Monday, June 8, 2009

Leverage ( Great for Entertainment, Bad for the Sleeper Curve)

is a show of comedy, suspense, drama, romance, sarcasm, tactics and wit. The show provides entertainment to a more mature crowd because of some of the content within the show. However, all around the show I feel is great and entertaining, because you can just watch it and not have a care in the world. Leverage does at a lot of things as far as media is concern, but the idea behind the concept of the show does not support Johnson’s argument of the Sleeper Curve.

The show that I am following is no doubt a very ingenious show, because it supports the idea that in order to do good one must do bad. However it does not challenge the mind, and go along with Johnsons’ idea of the Sleeper Curve. In this show it is more of a how we do what is done opposed to the typical show where one is trying to figure out the motive of a person. There is no typical “whodunit” it, or mystery or suspense that has you thinking each turns of the movie and just when you think that you have figured it out there is a twist to it. The show is pretty much based the same way each time something is stolen or lost and it is up to this team to go in and retrieve it.

Leverage is the modern day version of the show the A-team, it is based on an ex-insurance investigator named Nathan, who is wrongfully done by his insurance company (that he works for), when his dying son needs surgery, but the same company refuses to provide coverage for it. Nathan soon leaves the company to; and is connected and leads a team of vigilantes, doing good deeds for people all across the world, after the government refuses to help them. The motto of the team is they provide, leverage (a push to get over the top) when no one else is there to help to them. What makes this show interesting is that each one of the characters has a different trait to add to the benefit of the team. You have: Elliot which is the muscles of the team, Parker is the sneaky one, she can get in and out of an environment without no one even knowing, Hardison the computer whiz if it has a something to do with computers he can work with it, Sophie is the actor she poses as the undercover person to infiltrate what it is they need to, and last is Nathan he the brains behind the operation he provides the plan for the teams so mission to go as smooth as possible.

Johnsons’ idea of the Sleeper Curve is that the media as well as technology is actually making us smarter opposed to the present day stereotype: That the media and technology is hindering us from fulfilling our full potential as well as making us dumber, because the things that we are doing are taking little if no energy at all. Johnson's argument that today’s pop culture is making us smarter, I feel is indeed correct, but I feel that in order for that statement to be true the mind has to be challenged to new heights and that is what today’s pop culture is doing. Over time popular culture has made a tremendous transition it went from the media being a useless waste of time to becoming a new era of learning. Technology is the founding father of that idea; things that we use in our everyday life such as: television, video games, the internet, cell phones, etc. are shaping our minds into becoming a more influential and smarter society. This idea is the “Sleeper Curve”.

does take technology to new heights, because of the types of equipment that the characters use to help them succeed, but it does not support the argument of the Sleeper Curve, because the idea behind the show is not challenging. The basis of the show is someone usually of a richer background comes to the leverage team with a substantial amount of money in exchange for a retrieval of something very valuable to that person. There it is, you know exactly who took whatever it is that needs to get back, and you also know there motive for taking it (usually for money or some other type of personal gain). After those things are spoon fed to you the only thing to do, is just to watch the show and see exactly how the tactics that they use to get back whatever it is they need to. The show is very entertaining and it shines light to these actions, but unfortunately it does completely oppose the idea of the sleeper curve. Leverage is more of modern genre of shows that were set back in the fifties, where no one wanted a challenge when watching television they just wanted to be lazy and watch something on television.

Although Leverage is not the typical Law and Order, or C.S.I type of show that absolutely supports the Sleeper Curve it does support Johnson in other manners. In the book Everything Bad is Good for You, Johnson mention phrases in that exist in modern pop culture he mentions Multi-threading, and Flashing Arrows as well as character mapping. These ideas go into Johnson's argument of the sleeper curve.

Johnson talks about Multi-threading- a series of stories going on inside of the big story itself. Leverage provides a lot of these in throughout the episodes. One complex things about multi-threading is that it can go on during at the same episodes through the same scenes even at the same time and they can continue over a period of episodes; this usually leads to joke or inside humor in a later show. Johnson argues that multi-threading is “the most acclaimed structural convention of modern television programming”. According to Johnson multi-threading started with the show Hill Street Blues, 1981 and has increased over time to a multiple story plotline show such as The Sopranos. Although this show has multiple threads, one might argue that it does support Johnson’s argument; I however do not feel that way because the idea behind Johnson’s argument is that these ideas challenge our mind but in my opinion this rule causes for an exception.

Flashing Arrows are another thing that Johnson brings up in the book. A flashing arrow is a symbol that alerts us when something bad or very dramatic is about to happen, this idea helps shape the Sleeper Curve because the fewer flashing arrows the better because in a sense they help us think about what could possibly happen next. Leverage fails to make these apart of the show because of the story plot line. The Flashing Arrows are very subtle and one usually could not notice them. This makes it hard for one to put together the fact something is about to happen.

Even though my show does provides one these two huge components of Johnson's argument I feel it is still none the less not a very good argument of the Sleeper Curve. My show supports modern society ideas that television just makes us lazy because there is no thinking or effort in to watching someone do something and all you have to do is stand there and watch.

I do agree with the whole idea of the Sleeper Curve but not with the idea that Leverage supports it. The show is fun to watch at the times of being lazy or not feeling up to the idea of putting your mind to use, but what does that get us? Johnson's argument is not to get us to use more media but simply justify the fact that a lot of present day pop culture media is making is improving our intelligence, but as far as supporting Johnson’s argument unfortunately my show does not.

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