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On 8/15/96, Chris M. Worsnop asked:
 
>Why is it that all American houses in sitcoms seem to be designed with a
>front door that enters directly into the living room, and a staircase that
>comes down into the living room?
 
I guess I just don't get it. What's so unusual about this?  In the vast
majority of American homes, the front door opens into the living room or a
foyer/hallway, and if there is a second floor the staircase comes down into
the living room  or the foyer/hallway.  It's only in trailers where you
find the "front" door leading into the kitchen.
 
>Why is it that central characters in TV and movies can always find a parking
>spot directly in front of the building they are going to enter?
 
Would anyone want to waste time showing (or watching) someone looking for a
parking space and/or walking from car to building unless the searching
and/or walking was somehow important to the narrative?
 
>Why does it never rain in movies unless someone is feeling miserable, or
>being burried?
 
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is a major counterexample.  In any case, the so-called
"pathetic fallacy"--climate and setting reflecting the mood of
characters--is a lot older than Hollywood or the the cinema.
 
>It might be fun to collect a master list of such questions, print them up,
>and offer them to teachers as fruitful topics for investigation in media
>education.
 
Roger Ebert in 1994 put together a book of movie cliches, EBERT'S LITTLE
MOVIE GLOSSARY, which lists all sorts of things like the above.
 
--Richard
 
Richard J. Leskosky                        office phone: (217) 244-2704
Assistant Director                             FAX: (217) 244-2223
Unit for Cinema Studies                   University of Illinois
2117 Foreign Languages Building   707 S. Mathews Avenue
                                                         Urbana, Illinois
61801
 
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