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Film and Television Criticisms: Similarities and Differences of Male Characters Essay

Male portrayals on televisions have greatly evolved from the standard hero stereotypical illustration of primary male characters. During the entry of 21st century, masculinity among male roles have expanded and included variety of multicultural forms. In fact, the current illustration of masculinity has adapted to the liberal trends of society and even considered various facets of sexual considerations than the common romanticized absolute hero-portrayal of males.

In addition, the male sexual domination against feminism is now becoming less frequent compared to the males roles of the 20th to early 21st century. Background of the Problem During the entrance of 21st century, various cultural modifications in various countries worldwide have occurred due to globalization, western influences and the decline of the concept on gender discrimination. Due to the vast liberalization on gender and influences of globalize and liberalized environment, communities, especially in United States, are now evolving the gender portrayals from conventional to a more equalized stature.

As for these socio-cultural modifications, gender roles in media and entertainment are also being influenced by the shifting of idealism. In terms of male roles in entertainment, the common hero stereotypic roles implicating absolute masculinity have already diverted in accordance to the prevailing trends of the society. Since the public is now open to different variations of sexualities, male behavioral patterns and the society’s awareness on multi-gender variations, roles portrayed by males in variety of television programs have been modified to more multi-faceted and diverse forms.

In an effort to illustrate these conditions, three movies with different genre and cultural implications have been selected are analyzed based on the similarities and differences of male roles in the television programs of the 21st century. Discussion The Male Characters of Prison Break Prison Break (2005) is an action, thriller and drama- based television series created by Paul Scheuring with the primary characters, Michael Scofield (portrayed by Wentworth Miller) and Lincoln Burrows (portrayed by Dominic Purcell).

The two main protagonists play the role of brothers who aimed at escaping the prison penalty before Lincoln faces his trial of execution penalty due to the false accusation of murdering the vice-president, Terence Steadman. The two characters are hindered by the antagonist group called, The Company; although, despite of the trials and obstacles beneath the prison walls of Fox River State Penitentiary, the brothers are able to save themselves from the grasps of the covert agents of the said group. Prison Break is one of the best male role portrayals in the television series as of 21st century.

From the given overview, the brothers are confronted by the issues of their past and the accusations made against Scofield’s brother, Lincoln. Three of the most notable strengths of the brothers are (1) brotherly bond to each other, (2) Scofield’s expertise in construction engineering and Lincoln’s genius skills, and (3) their comrades who are also escapees of the prison. Meanwhile, most weaknesses observed among the brothers are sometimes (1) their immediate concern to their comrades ending to self-risks, and (2) frequent conflicting plans and misunderstandings.

Despite of these strengths and weaknesses, the brothers are motivated to escape the prison and live the free status that they are supposed to possess. Schofield already considers the little or zero possibility of uplifting the verdict to his brother; hence, both of them hope to escape the grasps of their chasers and live out of the claws of their enemies. The roles of the two characters are portrayed in a masculine sense where the sensitive attachments as brothers are very much evident. From the physical features and role portrayed by the brothers, each role manifests a sense of interdependency with each other.

The Male Characters of Dante’s Cove Dante’s Cove (2005) is another film oriented to a horror and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) genres created by Michael Costanza with gay couple, Gregory Michael and Charlie David, as the primary characters of the series. The television program is another face of the male role portrayals that are liberally being introduced to the public in the 21st century. The gay sexual orientation of males is one of the considerations to the vastly evolving male culturalism in the film industry, which essentially provide a different course depiction of male portrayal.

In the story, Kevin (portrayed by Gregory Michael) is a formerly discreet bisexual who happened to fall in love with his seasonal buddy, Toby (Charlie David) who actually works as a bartender in a haunted hotel at Dante’s Cove. During the middle section of the first season, Kevin is able to realize what he wants and decides to leave his prosperous life with his mother and discriminating father-in-law to live in with Toby at Dante’s Cove. Upon Kevin’s arrival to the area, he is confronted by various premonitions from the warlock antagonists, Ambrosius Vallin (portrayed by William Gregory Lee).

In the story, Kevin has accidentally freed the warlock by a simple kiss from the prison-enchantments of another antagonizing character, Grace Neville (portrayed by Tracy Scoggins) – the witch of Dante’s cove. By freeing Ambrosius from his prison, he sets out to hunt his so-called destined lover in the persona of Kevin. Meanwhile, being the former lover of Ambrosius, Grace hunts the love of Ambrosius (Kevin) in order to avenge herself from the warlock’s betrayal of her love 50 years ago. The couple is now confronted by the immense witchcraft of the two members of high-orders.

The task of the Kevin and Toby is to maintain their emotions to each other despite of the efforts of the two antagonists in breaking their relationship apart. From the given overview, the strengths of the primary characters present in the film are the (1) emotional bonds to each other despite of gender issues and (2) the aid coming from their comrades from the cove. However, certain weaknesses observed in their male portrayal are (1) their fragility against lies, (2) gays’ stereotypes of polygamous nature, and (3) the emotional set backs that occur between the two.

