A Comparison of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The film, Broadcast News, and the television situation comedy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, have numerous characteristics in common and some differences as well. It is understandable that there are similar themes and treatments in these two works as the director-writer-producer for both is James L. Brooks, who also created Terms of Endearment. It is the purpose of this paper to examine this film and television situation comedy in terms of current film theory and to compare and contrast the two works.
The concept of genre theory in connection with film and television arose in the late sixties and seventies to fulfill two primary functions. This literary term came into use to challenge and displace the notion of taste that belonged only to a few journalists and reviewers and to establish that the new art form of the cinema contained inner structure that related to social grounding (Neale, 1980, 1).
This new double function of film as literature brought into being the concept of "auteurism", the creator's relation to the finished product. This new relationship between creator and creation provided a new set of problems for reviewers, cinema professionals and the film-viewing public. Previously film genre was rather concise such that movies could be easily identified as gangster, western, or musical. In a sense, the form was more important that anything personalized by the creator. However, as the film-makers became more sophisticated, the film genre moved at times from the position of popular art to high art with much critical discussion of high art concepts.
Genres may be defined as the patterns, forms, styles, and structures which transcend specific films and control the interpretation by the triangle of the audience, the film work, and the artist (Neale, 1980, p. 7). The conventions of genre are recognized by the audience and bring pleasure with that recognition, for example ...