Monday, December 13, 2010

(Response paper) Lets get Knocked Up!

Alison Scott
Eng. 313 T, TH

Lets get knocked up!
         “Of or pertaining to the root or origin; reaching to the center, to the foundation, to the ultimate sources, to the principles, or the like; original; fundamental; thorough-going; unsparing; extreme;” (Webster dictionary online), is the way Webster dictionary defines Radical. Taking that definition and adding the word romance to it, is an interesting mix yet it can be done. Going from radical and knowing that you’re taking right from the core and not making it soft, its going to be rough. Once adding the romance to the end of that you are going to get a very hard and strong romance. Now putting that together with a text to entertain someone equals a sensational outcome. Some examples of this are movies such as American Psycho, Knocked Up some books include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sula, and many more. There are different kinds of radical romance that are discussed about; some may be sex comedy, radical comedy, and screwball comedy. According to Tamar McDonald sex comedy is defined as, “sex comedy pits woman against man in an elemental battle of wits, in which the goal of both is sex. Only the timing and legitimacy of this differs from gender to gender, with women wanting sex after, and men before or without, marriage (Romantic comedy, pg.39).” On the other hand screwball comedy makes man and women clash to make sparks and then McDonald describes radical romantic comedy as, ”radical comedy is often willing to abandon the emphasis on making sure the couples end up together, regardless of likelihood instead striving to interrogate the ideology of romance (romantic comedy, pg.59).” Society is excepting all of theses and more to its collection of texts, these brands help open doors for thing that will gather attention of many that may or may not want to say out loud yet are able to see it all happen before their eyes. While watching these movies or reading these books, you cant help but laugh or turn your head, the facts that come out into the text are based of real life, just the author is not afraid to offend anyone, and this leads to a very interesting and yet exciting outcome. Taking one piece of radical romance and dissecting it gives you a lot more meaning behind the madness, there truly is a lot of work put behind each word, scene and quotes, you see. Dissecting a film like Knocked up, was a challenge and at the same time very interesting to see a film from that point of view. After trying to understand the reason for the way the film was written and played out I truly have a new respect for this screwball comedy film. Parts of the film that may seem, by some as taking it just a little to far, I can know see and understand why it plays out the way it dose.
         Going into the movie understanding a little bit about why things are the way they are is a lot more helpful when it comes to understanding all the aspects that are put into the film to make it complete. First going right in to the film talking about the main married couple, Pete and Debbie. Pete is a very passive father, has a hard time talking about how he truly feels and just in a way tries to make things go smoothly so then he doesn’t have to deal with and confrontation. Then there is Debbie who is the exact opposite of Pete. Debbie is played off as a crazy over dramatic, extremely vocal mother or two. Together they some how work yet throughout the film they are always having issues and trying to make it work. It was interesting that the first things you want to react to are the behaviors of the wife because she's a bad wife in a really aggressive, loud, and exaggerated way. The husband comes off as good because he's passive and doesn't get insanely angry and emotional like she does. The problem with that is that he goes in the opposite direction to the extreme. He doesn't get angry like the wife, but instead he chooses to basically have no emotional reaction to anything whatsoever. He's withdrawn from his own wife in an extreme way that doesn't help their marriage at all, so this is when he starts to be just as much of a bad guy as she is. He sneaks out and goes to movies or to hang out with friends without her knowing, but he doesn't really think it's wrong even though it is because he's essentially trying to get away from his life rather than try to fix the things he's having problems with. He runs away from it all, unlike his wife who aggressively points out every single issue there can possibly be and the husband tries so hard to not make an issue out of anything but both types of behavior always just make things worse. ,  Pete is not stepping forward as his role in life as the leader, and the provider for the family, in a way he is running away form his responsibilities.
