ERIC Number: ED232217
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Feb
Reference Count: 0
"He's Everything You're Not...." A Semiological Analysis of Cheers.
Berger, Arthur Asa
Semiotics addresses the question of how people derive meaning from a text, and meaning stems from considering phenomena as signs and from looking at the relationships among these signs. Thus, a semiological analysis of the television series "Cheers" reveals that the title suggests happiness, good spirits, and companionship. The show takes place in a bar, which itself is a sign system. One of the most important signs in the text is the blondeness of Diane Chambers's hair--a sign of considerable richness and meaning. Diane's attempts to read, and the allusions to and quotations from great literary figures are signs of her intellectuality. Much of the humor comes from characters' misunderstandings and misinterpretations, as well as nonresponses. These two forms of code violation derive from characters' different social and cultural backgrounds. In addition, the many folktale elements in this series suggest that it is a modernized fairytale. A semiotic analysis of a text such as "Cheers" can focus on how meaning is generated and conveyed, and thus on such matters as signs and codes, polar oppositions, sequential structures, and so forth. The lighting, pacing, dialogue, costuming, blocking, facial expressions, music, and sound all lend themselves to semiological analysis since they all function as "signs." (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Cheers (Television Series)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (Albuquerque, NM, February 19-22, 1983). Best copy available.