Television Has The Power Of The Television Program By Horace Newcomb And Paul Hirsch

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As a polysemic text, television has the power to inspire a range of interpretations according to the encoding of the producers and the decoding of the televisual consumer. As first described by Stuart Hall in Encoding/Decoding, and then by Horace Newcomb and Paul Hirsch in Television as a Cultural Forum there exist three basic categories of potential readings of a singular text within the broad range of potential interpretations: dominant or preferred, negotiated, and oppositional, each of which depends on the ideological, political, and social position of the interpreter, as well as their experiences, which makes them, according to Newcomb and Hirsch cultural interpreters, or cultural bricoleurs. As such, Documentary Now! elicits three …show more content…

The band in the episode, The Blue Jean Committee, is modelled after the Eagles and other 1970s California soft rock bands, exemplified in the songs they play within the episode, such as “Catalina Breeze”, a blatant parody of “California Dreamin” by The Mamas and Papas. As such, the episode parodies this entire genre and era of rock n’ roll. Furthermore, the episode derives meaning from the intertextual roles of the show’s creators and stars Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers, who have prominent careers in contemporary television. Each of these men starred together on Saturday Night Live, a show built on parody and intertextual humor. Thus, audiences, if they are familiar with the creators and stars, are primed to decode the episode as a similarly light-hearted parody based on their previous knowledge. These audience expectations are reinforced by the creators’ other roles on television, which also include parodies, such as, Seth Meyers’ job hosting Late Night and Fred Armisen’s other show. Portlandia, on IFC, a network known for its parodic programs. Viewers’ knowledge of these circumstances affects the ways in which they decode the episode “Gentle and Soft” according to Newcomb and Hirsch, who insist, in their forum concept, that in viewing television, members of the audience bring their own knowledge, experience, and concerns to the texts, which they examine, select, and make

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