70’s show analysis

That Seventies show                           

 

The episode of That Seventies Show “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” is a good work of art as a whole because it has substance and deeper meaning but lacks the humor that would normally be associated with the characters.  Even when evaluating this one episode, there must be some context particularly because the episode is uncharacteristic of the series.  The production does succeed in showing deeper ultimate values within a comedic framework. 

The show begins in a basketball court where six friends gather to play horse talk about girl problems.  One scene later we have the main conflicts of the episode looming.  An ill tempered grandmother is going to spend the day with the family after church while the grandson agrees to spend time with the old lady so as to deflect the unpleasantness aimed at his mother. 

The scenes move upstairs to downstairs, from the family adult world to the basement where the kids hang out and goof off.  The camera angles are standard sitcom for the most part, a range of medium shots centering on the person speaking or being spoken to.  There are times where the characters are sitting in a circle and the camera rotates around from the point of view of the food.  This is a visually stimulating way to get a quick jump from person to person without cuts.  The best material value comes from the dialogue and the acting who are at the same time very normal and very funny.

One of the most creative techniques for telling the story is when we hear the inner monologue of the characters.  Moving from one person to the next while they are sitting in church and hearing their prayers tells us a lot more than any conversation could.  The mother wishes the grandmother would go away, the grandmother asks god “whats with all the polacks”, the son asks god to do his homework and the father’s prayer to god is “would it kill you to let the packers have a winning season”.  To maintain the feel of the seventies or at least remind the viewer that it is not a contemporary show, the transitions from scene to scene are a background of hippie graphics, old music and the characters jumping around on screen.

At the end of the episode, the son is doing his term paper at one in the morning because grandma occupied him the whole day and his mother comes down to sneak a cigarette. We see the moral of the episode in this short conversation where the tension created by the family visit is finally over; the mother and son are content to be with each other and appreciate the unpleasant sacrifices each of them has made.

 

 

Medium shots

Close shots from middle of the table

Leave one by one while the camera rotates

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