To introduce textual analysis, we have watched and dissected episode one of the dark-comedy TV show, Flowers.
How is mood created?
The different types of shot used by the film crew allows for the intentions of the characters to be easily determined, which leads to the viewer being easily triggered sensing the mood, as wanted by the script writers.
A good example of how the camerawork assists the mood’s creation would be the beginning of the episode. As Maurice takes his chair and rope towards the tree, multiple close-up shots are used of Maurice and of insects in the local area, such as slugs. The close-up shots of Maurice’s possessions allows the viewer to realise the reason he is carrying them, and the insects darken the mood.
The mood is further darkened, and a sense of fear brought towards the user, as close up shots show Maurice’s struggles reflected upon the hanging rope. This is then reversed, when a wide-angled shot of the branch falling, and his suicide attempt failing, creates a sense of humour (especially when combined with the sound design).
The crew of Flowers have utilized diegetic and non-diegetic sounds to create different effects upon the viewers. Diegetic sound proports to come from the world of where the film is being made, for example a telephone ringing, whereas non-diegetic sound proports to come from the creation world – an easy example could be music playing throughout a scene.
The opening scene of the programme, where Maurice Flowers attempts to hang himself, is has the narrator’s narrations over the scene as non-digetic sound, and is left of only necessities for the diegetic portion of the sound. This method of presentation creates a dark mood upon the viewer – when combined with the other portions of the scene’s design.
The narration’s content tells the scene’s moments, as if the scene was from a book. The narrations are placed into a beat which sounds like a children’s book. Although this is displayed by the beat of the narration, the words that are being said are not those which you’d expect to hear in a children’s story. Instead, they are depicting the scene in a dark and unhappy mood. This helps the viewer to connect and understand Maurice’s feelings, but also displays the amount of unhappiness which Maurice is feeling.
The programme, throughout, is filled with mixed happy sounding non-diegetic music. This music is used, and played, in the presence of a funny event. This creates humour with the viewer being able to easily detect the mood by the music’s theme.
The contrasting music and unhappy narrations between the opening scene and the character introduction scene displays how the rest of the family do not understand Maurice’s sadness, or that he is hiding it from them.
In the opening scene, of Maurice attempting to kill himself, the viewer is never shown the full scenario until the branch snaps. This increases the tension for the viewer, but also forces them to piece the multiple build-up shots together, in order to work out what Maurice is doing.
The reaction shots of Maurice receiving his anniversary present allow the viewers to see the sadness which Maurice is feeling. A sense of humour is injected by these shots, as the camera switches between Maurice’s sad and insulted face, and his newly received book “How to be happy”.
A lot of continuity editing has been used throughout this episode, to great effect. The chronological scenes are presented in a manner that each comes after the other, with no confusion between time. This allows the viewers to integrate with the characters, as the show feels like normal life. This also allows the viewers to quickly learn at the same stage the other characters do, which involves them further.
The environment for which the characters are placed presents a dark mood, combined with isolation. A typical countryside in the UK is used for the filming, which allows viewers in the UK to easily grasp the different ideas which are being spread – especially viewers from more rural regions. The Weather in the episode is dark, gloomy and overcast, which darkens the mood but also reflects upon the family’s lives.
The clothing for each character is stereotypical of them – Deborah, the wife of Maurice, wears a set of clothes typical to the appearance of a housewife (which Deborah seems to play). Donald, the brother and more ‘nerdy’ sibling is presented to the viewer in that stereotypical way. During the character introduction scene,his room is cluttered with electronics, which suits the stereotype from his hobby, engineering.
Amy, the ‘musician’ of the family, is presented in a completely different manner to her parents and sibling. She is shown with a pale face, and dark brown hair. The hair is of a length which it acts as a frame to her face. Her clothing is rather unusual, but fits with the stereotype. She portrays the stereotypical emo or goth, although this is shown more throughout her actions, then her appearance.
Shun, Maurice’s illustrator, is Japanese. He is shown in a stereotypical manner, by being very polite to Maurice, and by his illustrations. His art depicts anime characters and odd ideas (which would not stand out in japan). This creates the familiarity between the viewer and their stereotypical Japanese.