Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mute Communication

For an assignment this week, we had to watch an episode of a show we've never seen before, but with the sound off, to analyze communication styles, the character's relationships, and non-verbal cues.

I chose the show The Grinder, from Fox, solely based on the fact that my husband has really been wanting to watch this show.

As the show opens you see a family watching a season finale of a tv show called the Grinder. The main character of that show appears to be a lawyer, as they pan on the family watching the show, that main actor (Rob Lowe) is sitting there, with whom I'm guessing is his brother (Fred Savage), his brother's wife, their 2 kids, and I'm guessing the brother's dad. Everyone in the room, except Fred's character, seemed very excited about the tv show. It clips to Fred's character who seems like he's venting to his wife, but they appear like they really love each other, as she tries to cheer him up. Their son knocks on the door and looks like he may be mimicking his uncle's tv show character.

As the show progresses I gather that the brothers really do like each other and have a great relationship with their dad. Fred's character is a lawyer in real life, but it seems like everyone else around him is turning to his brother (Rob), the actor who portrays a lawyer, for legal advice, including a negotiation at the dinner table between Rob's character and his nephew on one side and his niece and her boyfriend on the other side.

There is also this portrayal of the real lawyer being more of a homely character while the actor is all styled up, until mid-way through the episode where it looks like the actor is trying to pretend he is a real lawyer, and now seems like he's looking or acting like his brother.

It was interesting how much more I paid attention to other detail of their body language, clothing attire, if someone had a wedding ring or not, and facial expressions, when I didn't have the sound and dialogue to lean back on. It was hard though because as much as I forced myself to pay attention, it was hard to not feel lost. It would have been a lot easier if I had already seen this show or knew the characters because I would have already had context, foundation, and known plot lines to go off of to determine what was going on.

We re-watched the episode, with sound this time. It was definitely a lot funnier with the audio! And it turns out that the brother (Fred) really didn't like having his brother around, they weren't as close as I thought they were. And his wife wasn't trying to cheer him up, she was actually making fun of him. But yes everyone else was preferring "Rob's" legal advice over the real lawyer's.

All in all I was probably 50-50 on figuring out communication. Which honestly proves that listening, really listening, is the strongest communication asset that we have and when it's not used there are so many misunderstandings that can occur.


  1. Danielle,
    I was also more aware of things with the sound off. I'm not sure I would have noticed the characters clothes or the surroundings if the sound had been on. I wonder if that is our mind trying to make up for the loss of sound. When we are unable to make sense of a situation we try to fill in the gaps with understanding from other areas.

  2. Hello Danielle,

    It is amazing how we pay close attention to the detail when no sound is involved. I realized that it is quite a few TV shows that I don't watch. I think that watching a TV show with no sound puts things in perspective, because we have to pay close attention to every little detail in the TV show.

  3. Hi Danielle,
    I was also more aware of persons clothes as well as physical attributes. Listening vs just hearing is indeed a strong communication asset. When paired with observation and cultural awareness so much can be learnt and said, with and without words :). Thanks for sharing...take care until...