Thursday, February 28, 2008


Television is an interesting thing. It is a medium that enables viewers to absorb whatever is presented to them. A program I will discuss is Spike TV's Manswers. The name clearly identifies the intended audience and intended humour. The show is narrated by a youthful adult male who constantly yells out, spurting almost sarcastically comments on the male condition. The show runs in a similar way magazines such as maxim would, showing some general information on random things like how to remove a bullet from yourself, how shapes of women's breast's can define their personality, how to receive a "happy ending" at a legitimate massage parlour and how to fool a drug test. Amidst these sensible instructions, women pose in all sorts of flattering outfits to contrast the gritty man-ness of the subject matter.
I found interesting what these characteristics mean about our society and how it is presented to us. The mere presence of the show displays how popular interests geared towards one sex are still appreciated in a world of intended equality between men and women. The constant yelling at the viewer adds to the intensity of the experience and is a form of rhetoric that convinces the viewer of not only the extremity of the activity but the truthfulness of it as well. The program uses actual evidence from physicians and professionals to explain the truth about serious guy issues and still tells the viewer certain opinions that seem out of place, like calling a pothead an idiot- even though they have just glorified his actual defeat of the drug test and earning a respectable career. This almost represents what the show is trying to say: These are the things we all wish we could do but won't because they're bad. This is why it is a form of entertainment, it is making spectacle the object of our desires. There is no need to mention why women would be considered "beneficial" to the program.
This is a typical segment on Manswers. The Humour is often geared toward the value of sex and objection of women. But more importantly the way this clip is filmed is interesting because it is filmed on a home video camera pointing at a TV in a room wiht the lights off and you are able to hear the viewers few comments and reactions. This adds a whole new media space within the clip, as there are now two voices: that of the narrator and that of the viewer. There are also now two screens- the television set in the room and the computer screen you are seeing it on. Whether purposfefully or not, the user who filmed and posted this clip brought the viewer into two settings at once, a feat which is not often accomplished in media today.

1 comment:

I. Reilly said...

i think you've done well to illustrate how "manswers" is interested in creating a subversive form of spectacle, one that aims to entertain its predominantly male audience in highly problematic ways. i'm wondering, however, how your clip functions in terms of theories of remediation. because there is a third party in the reproduction of one of the show's narratives, one might think about how transparency and mediation function in this clip. i find myself questioning the final sentence of your post, so i'll leave you with a question to think about. how does mediation function in this context and what are the real motivations for this kind of practice?