Monday, February 28, 2011

Two Days in February

Some retro goo. One of my favourite songs by them.
Everything's wrong, well it's alright.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Laws of Popular Culture

1. What do the title sequence and the opening music tell you about the show?

The title sequence of Entertainment Tonight is very short and flashy, which says that the show will be fast-paced and go through a variety of topics. The bright colours used - sparkling gold and silver - mean that the show is glamourous and very well known or famous. I think the opening music is probably the most important part of the intro because it sets the tone for the mood of the show. The song is upbeat and light, which matches the show's speed and feeling. Also, the theme song of Entertainment Tonight is very catchy, which makes viewers remember the show since it will likely be stuck in your head for the next couple hours! In the video below, you can see the opening for the show from 1982. There have been many changes - even though the song is the same, it has been extremely sped up, as well as the fact that the intro is much longer compared to the current one - which mirror today's media hungry society who want their information quick and right away.

2. What messages are being passed to the viewers by the appearance, body language, and style of the host and hostess?

The hosts, Mary Hart and Mark Steines, were wearing very formal, elegant, and expensive looking clothes, complete with perfect hair and make-up. This plays on the idea that the show is very glamourous. By having the hosts look so well put together, we feel as though they are higher class than us and that we should look up to them and trust them. Also, by wearing these types of clothes, it makes the hosts look like celebrities and lead us to feel that since they are famous, they must really know all the Hollywood secrets because they fit in with that environment. When they were standing and delivering the entertainment news, they appeared very confident, in model-like poses, and used a lot of hand gestures. This makes them seem very knowledgeable about the information, and makes the news they are telling seem very serious and realistic.

3. a) List the topics and items the show deals with. Can you catergorize them?

-Jennifer Lopez's breakdown on American Idol - celebrity drama
-Michael Jackson's kids going into acting - celebrity news
-Charlie Sheen's latest drama with women - celebrity drama
-Justin Bieber's surprising new haircut - celebrity appearances/images & makeovers
-Oscar countdown, interviewing hosts & presenters - upcoming events in Hollywood

3. b) What is the average length of an item? Can you account for this?

The average length that each segment lasted for was around 2 -3 minutes. The items they previewed at the beginning of the show very all shown, but they made it seem like it was going to be a huge story, and then only talked about it for a couple minutes. The stories were not very informative, but by repeatedly saying what they were going to tell you after the commerical, they kept my interest. By going through each topic quickly, the viewers will not get bored and change the channel, which is what Entertainment Tonight wants.
4. a) List the commercials products adverstised.

-Tim Hortons
-Honda Accord
-Walmart (busy mom deals!)
-Dairy Queen
-Sears (bras and tampons on sale!)
-Stay Free Pads

4. b) What does this tell you about the intended or target audience?

The commercials that played during Entertainment Tonight were mainly targeted to young and middle aged women, advertising products like bras, moisturizers, pads, and department stores. Since these commercials appeal to that age/gender group, that is likely the intended audience for the show. However, there were two or three commercials for cars, which were directed towards men, to widen the target audience and appeal to the smaller number of men who watch the show, either voluntarily or forced by their spouses.

5. What is the main purpose of this show?

The main purpose of Entertainment Tonight is to provide everyone with the latest news and gossip in the world of celebrities. This show has a good approach because society has this obsession with celebrities, and so having a show all about them and their lives almost guarantees viewers. This shows makes the audience, who are just regular people, feel like they know celebrities and in a way have a connection with them, which is why it has been on the air and successful for so many years.
 6. What do the credit tell us about this show?

The credits for Entertainment Tonight are very long, which shows the amount of people that are needed just to make one half an hour episode. Among this long list of people are many make-up artists, stylists, and clothing companies, which makes the show seem slightly fake. So much effort is put into just the appearance of the hosts, and this kind of over the top style is unavailable to most people in everyday life. Also, the credits roll very fast, meaning that Entertainment Tonight doesn't want the audience to know how "manufactured" the show is, and that they are trying seem very real and in-the-know, rather than this fabrication and exaggeration of celebrity gossip.
7. Does the show reflect any or all of the Laws of Popular Culture?

