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Week 4 Notes

by: baileyxx

Week 4 Notes TCF 100


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Butler: Narrative Structure
Intro to telecommunications
Dr. Kristen Warner
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by baileyxx on Sunday September 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to TCF 100 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dr. Kristen Warner in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 34 views.


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Date Created: 09/11/16
Week 4 Reading 9/7/16▯ ▯ Butler▯ Narrative Structure▯ ▯ The Television Series▯ • basic narrative form TV inherited from radio▯ • link between each weeks episode is vague▯ ▯ Narrative Structure (Series)▯ • weekly episodes▯ - defined set of recurring characters▯ - each weeks episode is self-contained▯ - occasional 2 part episodes / narrative arc that reoccurs▯ - episodes DON’T pick up where it left off ( CSI Miami, Law & Order, etc.)▯ - TV serials do pick up where they left off ( Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, etc.)▯ • series / serial forms have gotten progressively closer to one another over the years▯ • TV series can resemble classical film structure▯ ▯ 1. Multiple Protagonists▯ - many have more tun 1 protagonist but most have a pair or cast or 5-6 main characters▯ - all hold equal importance▯ - multiple protagonists allow for a variety of plots within the same environment▯ - narrative emphasis shifts from 1 episode to the next but core characters stay the same▯ ▯ 2. Exposition▯ - only needs a brief explanation b/c characters are known form previous episode▯ - new characters / locations need to be established▯ - characters have personal history▯ - references occasionally made▯ - history never in depth b/c present is most important / relevant▯ - details of characters past not needed for enjoyment of episode▯ ▯ 3. Motivation▯ - constancy of a series characters & setting established narrative equilibrium▯ - if balance continued there’d be no story▯ - need disruption of balance▯ - most common narrative catalyst (like classical cinema) is lack / desire of protagonist▯ - multiple protagonists in series means focus can shift from one character to the next in each episode▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ 4. Narrative Problematic▯ - problems must not be immediately resolved▯ - counterforce shouldn’t be a single individual▯ - can also be protagonists environment / internal conflict / psychological element▯ - protagonists accomplishment of goals must be postponed so narrative can develop further complications▯ - narrative focus shifts from week to week▯ - individual desires & enigmas exist with in larger narrative problematic▯ - must be some narrative kernel that occurs from week to week▯ ▯ 5. Cause - Effect Chain▯ - events don’t happen randomly▯ - cause-effect chain happens scene by scene▯ - broken in TV for commercials▯ - segment narrative (acts)▯ - fit between commercial breaks▯ - holds scene together▯ - have own small climax leading into commercial break▯ - keeps interest in narrative▯ - many upward curves put together▯ ▯ 6. Climax▯ - program has to be repeated▯ - climaxes are undercut▯ - episode returns next week w/ same problematic▯ - conflict reaches peak▯ - no final resolution ▯ ▯ 7. Resolution / Denouement▯ - series can’t have a final resolution / narrative closure ▯ - if they did series would end▯ - need narrative openness▯ - ending of each episode has to leave us in doubt when it comes to the ultimate resolution▯ - some series end in a long episode resolving the main problematic▯ - some resolve most problematics and leave some open▯ - new spin off series are created after main series ends▯ ▯ The Television Serial▯ • expects us to make specific & substantial narrative connections between each weeks episode▯ - connection is fundamental narrative pleasures▯ • dominate daytime television▯ soap opera▯ • - most extreme / purest example of a serial▯ main difference between series / serial is how they each handle development of the narrative from episode to episode▯ ▯ Narrative Structure (Soap Operas)▯ ▯ 1. Multiple Protagonists▯ - large number of protagonists (largest of any program on TV)▯ - each equally important to narrative structure▯ - variety of simultaneous story lines within serial world▯ - multiple characters means a decreased importance of any 1 character▯ - come / go swiftly unlike other fictional forms▯ - mostly b/c of economics▯ - actors have short contracts▯ - producers decide if their characters capture enough interest to keep them around longer▯ - characters may also be recast▯ - soap operas rely on multiple characters to create a web that connects each character with one another ▯ ▯ 2. Exposition▯ - few viewers have watched soap operas since the beginning▯ - much info is redundant but helps new viewers catch up▯ - characters & their situations are constantly reestablished▯ - characters carry a distinct & import past▯ - pasts always referred to▯ - creates a dense multilayered narrative▯ - complex intertwining of characters relationships & past events that go years back are existent from the beginning of each days episodes▯ - new characters introduced to keep story fresh & interesting▯ - characters all go a conventional exposition▯ - expositions for characters are abbreviated▯ - many times a new character is a family member of a current / previous character▯ - quickly incorporates characters into story lines▯ ▯ 3. Motivation▯ - original catalyst established years ago▯ - most desires / lack is already there▯ - new ones introduced to maintain narrative diversity▯ - most common desire is relationships / family▯ ▯ ▯ 4. Narrative enigma▯ - multiple protagonists means many enigmas▯ - foundation for serials▯ - ensures narrative never loses narrative momentum▯ - if 1 is solved others keep pulling the story forward▯ ▯ 5. Cause - Effect Chain▯ - narrative chain is interrupted more than series TV▯ - adapt to constant interruption just as series do▯ - narrative is segmented▯ - segment ends w/ small climax▯ - raises new enigmas instead of a resolution▯ - “flow” into commercial break w/ suspense▯ - operates mainly by dealing w/ answers to enigmas▯ ▯ 6. Climax▯ - story lines eventually climax▯ - never result in narrative resolution▯ ▯ 7. (lack of) Resolution▯ - serials don’t have resolutions▯ - there would be no reason to tune in next week if they did▯ - climax’s create new enigmas not resolutions▯ - resolution of 1 story line opens up new questions and enigmas▯ - in a soap opera even death ins’t a permeant resolution▯ - even if 1 story line achieves narrative closure it effects the others very little▯ - in a serial the story must continue▯ - individual episode▯ - serial ends as it began▯ - in the middle of the action


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