Saturday, July 7, 2012

Communication and Television

This week's assignment was fun! I enjoy television and I love people watching--I got to do both things as a homework assignment--isn't learning fun!!! I watched the 90's sitcom Friends which is featured (reruns) on a popular television station. The episode I watched was a Thanksgiving episode and everyone had plans but all plans fell through. One character was to cook a special dinner and the dinner turned in to a fiasco. 
This week I had to watch a show muted and then watch the show with the volume. These are the questions I had to ponder without volume:
  • What do you think the characters’ relationships are based on the ways in which they are communicating?
  • What are they feeling and expressing based on the nonverbal behavior you are observing?
These are the questions I had to ponder with volume:
  • What assumptions did you make about the characters and plot based on the ways in which you interpreted the communication you observed?
  • Would your assumptions have been more correct if you had been watching a show you know well?
With the volume muted it appeared that I was watching "friends" enjoy each other's company. They seemed to have positive interactions, sat closely to one another, expressed themselves nicely with hand gestures and appeared to be listening to one another. This group of individuals were smiling consistently and appeared genuinely happy without any pending drama or issues.

With the volume turned up, I realized the group of friends were struggling with decisions. One "friend" did not have money to return home, one "friend" hated the Thanksgiving holiday and one "friend" did not celebrate Thanksgiving on the traditional day. Watching their smiles and their close proximity to one another, I assumed the "friends" were happy without any issues. Sometimes smiles and closeness can appear that everything is okay when it truly is not okay. Sometimes body language can be a disguise to one's true feelings.
If I had watched a show I frequented quite often, I would have been able to know that the smiles hide anger or disgust. I love reality drama and although the characters are smiling, they generally are discussing another characters short comings. I would have been able to read the non-verbal cues much easier.
I realize I am not as gifted in the non-verbal department as I thought I was. Sometimes I cannot read non-verbal cues correctly, or read them at all.
Very interesting assignment...

1 comment:

Julie Rand said...

Hi Rebekah,
I found this assignment a challenge as well. It can be difficult to read people when they "smile" because I feel that is a common way to use sarcasm which is far from a happy form of communication often times. Smiling, as you said, can hind many emotions which would be hard to tell. Interesting analysis of the show. Thank you for your blog!