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Glee Case Study

Rob Miller | Monday November 05, 2012

Categories: GCSE, Eduqas (WJEC) GCSE, WJEC GCSE Media Studies, A Level, OCR A Level, OCR AS, Key Concepts, Audience, Genre, Institutions, Media Language, Narrative, Representation & Stereotyping, Hot Entries, Television, Musical Drama, Television Drama

Glee is a successful US TV Drama hybridised with the genres of comedy and musical. It was first broadcast in 2009 by mainstream network, Fox Television and currently is in its 4th series evidencing critical and commercial success. The narrative involves aspirational recording artists and performers who have enrolled in Glee Club at the fictional William McKinley High School in Ohio. Glee Club is at the bottom of the social network in this particular school – everyone is accepted within the club but outside of the club they are marginalised. Characters are diverse and come from a range of minority groups and ethnic backgrounds with stories sometimes stand alone in a series format (closed narrative) with narrative arcs while other episodes are open ended.

Camera Shots, Camera Movement, Editing, Sound, Movement, Composition and Use of Mise-en-Scene

Studying the first 10 minutes of Episode 1, Series 1 it is evident that fast paced editing is used to appeal to a youthful, female skew (14-21) demographic to maintain audience interest but also to encode an upbeat mode of address. Long takes are apparent however during two shots and frequent ‘serious’ conversations where the students are often framed experiencing trauma, sadness or high degrees of emotion. During the musical performances intercutting with the rest of the Glee Club and the tutors are a significant feature of the programme to show reaction shots and character relationships. Otherwise, quick cutting is a key convention to ensure the brisk pace of the drama is maintained and to anchor the vibrant, youthful representations.

Characters are often framed centrally in close up encoding their importance within the narrative but primarily to show emotion which is a key component of Glee. The voyeuristic close ups allow the audience to identify with character but also are positioned to deconstruct preferred meanings, particularly when it comes to stereotyping. Wide shots of the...

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