The narrative structures of two broadcast fiction texts
To start the storylines of friends are usual utopian and are always set in a very calm equilibrium at the start and the end of the show/series. It uses very basic narrative structure with equilibrium —> disequilibrium—->new equilibrium, and uses this during most of the series. It does this so that it can appeal to a large mass audience to create a profit from the highly expensive studio sets. On the other hand the office does not need to do this, as it was cheap to make as it was created on location, and because of this uses a vastly different narrative structure.
It uses a realistic storyline were nothings perfect, and it shows the negatives about life not just the positives, and as it is shot as a documentary it adds to the realism of the program creating more interest from other audiences (such as female). What’s similar about the two programs is that they both use enigma codes to good effect to keep the audiences interest during not only an episode but also a whole series, it is also able to do this simile by never resolving all of the characters goals.
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Firstly they both use enigma codes that have an element of romance in, which is conventional for Friends but not so conventional for The Office. For example in one of the series of friends they use the enigma code of will Joey & Rachel get together, simile The Office uses the enigma code of will Tim and Dawn get together, this is conventional for Friends as it is mainly female orientated but not so for The Office as it seems to be mainly aimed at the male audience, it has done this so that it can also create a larger audience.
What’s more is the same is that they both use a mixture of closure and continuing narrative plots. Furthermore both programs use binary opposites to add interest to them, as the audience can see good prevail against evil, an example of this is in The Office of the Swindon branch versus the Slough branch. Also Friends and The Office use dramatic irony and hyperbolic characters just to add that much more interest need to entertain the audience.
For example the hyperbolic characters like Joey (Italian) and Phoebe (blond), these two characters add a lot of humor to Friends. Something that’s seems to be extremely different between the two narrative structures is how it deals with ethnic issues, with Friends mainly orientated around the white population, and to a complete contrast we have The Office touching on the issues a few times each episode whether it is to do with a ethnic character or one of David Brent’s attempted jokes.
The genre of both programs is mainly comedy base, but are also hybrids. The Office is a mixture of comedy, soap and ‘reality TV’ which is a good mix as these genres have been extremely successful with this institution in creating a mass audience, and also this mix has been proved successful before with such programs as ‘Alan Partridge’. What’s also appealing to audiences are the institutions of the programs, with Friends being made by Warner Bros and The Office being created by the BBC, which would appeal to the British population.
What’s different about the institutions is how they what there programs to be filmed, for example with The Office they’ve gone for the realistic effect so they have used cheap film and hand held cameras. Were as Friends is film with a glossy look and feel to it, to improve its image to a larger audience. The two broadcast fictions use different sound codes, for example The Office uses all diegetic sound just to add to that realism of the program, different to that we have the non-diegetic music use for effect in Friends in between scenes.
Differences between the programs is that Friends is filmed in a mediated culture were as The Office is film in a situated culture, what is meant by this is that Friends is set in a constructed stage set and is set mainly in the same places with the main basis of the program circling mainly the characters free-time. The Office is different as it is set in a situated culture because it is set in real locations and uses real-life locations and is based around the characters work place.
Friend’s appeals to a youth culture as it is set so that they can almost aspire to the characters as they have easy living lives and an ever-flowing money budget. The Office would appeal more to an older audience as it deals with more realistic plots that the audience would be more familiar with and could relate to. The ideologies are similar in some way as they are both about how we should live our lives, and what life is really about.
They are different however as Friends is more positive about life were as The Office is more negative about it. What I mean by this is that Friends ideology of life is based around the American dream/culture of were if you work hard you can get what ever you want and that work is not as important to life as your social life. The Office takes a different view to life and probably a more realistic view of that your social life is dependent on your work, and that work is the key to success in your life.
In conclusion Friends is more effective in its use of narrative structure as it appeals to a much larger mass audience and has been able to do so for over a decade, as it is able to relate to a female and male audience of all ages. However it may not be as appealing as it does not have that realistic view to it and could be seen almost as being to fictional. What seems to be lacked in The Office is its shortness of emotion for a female audience, and for the gender to relate to the characters which is key to success in any program.