Both Debbie and Pete have roles in their marriage and according to Barker Debbie’s roles consist of her being a “housewife or sexy bodies alone, reducing her to those categories” (Cultural studies, pg.10), however Debbie is so much more then that, she has her life together and has a family. The Barker book talks about how the image of a women is portrayed in the representation on television as a “good” women and she should be, “submissive, sensitive and domesticated, while ’bad’ women are rebellious, independent and selfish” this gives Debbie and identification of what kind of women she is according to Barker. Along with that Barker talks about how women always need reassurance on their self, whether it be about their marriage, beauty, or youth, all these things Debbie struggles with throughout the film, she is a true example of a women (Cultural studies, pg300-307). There are some aspects of her life that she is trying to hold at a higher level and class when in all actuality she is just as normal as everyone else. Barker always talks about high and low classes and when it comes to the higher class they seem to be all put together and have nothing going wrong, but we all know in reality behind the scene it is all falling apart. Debbie tries to play off this when she is in kitchen with her kids talking about her sisters new boyfriend and also about how babies are made. Debbie tells her kids “"yeah he came from his house... he drove over from his house to our house because he thought it would be fun to have breakfast", she makes it seem so innocent about having Ben over she can’t even tell her children that her sister had her boyfriend sleep over. Another remark Debbie makes is when she says, "but they should be because they love each other and people who love each other get married and have babies...yes they love each other because that’s what you do... you get married and have a baby", here Debbie is telling her kids why people have babies, and that Ben and Alison do love each other even though at this point in the film they were not there yet in their relationship. Towards the end of the movie Pete reveals that he married Debbie when he got her pregnant. Why is it that Debbie feels that she has to uphold the illusion of the wholesome family to her children and encourage them to follow in a path that she didn't? Is she trying to live by what she thinks is politically correct? Barker talks about identity and we try to live by what people say and how people want us to be (Cultural studies, Ch. 1). Debbie is trying to uphold the wants of everyone else other then just accepting who she is. In a way she could not be happy with the way her life turned out and that makes her want to try and only teach her kids in one way so that they only know the “good” way to go about life, and she is hoping they turn out better then she did. Barker says something about “value” Cultural studies, pg.48) and in Debbie’s eyes if you are not happy with your life then maybe the value of it will decrease, all she wants is her children’s life to have value and purpose. People may say she is just being a good parent and teaching them the right way of life, yet the ones that are saying that are the ones that have had this happen to them in this order, people that have taken a different path are just trying to figure out what was right and what could be wrong in the teaching of correct and not ways to fulfill your life.
This in a way goes hand and hand with when Barker brings up the higher and lower classes again when he states that “a variant of the high-low cultural boundary is that which decries commodity-based culture as inauthentic, manipulative and unsatisfying.” (Cultural studies, pg.49) A good example of this is when in the film when Alison is going to her mother about the baby that she is now having, and when Ben is talking to his friends about the situation. Alison is talking to her mother and her mother tells her that she can just get it “taken care of”, which we all know means to get an abortion. This is a good example of what Barker is talking about because here the higher class is Alison’s family, and with the higher class the first thing to do when there is a baby problem is to get rid of it. Another example is when Alison’s mother doesn’t even use the real word, abortion she has to say, “take care of it”, this shows that in the higher class world if you just act like its not there, and don’t speak of it then its not real and no one will know when its gone that there was anything wrong in the first place. Alison’s mother is trying to keep the hard, everything is perfect because we are the better class exterior to the world when deep down she is dying.

