Custom «Response: "Parks and Recreation"» Essay Paper Sample
Quite often, when people watch TV shows and series, they do not pay much attention to the language patterns and means of the verbal and nonverbal communication. On the other hand, they focus on the storylines and the characters they like disregarding many important features such as the tone, pitch of voice, as well the different ways various characters communicate with each other. In the “Parks and Recreation” episode called “Ron & Jammy,” there are many examples of language usage issues as well as important nonverbal communication codes. They enable one to understand the plot better and realize the real meaning behind some dialogues. This paper aims to show the importance of using various language issues and nonverbal communication patterns while analyzing a particular scene in the episode in order to explain how these concepts influence the actual message of the scene as well as its main appeal to the audience.
The episode has numerous examples of language usage issues. For instance, there is a scene where Tom and Andy take a drunk ride to Chicago after Tom received a call from his former girlfriend. The scene represents such example of language issues as the usage of low language after the men realized that they were in Chicago. They did not try to sound sophisticated or intellectually when dealing with a taxi driver after realizing what had happened to them. However, their language changed greatly after Tom’s former girlfriend Lucy showed up. The men started speaking a different sort of language with her, which was not necessarily high in the definition but clearly more sophisticated and free from swearing and other low language elements. The way the men changed their language pattern can also be an example of a speech accommodation, when their language resembled the one of Lucy’s and was adjusted to the new situation that appeared. After they changed the setting and started communicating with someone new, they immediately adapted to the new person and thus, started using different tone and words. According to researchers, such situations as this one not only make people sound differently but also change their mimic while psychologically adjusting to the person they are talking to (Pennebaker et al, 2003). It is a good example of language usage issue, as well.
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It is interesting to point out that the scene with Andy, Tom, and Lucy has an example of nonverbal communication code such as paralanguage including the pitch and intonation they were using. It is evident when the men describe their reasons for being in the city. When Andy says he has been appointed a coach, he uses stereotypes and biased language. It shows that the first idea that came to his mind was resonating with the general stereotypes that existed in society about Chicago, its residents and the jobs that were popular there as seen by non-residents and people unfamiliar with the city. Moreover, when it comes to paralanguage, it is important to pay attention to the voice and intonation of the actor when he is speaking. When he mentions his job, his tone changes, and it is clear that he is imagining things. Although in case the viewer does not pay attention, this change may go unnoticed.
Further, Tom suggests that Andy works in a non-profit sector, which is another example of a biased language and stereotyping. However, in this case, it is a positive stereotype that shows a good attitude Tom wants to get while bringing up the non-profit sector. Nevertheless, this is a good example of nonverbal paralanguage. When Andy reacts to the job Tom suggested, the volume of his voice drops, the tone changes, and it is unclear whether it is done consciously or not, which is also a part of paralanguage.
Besides nonverbal communication as well as biases presented in men’s statements, this dialogue can serve as an example of connotation and denotation issue because the jobs they are speaking about have hidden meanings behind them when Andy implied something cool in his opinion, and Tom focused on something noble that might attract his previous girlfriend. In this situation, the viewers have to understand the connotation of words instead of simply laughing at the creativity of the two friends.
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Another interesting feature of this scene appears when Andy leaves the taxi and yells that the two are in Big Apple confusing Chicago and the nickname given to New York. Although it is typical for a comic show to have a running joke like that, the way Andy says it is a good example of kinesics because he stretches his arms around and expresses his happiness since the nickname he used was right. Kinesics as an important part of nonverbal communication enables one to understand the character’s emotions better because it shows that the reaction shown is genuine (Antes, 1996).
It is also important to mention that by the end of the scene, Tom speaks about the things he and Andy are about to do when they have free time in Chicago. They use some slang terms they believe are typical for people in Chicago. For instance, Tom says he is going to watch the Bears, while Lucy interrupts him in disapproval pointing that he is wrong. This moment is a good example of labeling, when a person puts a label on something or someone based on the lack or presence of the previous experience. Speaking about Bears and other things he thought were typical for Chicago, Tom not only made himself look stupid before Lucy but also put some labels on the people in Chicago. Besides, it reflected cultural issue in language usage that allowed understanding the character’s social identity as a result (Ochs, 1993). In order to be attractive for Lucy, Tom used some phrases he believed would help him to become more similar to people in Chicago. Thus, as he wished to become a part of Chicago culture, he used the words he believed were the part of this culture. Hence, in this episode, the labeling language issue was combined with labeling.
The language usage issues in this scene are also connected with such nonverbal communication code as oculesics. Oculesics, or the communication via eye contact (whether a person wants to maintain or avoid it), is a considerably important part of nonverbal communication (Govahi, 1984). The characters of Tom and Andy use it to implement their plan of attracting Lucy to Tom. When two friends speak about their reasons for getting into the city, or when they describe the jobs and simply communicate with Lucy, they make a lot of eye contact to inform one another without speaking directly to Lucy. The friends use this approach as an important tool to explain and present particular information between each other. Due to it, they are able to communicate, which proves the importance of oculesics in the process of communication. The scene is also humorous due to the eye contact and nonverbal exchange, and it is a good example of an individualistic approach to constructing humorous scenes that appeal to the audience based on the such nonverbal messages (Booth-Butterfield, & Booth-Butterfield, 1991).
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The episode under analysis presented many important ideas related to language analysis. Firstly, it was rich in language usage issues as well as nonverbal communication codes that have proved that the language can be comprehended in different ways. Secondly, the language analysis was more complex due to the fact that the show is comic, and the dialogues the characters have often served the purpose of making the audience laugh. Thirdly, the analysis allowed drawing conclusions about the influence of verbal and nonverbal communication patterns when analyzing the communication between people with different personal relations. For instance, analysis of the communication between Tom and Andy enabled one to see that these two characters were on good personal terms, and their usage of nonverbal communication was complementing the words they exchanged. On the contrary, when speaking with people less close to them such as taxi driver and Lucy, the friends used nonverbal communication as a tool to pass particular information they did not want to share with the others. In this case, nonverbal communication turned out to be something determining the closeness of connections between the characters. As a result, the conversations between the characters are witty and often filled with the hidden meanings and messages. However, many viewers are not always ready or willing to discover them, so the numerous examples like those analyzed in the paper may go unnoticed by the audience.
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Nevertheless, this episode proved that this show offers more than simple laughing since the verbal and nonverbal language explains a lot about people conversing with each other, identification issues, labeling and stereotyping, as well as exchanging information without using any words. Henceforth, the episode was both educative and fun due to the witty examples of language patterns that appeared to be funny and analytically deep at the same time.