Representation of Gender in TV Dramas
Within British and American TV Drama gender representations vary widely to create a range of diverse interesting characters. Although, there are plenty of stereotypes associated with gender they are equally conformed to as challenged in modern TV drama. In the British TV drama Luther there are many gender representations, in a clip I analysed I can see that gender representations are strongly built upon the way others react to each other and how they are portrayed within the situation.
The opening shot is a close up of a man named Ian, he looks sad; with red eyes and pale skin which challenges the stereotype that men hide their feeling and don't show emotion. The shot soon cuts to a close up/point of view shot to show Luther who looks confident and calm. He says, "that's not going to work Ian" this diegetic sound contributes to Luther's representation being rational and open as he doesn't hide the fact he sees through Ian's attempts. The characters are both dressed smartly in clothes that fit into the office environment, this mise en scene creates a representation that both are respectable men with respectable professions. A shot reverse shot is used to show the tension between Ian and Luther, it suggests they unlikely to give in to the other portraying the pride a man feels and the importance of protecting his dignity. Luther raises his voice and is mildly aggressive as he pokes Ian with a gun. There is non-diegetic sound in the background, it creates an ambiguous atmosphere and doesn't give clues to the forthcoming situation. The relaxed background sound doesn't allow the fast paced editing of fast shot cuts to create a fast moving scene it maintains the scene to remain calm and reflects the men as remaining relatively calm.
An over the shoulder shot shows Luther's reaction to Ian's comments, he raises a gun against Ian's head; this creates a representation that this man is very dangerous and unpredictable. As this happens the non-diegetic background music builds up but doesn't increase its tempo. A mid-shot shows Luther throwing his gun behind him and aggressively grabs Ian by the neck and begins to strangle him. This sudden change makes this man appear ruthless and scary. His actions represent anger and violence in his personality. An abrupt cut shows Luther holding Ian over a bar railing, this cut isn't noticeable because the shots are fluent but it adds to the sudden increase of pace in the scene and connotes the stereotypical bad temper men have and how they can suddenly flip.
A close up shot of Ian makes him look helpless which challenges the stereotypes of men which are normally that a man always fights back and has lots of self confidence to win a fight. The camera pans down from Luther to Ian to emphasise that Luther is very strong and a dangerous man to mess with. This TV drama creates a very violent representation of men. A low angle shot shows Luther looking down on Ian, this highlights the way men see themselves as better than others and intend to dominate others. As Luther says he will arrest Ian a close up of Ian's hand shows his pulling out a knife and stabbing Luther with it, at this point the non-diegetic sound cuts off and the groans and heavy breathing of the men takes its place. The groans of pain from Luther show that he is in pain but connotes his inner strength to not give in. A mid shot shows Ian kicking Luther while shouting that its Luther's fault that he's doing it, his blame in Luther creates a representation that he is a very weak minded man and he is in denial and incapable of taking responsibility, this creates a negative representation of men.
The use of an over the shoulder shot shows the entrance of the female character Alice holding a gun. She immediately desires the attention of the dangerous male character Ian which connotes she doesn't fear him like a stereotypical female would, she doesn't conform to stereotypes that women are weak, easily scared and helpless. Before Ian can finish his question Alice answers with confidence creating the positive representation of an empowered female therefore challenging the stereotype of oppressed women and the common idea that women are insecure and lack self confidence. By taking the attention from Luther she is however conforming to the stereotype that women are less selfish than men as she is endangering herself for a man.
A mid-shot of Alice portrays a representation that she takes pride in her appearance. A close up shot shows Ian is intimidated by Alice which challenges the stereotypical binaries between men and women. Luther tells Alice to not shoot but she follows her own decision and isn't influenced by a man, which is a positive representation of an independent woman. However, Alice shoots Ian which makes her seem selfish and lack rational thinking. A shallow focus shot is on Luther while the other characters are out of focus, this connotes his mental stability and allows the audience to question that of the other characters.