There is another scene in the film where Ben is talking with his friends about the situation with Alison, and some of Ben’s friends are excited and tell him to keep the child, when the rest of them are telling him to also get an abortion. However like the scene with Alison and her mother, Ben’s friend also dose not use the word abortion, he first says “take care of it”, and then he makes up his own word and calls the act of getting rid of the baby a “smuchsmortion”. This is the “lower” classes way of saying abortion. Its ironic to see that both upper and lower class have the same outlook on a few things, they even think the same, in the way of not using the correct terminology then it doesn’t make it real. This is also a good example of language, and how when Barker talks about language by saying, “language is action and a guide to action. Language, in the context of social usage can be temporarily stabilized for particular purpose”(Cultural studies pg.100, Ch.3) this shows that no matter what social class you are in, higher or lower we all communicate by using the same language and without even knowing it we are all using the same language when it comes to life. We use language to understand each other, such as the way both Alison’s mother, and Ben’s friend both use the same term “take care of it”, even though they are from two different social classes they are using the same language to express the same feelings.
The other main couple in the film is Alison and Ben; Alison is a higher class hard working women with a great job, she lives with her sister Debbie and husband Pete while she is saving up for her exciting life. She ends up going out and with the liquid courage she meets a guy (Ben) and they end up having sex, which leads to her unwanted pregnancy. Ben is a very laid back, slacker, who loves to just get “blown” or wasted on weed. He has a made up job where he looks at naked people all day and has no income other then what he has left from a law suit he won from getting hit by a car. These two people would have never made it out in the real world if they were not in the predicament that they were in. Alison from the start is wondering if she should keep this unborn child of theirs and was not happy with it, and was just going to let Ben be on his way and he wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Of course that is not how things work out, she ends up deciding to keep the baby, and later lets Ben play a bigger role in her life, and also a potential father for the baby. On the other hand Ben at first was thrown off by the announcement of the pregnancy but in the end he was the one that wanted the baby the whole time; he was never on the fence of whether or not to “get rid of it” or not. Ben is what Barker would call a typical male role, he hold the main characteristics of the typical man and a women film. “Boy likes girl, boy pursues girl, and boy gets girl” (Cultural Studies Ch.3), this is the outline of a typical romance movie, where the man and women end up together however they try and throw us off by making them break up, for what we thought was for good, until Ben did what a man should do and stepped up to the plate and took responsibilities for himself and the unborn baby, and took ownership of his life. In a radical romance you don’t always have the “happy ever after” ending, but when they do end like that you know it had a very long journey before that, which makes it so radical.
         This film was a take on life and real events that a lot of people try not to talk about, but it addresses a lot of facts that happen in everyday living. The film was a radical take on life, and unplanned events that may occur. Adding up all the characters, Pete, the passive yet self destroying one, Debbie, the vocal high strung one, and then Alison, the girl that just wants it all even though she has to work hard and things are definitely not working out the way she had planned, and last but not least we have Ben the man that no one would want to be with, but some how makes himself worth something, just for the love of someone; makes for a very entertaining and very realistic, and relatable film. Radical romance films don’t have to fallow the typical romantic scheme when it comes to a film. It holds its own twist on a love that may or may not be, and at the same time you don’t really know how you feel, do you want it to work out or not. In the end you can see that even a film such as Knocked Up, can be broken down and understood for the madness that it acts out. In the Cultural studies book by Chris Barker, he covers all aspects of life, film, and text. All the aspects that help you see that there are different ways to view scenes, and not just in black and white, there are always other colors in the box that you can pick from that you might like a little more, and just might help make sense of it all. Next time you watch a film, read a text or even act out a script, think about it the way Barker dose and see if maybe what you are reading, acting out, or watching could be a radical romance in your mist, and you don’t even know it.

