I intend to discuss the issue of euthanasia in terms of how the subject is reflected in soaps such as Brookside. Firstly, I shall explain what the term Euthanasia means. I will then go on to debate why soaps deal with contentious topics such as Euthanasia. According to the dictionary the term Euthanasia refers to a painless death, as administered to avoid suffering by incurable disease. In other words, to help someone to die to stop them suffering unnecessarily.I believe soaps deal with contentious issues such as Euthanasia, for a number of reasons, firstly to create a dramatic storyline so they can attract a larger audience. Although it is illegal to perform Euthanasia in the United Kingdom, the media industry tries to compete for audiences and ratings with other soaps.
Secondly, to raise awareness and to introduce an unbiased view about Euthanasia so that people can discuss with others their thoughts on the topic in the real world. I will now go on to discuss how the issue affects characters in Brookside.I shall start by conveying what has occurred in the scene and previous episodes related to this scene/episode, In the soap, the characters Elaine and Mick are married. Elaine’s mother Gladys is very ill and is diagnosed with cancer and bedridden.
She had previously tried to commit suicide but this was in vain as Mick and Elaine found out what she was planning to do and intervened. One night Mick and Elaine had just entered Gladys’s room and were shocked to find that she had a pillow over her face and that she was trying to suffocate herself.Elaine tried to stop her from taking her own life, but Gladys firmly holds Elaine’s hand on top of the pillow. Mick tries to pull the pillow off Gladys’s head, however instead of pulling it off he applies extra pressure to the pillow and suffocates Gladys. Then we realise he has committed Euthanasia not an act of murder. I think the aims of the programme makers were to make the issue look as realistic as possible as if it was occurring in real life.
To do this they have to set the scene using the main features i. e. ameras, lighting, editing, dialogue, costume, action. I will now go on to analyse the scene. The editing is quite talented, it builds up a sense of anxiety within each shot and within the character. This is done by editing the shots so that they are only a few seconds long this single-handedly builds up the drama. Also the action builds up the shots speed too and it is at this point we realise how far into the scene the editing occurs and how much of the scene is edited.
Another factor is the costume and make-up, which adds to the emotion portrayed in the room.This is shown by the clothes that Mick and Elaine are wearing they appear to be ‘scruffy’ which suggests they are having a strenuous time looking after Gladys and they have not changed their clothes for a few days. The make-up that they are all wearing portrays them as being pale, nervous, as though they are emotionally stressed. Also it highlights that they haven’t washed because they have been too busy looking after Gladys. The make-up style on Gladys portrays her being ill, she is shown as being pale with greasy hair this can be related to another feature ‘action’.The action in the scene was intended to be tense, stressed, and the movements of all the characters were similar , this was all achieved by changing the actions in the scene. Gladys was portrayed as being ill, her movements were weak, this was shown by her making slow uneasy actions.
Every movement by Gladys is countered by Elaine and Mick, as the action intensifies Mick and Elaine’s actions became more panicked. There is very little dialogue and what is said is slow and uneasy which adds to the build up of emotion in the scene.It is obvious that the script was well thought out. The first words are said by Gladys, which are; “.
.. help me..
. please” she says this as though she is whimpering and is about to cry (this is most likely done to show how much pain she is in). The next words to be said are by Elaine after Gladys has pulled the pillow over her head;”..
. no mum… please.
‘help me’… ” she says this to Mick who throughout the whole scene stays quiet as though he was unsure what to say or what to do.
My initial thoughts were that Gladys was the main character, but it turns out to be Mick and partially Elaine. I think this because of how the cameras show dominance of Mick and Elaine over Gladys. The cameras use a range of shots in the scene, although most of them are close up shots that show character emotion. In addition, I have noticed the point of view shots are taken from Mick’s perspective. The cameras set a mood that can be best described as ‘illegal’ as the high angle shots on Gladys make her look vulnerable, this raises a question as to whether Gladys is the victim or not?Another factor to consider is the lighting, although very little light is used in the scene, it is used to good effect. The limited light is concentrated on the centre of the room , directed towards the main focal point, which is Gladys. Even though there is no visible light source, the light looks as if it is set low on the wall.
The way the lighting is used looks very sinister with dark shadows cast across the room, these shadows add to the emotion and atmosphere in the scene as it emphasises a ghostly image as if something mysterious is happening or is about to take place.All the above factors add to the creation of drama by increasing the amount of action in each shot that adds to the suspense of what is going to happen next. It makes the viewer ‘ sit on the edge of their seat’.
It is interesting that they had to re-shoot the scene because it allows us as the viewers to experience the scene as though it is actually real, for example; when Gladys was trying to suffocate herself in the first scene the actress who plays Gladys was doing it herself where as in the second shooting there was a double which took this shot and made it look more realistic than the first time.In conclusion the main reason as to why they re-shot the scene was because they wanted everything to literally be perfect and so that they could corrected any errors. Also they may have re-shot the scene to re-create the right atmosphere and suspense which ensures the scene was believable and reflects a real situation or dilemma.