The media, through movie writers and producers is acknowledged as a major influencer of people where an assessment reveals the author’s message to his/her audience. Friday Night Lights is a sports drama television series involving high school football in a fictional town called Dillon. Pushing Daisies is a comedy drama television series featuring a pie-maker character with a special of bringing dead things back to life. Various literary critical methods such as narrative or response reader criticism among others are good for effective evaluation of certain texts or films. This essay analyses the television series Pushing Daisies, first episode, based on narrative criticism and the Friday Night Lights television series, first episode, through reader response criticism.
Criticism: Friday Night Lights and Pushing Daisies
The reader response form of criticism is based on the assumption that the main focus is on the reader and how he/she receives the text. Another assumption is that the reader is active, where it acts as a catalyst that stimulates thoughts and memories that enable the audience to relate to the film by reminding them of previous personal experiences. Moreover, the text is not considered as absolute, implying that meaning is also created by audience’s interpretation. The implied viewer, the ideal viewer that the author intends and writes to, in Friday Night Lights is the middle-aged American who has to deal with school related issues such as drugs and economic opportunities among others. Essentially, this is highlighted in the film when Tim Riggins is struggling between participation in the team and his consumption of intoxicating substances which leads the viewer to believe that school related life is complicated (Katims & Berg, 2004).
Being a major component of reader response criticism, the overall message in Friday Night Lights, first episode, is that people should learn how to enjoy the small things in life such as the rush of gratitude and first kisses despite grim circumstances and high expectations. It also emphasizes the ability of a person to judge and analyze oneself in light of influences from different people especially the parents. The episode is told from a third person point of view in the tone of a reporter about the town of Dillon, its constituents, problems and expectations. The episode also places the viewer relative to the action as the main cinematic mode of address where the viewer learns about the main themes expounded in the film mainly through observation. The producers of the film can also be seen as creating gaps where the viewer is expected to understand through his awareness of the film as it progresses, where a flashback reveals the previous loss in a football game (Katims & Berg, 2004).
Narrative criticism is based on the assumption that, through stories or narratives, one is able to understand him/herself as well as his/her immediate environment, the world beyond as well as making his/her life coherent. Primarily, the use of stories through various narrative structures enable people to construct coherence in the world by making life experiences coherent while serving a guide on living in it. Belonging in the genre of comedy, Pushing Daisies, first episode, primarily highlights a fictional television series involving a man’s ability to raise things that are dead as highlighted by his first realization of his gift when he raised his dog from the dead. Structurally, the narrative also builds up the overall plot from the boy’s realization of his gift, to his feelings for his neighbor, involvement with police work and his ability to make the best tasting pies in the area (Fuller & Sonnenfeld, 2007).
The component of the narrative where the story includes disruption and restoration of states of equilibrium as highlighted in the story, where the main character seeks to restore life and death appropriately, embodies narrative criticism. Essentially, the episode also include events that occur in various periods in time as exemplified in the beginning when the main character is seen as a child after which the time period shifts to a time when he is a grown man. The narrative is principally presented and mediated by a narrator who provides a welcome and mesmerizing narration of the episode, providing essential information about past events at appropriate times, with the present being left to the main character to act out the episode. Initially, the main character does not learn about the costs that accompany his gift even though the viewer learns that along this illuminated to him in the course of his growing up where he decides to lead his life alone (Fuller & Sonnenfeld, 2007).
Through reader response criticism, the first episode of Friday Night Lights highlights a television series that seeks to engender and stimulates thoughts and memories that relate to struggles in middle age especially those related to schooling. On the other hand, the first episode Pushing Daisies, through narrative criticism, highlights the narrative of how the main character, Ned, comes to terms with the strange gift in his life, his connection to the immediate environment especially his family where he is able to coherently understand his life and ultimately understands how to live among others. In conclusion, both forms of criticism provide great insights into the plot, events and activities into the two episodes.
- Fuller, B. (producer) & Sonnenfeld, B. (director) (2007). Pushing daisies. [Motion Picture].
- United States: Warner Bros Television.
- Katims J. (producer) & Berg, P. (director) (2004). Friday night lights. [Motion Picture]. United
- States: NBC Universal.