Meanwhile, some of the observed motivational behaviors present in the two primary characters are their attachments to one another and the supporting atmosphere they obtain from their bisexual and lesbian friends. Throughout the film, Toby and Kevin hope to finally obtain peace with their ideal form of gay relationship; however, the greatest fear confronting the two is their separation from one another. Despite of their gender similarities and the moral-culturally considered taboo, the couple has evidently established their ideal perspective of gay relationship while maintaining the external nature of their masculine behaviors.

The Male Characters of Heroes Heroes (September 25, 2006) is a drama, science fiction television series created by Tim Kring with his primary character, Peter Petrelli (portrayed by Milo Ventimiglia). The story revolves in the discreet existence of evolved human beings capable of using unnatural powers inherent within their genetic structures. Each evolved superhuman possess either destructive or supportive form of unique abilities. The main antagonist, Sylar (portrayed by Zachary Quinto), is an evolved form capable of absorbing the powers of other superhumans by actually devouring their brains.

Sylar moves with his intent of capturing the key to his immortality with the power of the Cheerleader, Claire Bennet (portrayed by Hayden Panettiere). Unlike Sylar, Peter Petrelli possesses the unique ability of absorbing one’s power by simply getting near towards these people. Unfortunately, he enters in without recognition in his skill and unable to manipulate the absorbed powers at his will. Peter is confronted by the complex task of saving his kind from the deadly virus released by a group of individuals who wants their kind annihilated.

The science fiction film revolves in the lives of various complicating lives of different characters of the film; however, the concentration of tasks and the primary role as the hero is vested in the character of Peter Petrelli. In terms of his strengths as the male role of the film, he possesses (1) distinct and non-replicable skill of obtaining one’s ability in the simplest way, and (2) comrades that are also equipped with unique abilities.

Meanwhile, despite of the heroic character of Peter, his identity in the film is surrounded by critical weaknesses that serve as his primary obstacles prior to achieving his goal of defeating his antagonists. Some of these identified weaknesses are (1) his incapacity to control his powers and abilities at his will, (2) his fragile emotions when it comes to his brother Nathan Petrelli and his loved ones, (3) unable to recognize his own potential, and (4) his fear towards his own abilities.

Meanwhile, despite of the weaknesses of his character, Peter is motivated by lost of his brother, Nathan, the death of his loved ones, and the abduction of his girl during his travel in the future. Out of these obstacles and discouragements, Peter still hopes to rescue his girl and his brother from their circumstances; however, he is still confronted by the fear of the destruction he can cause and fear of loosing his love ones in his own hands. Conclusion: Analysis of the Three Chosen T. V Programs

In analysis of the male character portrayals from the three chosen television programs, particularly Prison Break, Dante’s Cove and Heroes, there are certain similarities and differences observed among the characters of the said programs. In consideration of similarities, Prison Break’s brothers – Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows – depict the anti-heroic roles in terms of the storyline’s plot. The masculine sides of the brothers are further exemplified by their complex relationships involving a different sense of heroic act compared to the conventional heroic roles of male portrayals in the past.

Meanwhile, Dante’s cove similarities in Prison Break is its ironic male roles of anti-masculine portrayal in terms of sexual orientations in the film wherein Kevin and Toby are confronted by the issues of saving their queer relationship being confronted by the horrifying witchcraft of the antagonists. Lastly, Peter Petrelli of Heroes is more similar to Prison Break’s brotherly linkage as with his brother, Nathan Petrelli, who is very much emphasized in the plot of Peter’s journey.

In terms of the character similarities, the primary male roles of the said three television programs have already diverted to a different heroic stereotype common in the 20th century film plots. Meanwhile, in terms of the differences showed by the three primary male roles, each possesses differences in relation to the use of multi-culturalism components, gender portrayals, and defining characters of masculinity. As for Prison Break, the brothers are confronted by the emerging complexities of brotherly conditions.

In a cultural sense, Prison Break illustrates the conventional role of brotherly affection; however, gender concerns might suggest the questionable bonds of brothers. In addition to cultural components, the nature of their role as prison breakers even distort the 20th century heroic male roles, such as the romanticism influenced-heroes. In Dante’s Cove, the male roles of Kevin and Toby are confronted by issues of cultural liberalization in terms of their illustration of free manly affection, which is actually considered non-manly by cultural norms.

However, as for the film and the definition of masculinity, Dante’s Cove is able to raise the concept of manliness in a more behavioral sense than with sexual choices or preferences. Obviously different from the two male portrayals of Prison Break’s brothers and Heroes Peter Petrelli, Dante’s Cove couples have altered the components off masculinity by portraying it outside the common stereotypes of male film roles.

Lastly, the character of Peter Petrelli in his diverse heroic role in Heroes has actually portrayed a fragile heroic role. Initially with his low self-compliance and belief in his capacities, his masculinity is confronted by a weaker illustration of identity, which is another diversion from the usual romanticism heroic view. In conclusion, as of 21st century, male roles in television programs have indeed evolved to more complex and diverse heroic portrayals.


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