Work cited
"Radical - Definition of Radical by Webster Dictionary." Webster Dictionary. 2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. <>.

Barker, Chris. Cultural Studies. 3rd ed. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2008. Print.

McDonald, Tamar Jeffers. Romantic Comedy: Boy Meets Girl Meets Genre. London: Wallflower, 2007. Print.

Knocked Up-Debbie&Pete fighting:)

Clip #2 -->

Knocked Up - Marriage is LIke Everybody Loves Raymond

Clip #1 -->

Thursday, December 9, 2010

farewell to radical romance

This class was a lot of fun, i enjoyed the way it was laid out, the open discussion was great, it was so much easier to understand and relate the reading to ones life. the teacher was great and very passionate about this topic. it was very fun to see how other people had a take on things. the blogs are fun to see how other people express themselves. im not very vocal but i have an opinion, just might not be as strong as others. and im ok with that. :) the blogs will help us when it comes to maybe going further with this topic in life. its open to the world to see and that is such an interesting concept to me. i love that this class shows us how to do that, so now even though english is not my major, i can use this blog for may different things that might help me more towards my future.

im sad this class is ending but i think i got a good grasp on everything that we learned. so im excited to take my knowledge with me as i go. thank you for this semester and hope all goes well for you, all of you!

:) i enjoyed sharing this class with you all. and i hope you all enjoyed it as much as me, wish you all the very best in all you do.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Myspace..later known as Facebook

ok so the topic of Myspace is a love hate relationship for most, we all had it at one point so no one can say they didnt, it was a helpful way to keep people in touch, however people tend to take it just a little to fare, and of course there are people out there that are taking advantage of it and using it to hurt others. such as sex offenders and pedifiles. the way i see it, why would you talk to someone that you dont know when the site was made for friends to keep in touch. not make new friends all around the world.

years later..

now myspace has faded out and a new social network is up and its the exact same thing only it was favored for college kids to get to know people, get jobs, groups that you join in school, and keep in touch with friends that are now away at school as well. soon this also was used by all not just college kids. and yet this site has been a lot more beneficial then myspace, there has been many encounters where family members found long lost other family members and now they are closer then ever. i see this site as a great thing for people to keep in touch and keep the world as we know it at the tip of our finger.

im not saying that soon it wont get used for bad things, yet its done such good things so far, im just hoping that it stays strong and helpful. its funny too now myspace is still up and running yet its slowly adding so much to it, that its making itself its own version of facebook, its just trying to compete with the challenger and its funny to watch each of them grow but in my opinion i like facebook, and i say its a great helpful, and useful source for people to use for so many things.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

huh? whats going on here..

Today we talked about Television Culture, and with that came the 4 main aspects, which are: 1. social, 2. technical, 3. conventional representational, and 4. ideological.
with all this the show or movie will make sense to the viewer, this helps make the language in the text very known.

to me i tend to turn away from a movie if its a little different, like if I dont really know everything that is going on, if i get lost i tend to just say i didnt like it and not go over it again and again, an example of this is the movie called "Slumdog Millionaire", i honestly was lost from the first couple minutes of the movie. i didnt understand it at all and i just got turned off from it. i dont know why everyone else is in love with it, and how i won so many awards, but again im just one person that just didnt understand it. so its very important to have the 4 core aspects of television culture in the text, it will really help us understand.

short i know but just not much to say sorry. not feeling to well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Seinfeld VS real life

the Seinfeld group went today and they did a very good job they deff. knew their material. however i though it was funny when they talked about how Seinfeld is based on real life or is real life based on Seinfeld, iv never watched the show yet in class everyone talked about in Seinfeld how they had terminology that they started to use that now we use in everyday living. i have no idea what they were talking about but, the way i see it is that life now is a lot more liberal and open with things then it used to be. and Seinfeld show was out earlier in life and thats when people didn't talk about sex or talk about things that girls talk about with their girl friends or guy talk about in the locker room, so i think the show was ahead of its time in that aspect, however now in life i don't think people saw the show and said "we should be like that and be more open with things" NO! thats not what happen. i think the show was taking a chance and decided to talk about things that people don't talk about and show people that its not a bad thing, its just a thing that is always pushed under the run, when in all reality it would be the main talk on the top of the rug.

i love being open and i don't hid things, i love to talk about everything, i was raised that way my family and i are so open we know everything about everyone in our family,and i mean everything, and i wouldn't have it any other way. i know to many people that cant go to their parents with issues and feelings that they have and its hard on them because they need to let it out and it needs to be ok with the parents so that the kids are being able to fully express themselves.

but again its all just my opinion.