The show reflects most Laws of Popular Culture, but the two main ones seen are probably "Popular Culture is Style" and "Popular Culture is Speed." In terms of style, this show holds true to the ideology in media that packaging is more important than substance. Entertainment Tonight has a beautiful set, a catchy intro, and well-dressed and glamourous hosts, but when it comes down to it, they really don't have a lot to report and what they do report has no credible source. They distract the viewers' attention with the style and pizzazz of the show, and this is enough to grab their attention so that they don't notice the quality of information. Also, the show follows the law about speed, because everything was so fast-paced and to the point. They don't want the audience to lose interest, so they jump from story to story and clip to clip so quickly that we stay focused and feel entertained.
Image Sources:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Celebrity Image: John Mayer

A major celebrity today, known mostly for his outspoken and bad boy persona, is one of my favourite singers, John Mayer. To describe my relationship towards him, I don't think I could use the word admire, because in no way whatsoever do I respect John Mayer. How can you respect a guy who constantly objectifies women, and has been caught more than once using inappropriate racial slurs? You can't. And most people don't. But still, John Mayer made the Billboard Top Artists of the Year Chart in 2010, the same year he infamously used the n-word in a Playboy Magazine interview. Something tells me John and his PR team know exactly what they're doing.

John Mayer's image is a construction of reality, but in a different way than most other celebrities. Instead of going only for that sweet and innocent image that his songs show, or just being the opinionated bad boy he is in the media, he has made the wise decision to play both these roles and widen his audience. There's a saying that "all press is good press" and John Mayer proves this. By having mellow and romantic songs, he attracts tween and teenage girls like me, the people to sell out all his concerts and buy his songs on iTunes. Then, by having scandalous interview after interview, even my un-media-saavy dad knows who he is when his songs come on the radio, and my mom is willing to buy a magazine just to read firsthand about his latest slip-up. His unafraid-to-speak-his-mind attitude makes it cool for guys to be into him, but as he croons ballads like "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" girls can't help but swoon. Maybe part of me does admire John Mayer - someone's got to respect the fact that he's got the whole consumer market in the palm of his hands.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Construction of Reality

The first key concept to use when studying media is "all media constructs reality". This means that the media only presents part of the story, giving a selective view that only shows the parts of reality that are favourable to them. It can be as simple as slightly photoshopping a picture or as extreme as editing out entire segments of TV show. When viewing an ad, watching a movie, or listening to a song, it is important to remember that everything you see has been put in front of you as a choice, and that often the media does not tell the whole story.

One example of this that is very prominent in today's media filled society is airbrushing. Many ads found in magazines, especially ones featuring celebrities, have been drastically altered to give the final product an unrealistically perfect look. This is shown in this ad from a couple years ago for the movie King Arthur, starring actress Keira Knightley.
Keira Knightley King Arthur
This picture shows the original photgraph taken of Knightley, and then beside it you can see the final product that was distributed in magazines everywhere. There are many noticeable changes to her body, such as a larger chest, a skinner stomach, and more defined cheekbones. In addition, there have also been major changes in the brightness and contrast to give her skin a darker glow and make her features more dramatic and pronounced. 

Another example of airbrushing is seen here, with a before and after image of Faith Hill that was on the cover of the magazine Redbook. For the final cover shot, Faith has much a slimmer back and neck area, as well as a very slimmed down arm and stomach. Her skin has been lightened and smoothed, with much work around her eyes and mouth to reduce wrinkles, which are something that occur naturally in many women.
I really believe that the sensation of airbrushing is a very negative concept, especially for teen girls. As we flip through magazines and see these ads, they make us feel so inferior to these women with their perfectly shaped bodies. When we see these tiny waistlines and smooth, clear skin, we can't help but believe that we too need these assets to be considered beautiful. By drastically photoshopping pictures, the media is saying that there is something wrong with being curvy or having a pimple, and that in order to be featured in an ad, these natural things are just not acceptable. There is so much pressure on girls to look a certain way, and these ads condone the idea that beauty is about "perfection" and that there is only one way all girls are supposed to look. 

However, this construction of reality has sparked some advocacy from popular celebrities, such as Britney Spears. Earlier this year, she asked Kohl's to release both her original and airbrushed photos for one of her most recent Candies advertisment, seen below. Many changes have been made, including shrinking her waist and stomach, toning her butt, thighs, and arms, as well as changing the colour of her hair and skin. However, Britney Spears lives the life of a celebrity, so she has more time and money to be able to stay in shape and focus on her appearance, something the average girl or women doesn't.  
Although she did let the advertisers use the airbrushed photos in the campaign, she took a step forward in the right direction by openly releasing the originals. This lets young girls know that it is unrealistic to try to look the way women do in magazines, because these images of  "perfection" are not even close to reality.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Award Shows - Red Carpet


                         Scarlett Johansson                                           Olivia Wilde

                             Sofia Vergara                                            Dianna Agron

                       Mila Kunis                                                   Carrie Underwood


                       Christina Hendricks                                        Heidi Klum

                       Michelle Williams                                      Julianne Moore