The format of the makeover show is a familiar one to us. If there’s any novelty to it, it’s the fact that emotional reactions to events in the storyline take on greater importance than the events themselves. Emotions are the basic components of the “creative language” of the genre. In this MediaLit Moment, your freshmen and sophomore students will have the chance to become fluent in ‘makeover’ by staging brief scenes and reacting to events in ways which defy conventional expectations.
Ask students to act out a scene from an imaginary makeover program which breaks the conventions of the genre.
AHA!: When I act out this scene from a makeover show but don’t follow the rules completely, it doesn’t feel like a makeover at all!
Key Question #2: What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
Core Concept #2: Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
Key Question #2: Construction: Does my message reflect understanding in format, creativity and technology?
Key Question #4: What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?
Core Concept #4: Media have embedded values and points of view
Grade Level: 9-10
Materials: Television, DVD Player, DVDs of sample makeover shows.
Activity: To prepare for this lesson, rent or buy a DVD of a makeover show, and note the time markers for specific sequences: 1) the story of the makeover recipient’s problems 2) the expert team “selling” the makeover they will perform 3) the big “reveal”
Begin the activity by asking students about makeover programs they like (These can be makeovers of any kind, including weight loss, home makeovers, “supernanny” makeovers, etc.) Ask them to list the basic components of makeover shows. Play short clips from each sequence from the DVD. For each clip, ask, what emotions are being conveyed, and what emotions are the scenes supposed to evoke from the audience?
Tell students that they’re going to sketch out (or write a script for) a short scene from an imaginary makeover show. The show should have a title, and the scene should feature clear emotional reactions. The scene must include one emotional reaction that is unexpected. They have plenty of artistic license to make fun of the genre. Ask students to gather in groups of three or more to sketch and play their scene.
Optional: Stage a short example. Cast yourself (or a willing student) as someone who has just received a facelift or other body/style makeover. This person expresses their excitement about receiving the makeover. A small group of students mills around the person who has been made over. They should make small talk and ignore him or her entirely.
If time permits, ask one or more groups to stage their scene in front of the class. If not, end with a discussion of their experience with staging the scene. What are their thoughts and feelings about playing “against the rules”? What did they learn about the responses that makeover shows expect from participants? Experts? The audience? What are the values and beliefs “behind” those expectations?
The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework. Used with permission, © 2002-2013, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com