Monday, April 25, 2011

Canadian vs. American TV

QUESTION 7 - CHARACTERS: DESCRIBE THE MAJOR CHARACTERS; IDENTIFY STEREOTYPES (SOCIAL, CULTURAL, RACIAL, GENDER-RELATED)

SHOW ONE - FLASHPOINT - CANADIAN

Ed Lane

-white, male, 40s
-main character of the episode viewed
-stereotypical "tough guy", loves risk
-after shooting the killer, he doesn't admit how it has affected him
-doesn't want others to see his emotions, sees them as a sign of weakness
-wife at home worried about him
-has to miss son's rehearsal, family comes after work

Jules Callaghan
Amy Jo Johnson
-female, brunette, petite, unfeminine, 30s
-tomboy
-stereotypical female police officer; tough, manly
-drinks beer with the guys
-unafraid in hostage mission
-talks back to guys
-single and appears uninterested in relationship

Sergeant Greg Parker
Enrico Colantoni
-leadership role
-bossy but still friendly
-looks out for members of his team
-good at thinking on feet
-supports Ed in shooting decision

Sam Braddock
David Paetkau
-blonde, short hair, early 30s
-new to the force
-smooth talker
-likes Jules and flirts with her
-sarcastic, smart-alec, self-assured

Criminal

-foreign
-does not speak english
-violent, agressive
-stereotypical scary look; dark hair; dark eyes, long baggy coat

SHOW 2 - THE CHICAGO CODE - AMERICAN


Jarek Wysocki
Jason Clarke stars as Detective Jarek Wysocki in The Chicago Code.FOX/Justin Stephens - Tuesday, February, 1, 2011, 8:1 PM
-white, male, late 30s
-loves sports
-serious about his job
-looks to superintendent to control other officers
-sees himself as superior to others

Teresa Colvin

-female, brunette, petite, unfeminine, 30s
-tomboy, tough
-ambitious in job which lead to high rank of superintendent
-in danger due to high position and needs to be guarded all the time

Ray Bidwell

-blonde, short hair, early 30s
-new bodyguard for Teresa
-connection between them, but flirting is not obvious
-very protective of Teresa and works overtime to look out for her

Caleb Evers
Matt Lauria stars as Detective Caleb Evers in The Chicago Code.FOX/Justin Stephens - Tuesday, February, 1, 2011, 8:1 PM
-young, nerdy, hard-working
-sports rivalry with Jarek
-Jarek and him work together on case
-makes mistake of promising to find killer
-works extra hard to prove he could keep the promise

 Main Criminal
-black, 20s, deadlocks, tattoos
-killer found to have murdered ice cream truck owner
-not much personality is revealed, but stereotypical racially by appearance

OBSERVATIONS
As you can see, though the shows styles (lighting, pace, graphicness) were very different, one element The Chicago Code and Flashpoint shared very closely was their characters. Each show seems to have a matching pair of identical people (both in terms of physical appearance and personality), such as Teresa and Jules, tough police tomboys, or Ray and Sam, young blonde guys noticed for their smooth flirting. These common types of characters give into the stereotypes that we think of when imagining a police team; a tough older leader, an arrogant or bossy guy, a hardcore no-nonsense tomboy, and a cute good-looking blondie - all found on both shows. This shows that even though the shows are made and star people from different countries, the people are still the same, and that stereotypes are things that are cross-cultural, and unfortunately, universal.

Another way that these shows both play into stereotypes is in their racial choices. Both police task forces were comprised entirely of white males, both with the exception of one female. This is very unrealistic because both Toronto and Chicago are multi-cultural cities and it is highly unlikely that all police officers there are really white. This decreases the shows believability and the amount of the audience that can self-identify with characters. The Chicago Code did feature one black main character, a politican, but he was a not a member of the police force or main character in the episode viewed, and is later found out to be corrupt. Another racial problem was in the ethnicity of the criminals. On The Chicago Code, they dealt with many crimes in the episode, and in every one the criminal was black or hispanic! This is a terrible generalization and even though there is a large black population in Chicago, it does not mean there are no white criminals in these low-income neighbourhoods. With Flashpoint, there was only one crime in the episode, but again it played into a cultural stereotype. The man holding a victim hostage was a white male, but of course he was made out to be foreign, not speaking a word of English. He was aggresive and violent while yelling in a Slovak language, which added to his "crazyness" and the fear the audience had towards him. Both shows give the oppositional reading that white people are the "ideal race" and create the feeling that criminals are "different from us". Even when a white person was the criminal in Flashpoint, they had to do something to isolate and differentiate him from the typical white population, because god-forbid a criminal be white and Canadian, which would hit too close to home. This says a lot about North American culture and our inability to recognize the potential of criminals in any race, and as well as how the media forms in and out groups that only lead to negative and unrealistic stereotypes.


Image Sources:
http://shows.ctv.ca/FlashPoint/Bios/
http://www.jillgolick.com/2008/09/staring-down-the-barrel-of-the-flashpoint-pilot/
http://www.windycitizen.com/blogs/staff-blog/2011/02/04/chicago-code-tv-on-make-city-shines-in-fox%E2%80%99s-new-cop-drama
http://tv.yahoo.com/chicago-code/show/46511/photos/1
http://hotseries.ir/showthread.php?tid=885
http://www.daemonstv.com/2008/07/10/flashpoint-scorpio-pictures-videos/

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