Representation of waterloo road in TV drama
Within TV drama and modern society the generalised stereotype of teenagers is that they are a disruptive menace to the community. They are also portrayed to be inconsiderate and selfish in there thoughts and actions. This is within heavy contrast to the elderly who are perceived as being grumpy old nags, stubborn, dressed in brown and unable to adapt to modern equipment we now live upon. During this extract within the waterloo road school I believe the stereotype of typical teenagers are maintained and the characters represented to fit this categorisation with the aid of mise en scene, sound, camera angles and editing. The first indication of age in the clip is with the mise en scene of the surroundings, clearly that of a school which is obviously a place associated with children, the bright yellow walls and busy displays connoting the bright youthful environment as opposed to a boring black and white office block for adults. A conformation of the children’s age is the fact they are dressed in school uniform with short ties and short skirts representing teenagers as being rebellious and disobedient. A typical action of the young desperate to stand out as individuals whilst breaking the rules, and contrasting with the appearance of the adults dressed smartly and boringly. For example Grantly in his tweed suit, an amplification of his old age through the stereotypical use of the dull colours and the symbolism that the too is now dull and stubborn and boring. In contrast one of the younger female teachers portray sher present youth with the contrast of smart formal trousers and then a vibrant pink top. Depicting her as an adult and professional, with the formal clothing, whilst still incorporating an essence of her younger age. In later a scene where the fat teacher decides to have a new image and dressed in trainers and wild top, his older age is emphasised by the fact he appears so out of place and ridiculous. He’s presented to the audience in a humorous manner and this represents the idea of only the young being able to get away and fit with this ‘cool’ and casual image, also that adults just can’t wear this ‘ghetto’ style. Representing the old and young as divided in the fashion world.
In the opening of the next scene a establishing shotis used and is accompanied by a close up low shot of some brown shoes walking past chair legs. The zoomed in approach amplifies the significance of the feet and allows the audience to establish the accentuated slow and almost suspicious walk. The cut to a two shot of some teenage boys linksthe separate frames and connotes that these boys are being shifty and are up to no good, hence theaccentuated approach of the teacher. This represents teenagers as being trouble makers and likelyto ignore the rules and act inappropriately. The close up of student and teachers faces in two shot, emphasises the boy’s youthful appearance and uniform, and acts as a direct comparison to that of the teacher clearly far older and more wrinkled. The mid shot of all three characters together allowsthe audience to determine the body language between them and we can see the two boys appear tobe standing with their heads down avoiding eye contact, while the teacher has his hands casually inhis pockets and head tilted to them in an authoritative and almost patronising manner. From thisage is represented as the older population having authority and control over the younger characters,and that older people can enjoy the power they have and almost revel in it. The use of panning isused further in the clip when the fat teacher is trying out a new look and the camera pans from histrainers up to his head. This shot is used to create momentary confusion and suspense as to whose the shoes belong to and contradicts the audiences’ preconceptions of the expected character. The trainers and clothing are items associated with that of a young teenager however it is the teacherwearing them. The use of this shot highlights how out of place the teacher is in his outfit, simplybecause of his age, and suggest there are socially acceptable difference and norms between agegroups.The use of sound contributes to the representation of age with the use of dialogue. Within the first scene we are able to establish the relationship between students and teacher with the use of the term‘Sir’ indicating a level of respect between the older and younger characters and the authoritative role the adults play. Age is represented as a hierarchy, the adults having the most control and importance with the children and students least. The way in which Grantly uses the very direct order ‘Give it!’ also connotes his more powerful position because the students are forced to obey him. His subsequent tuts at the kids in a patronising way also connotes his demeaning behaviour and his lack of respect for the children, emphasised with him saying ‘Oh did he hold your hair?’ The older age group are represented at this point as being disrespectful to the young and can sometimes abuse their position as authoritative figures. The digetic noise in the corridor scene sets an environment of liveliness and busyness, reflecting the vibrant and energetic age group. There is also the introduction of non-digetic club like music in this scene, which is synchronous with the following fight that begins with two students. The upbeat and fast paced song is appropriate to the age of the characters as it is in a style associated with their age group and is also relevant to the building pace of the scene. The music also amplifies the significant of the fight and represents teenagers as being rowdy and aggressive. Slang is used by the student’s repeatedly throughout the clip and whilst reflecting background also relates to their youth and suggests that it is common place within a younger age group.
Throughout the extract the editing is used to perform cuts quickly from frame to frame, creating a fast-paced atmosphere reflecting that of school life. This coincides with the energy of the young students as well as the chaotic time that the teachers have at school. This emphasising the misbehavariol nature of young people and hints to the amount of discipline commonly used by the enforcing teachers.