puts on an emphasis on style and that is where the weird camera angles and different lighting setups come into play. In MTV’s The Real World, the houses are always elaborate and the camera angles never fail to be “in your face” and “real.” All of these shows have a very rigid structure and are clearly routinized.
Ellis says that routinisation has both advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that it brings certainties to the production process. Basically, it means that it consists of a basic “framework of common understandings” (Ellis 276). An example is the game show, Jeopardy, which everyone knows that since it is filmed in a studio that it will consist of a live audience and contestants.
Televisuality can be defined as the “highly excessive stylistic emergence of television techniques that have changed the look of television” (Caldwell 294). An example of highly stylized television could be Pee-wee’s Playhouse or Miami Vice. Both of these shows were highly stylized, but in very different ways. Pee-wee’s Playhouse had sets that were very wacky and consisted of many vibrant colors and odd shapes. Those things combined with the weird camera angles made for a very new and highly stylistic show, especially for kids. Miami Vice was different in some ways, but still had televisual elements. The show had very attractive actors, modern costumes and sets, and a variety of racy plots to keep the audience entertained. Most of the reality shows, dramas, and game shows all contain one or many elements of televisuality. Now that televisuality has been defined, realism is viewed as living life not as it is, but living life as it should be. Realism relies on common understandings and is centered around commodities.
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