Building Narrative (Discussion)

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Signs of character[1]

  1. Viewer foreknowledge
  2. Character name
  3. Appearance
  4. Objective correlative
  5. Dialogue
  6. Lighting and videography or cinematography
  7. Action

How are these signs of character used to construct the characters in the "The Vartabedian Conundrum" episode of The Big Bang Theory? These screen shots mostly show their first appearance in this particular episode.

Two more screen shots of Sheldon

Star texts

  1. Explain how these terms apply to the study of television stars:
    • Stars as texts
    • Media text
    • Intertextual
    • Polysemy
  2. How does the textbook distinguish a "star" from an everyday "actor"?
  3. Choose one star principally known for his or her work on television. What are some attributes of his or her polysemy? Explain how, according to Richard Dyer's approach, his or her polysemy is constructed from:
    • Promotion
    • Publicity
    • Characters on TV programs

Selected stars

Signs of performance[1]

  1. Vocal
  2. Facial
  3. Gestural
  4. Corporeal

How are signs of performance highlighted by contrasting the performances of two actors in the same role?

  • Aka, a "commutation test"
  • For example, Meg Ryan and Lindsay Frost as Betsy in As the World Turns


  1. Jeremy G. Butler, Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture, 5th edition (New York: Routledge, 2018).
  2. Richard Dyer, Stars, Second Edition, Supplementary Chapter by Paul McDonald (London: British Film Institute, 1998).


  1. 1.0 1.1 Richard Dyer, Stars

External links

Richard Dyer gallery