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Sumreen Siddiqui
A2 Media
Discuss 2 or more media texts that you would define as ‘post-modern’ and explain
why you would give them this label. Refer to at least 2 media forms in your answer.
Postmodernism has been very difficult to define, its reaction to the modernism era has
allowed it to represent itself through key conventions. As ‘modern’ originally refers to
something related to the present. It is used in critical theory to analyse different works of
medium. Postmodernism was the basis of the attempt to describe a condition, or a state of
being or something concerned with changes to institutions and conditions as post
The ‘Mighty Boosh’ is an example of a post-modern sitcom. In the episode ‘The Nightmare of
Milky Joe’ we are presented with many examples of postmodernism and are able to relate
them to critical theorists. Jean Francois- Lyotard, a famous postmodern critic who wrote
‘The Postmodern Condition’ criticised that ‘there is an increasing scepticism towards
metanarratives. Metanarratives can be grand narratives where a story encompasses and
explains another story; this could then refer to the postmodern convention of
intertextuality. This is demonstrated within the extract as main character Vince takes his
‘Kings of Leon’ CD with him, which he also uses as a mirror. This can allow us to link Jean
Baudrillard’s theory of hyper reality that may demonstrate hyper-consciousness as
characters have blurred boundaries between what is real and what is fiction; and narcissism
as some characters may prefer a simulated image of themselves created through branding
rather than the reality of themselves. A narcissistic individual is someone who has a
fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. This theory can also be associated with
the Mighty Boosh as ‘Howard’ says ‘I’m the writer, I should survive’ as hyper-consciousness
is used. As the whole episode forms into a fantasy for Vince and Howard as they feel they
are stranded on an island, therefore the quote above is a representation of hyper reality.
Narcissism has been portrayed many times in this extract. Vince’s physical appearance
presents him to prefer himself in a simulated version of himself, his concern about his hair
and others appearance. For example, Vince cuts the Captains hair because through his
perception the Captains hair looks bad. Another example of this would be when Vince says
to Howard ‘Your leaves are out of fashion’. This therefore demonstrates narcissism as Vince
comments on Howard’s appearance in terms of fashion, due to this statement Howard may
feel threatened and unhappy towards his dress style. The satirical imitation of the moon
may also connote conventions of hyper reality as in reality a moon cannot speak, through
the diegetic sound; the dialogue, the moon thinks its ‘beautiful’.
Vince’s 1970’s clothing celebrates the 1970’s and its glory as his costume is very nostalgic in
terms of his red satin shirt that can represent danger, love. The theme of danger is used in
the postmodern sitcom as Vince and Howard are stranded on a desert island. His big hair
and metallic boots also conform to the 1970’s. When the song ‘isolation is performed by
Howard, the use of mise-en-scene represents it as parody, where Howard plays the flute and
through his facial expressions we can link that ‘Precious’ who was killed by Howard is
influenced in ‘isolation’.
The music video – ‘We Made You’ by Eminem is a great example of a postmodern text as it
consists of many key conventions. Referring to Lyotard’s theory of metanarratives as
intertextuality, we can identify many intertextual references. The music video begins with
Eminem: ‘Jessica Simpson sing the chorus’ the lyrics correlate with the visuals as ‘Jessica
Simpson’ is portrayed. There are many other intertextual references: Kim Kardashian,
Britney Spears, 50-cent, Elvis, Amy Winehouse, Dr Dre, Star Trek and Guitar hero. All of
Sumreen Siddiqui
A2 Media
these celebrities are presented with the lyrics correlating with the visuals this is a convention
of Goodwin’s theory of music video as well as the use of parody (a satirical imitation of a
text) with the intertextual reference with most of the celebrities allows us to label this video
as postmodern. Eminem’s reference to Elvis Presley can be seen as nostalgic and the visual
representations of many of the celebrities may seem narcissistic e.g. Kim Kardashian’s
physical appearance imitated in a voyeuristic manner.
We can also apply Gilles Deleuzes theory as Eclecticism and Bricolage (where a text consists
of a variety of influences, techniques and contributions) can arise from his theory the
Rhizomatic thought where rhizomes are molds, fungi, moss and there is no central ‘trunk’ or
‘core’ compared to his Aboreal thought of structure. There is no hierarchy as each part is of
equal status to every other as a ‘body without organs’ does have organs. This can therefore
be interpreted to Eminem’s postmodern music video with the use of Star Trek, Guitar hero
and Transformers as they are very random.
I would give both texts a postmodern label as they both present many key conventions of
postmodernism justified through important critic’s theories e.g. Lyotards and Baudrillards
theories of ‘The Postmodern Condition, Hypperreality and Simulation’.