Ideological Analysis traces its origin from the Marxist theory of Culture. It specifies the knowledge produced by the television related to cultural practices and relics on the audiences of television. These positions and knowledge’s of the cultural text which in this case is television provides and links the viewers with the class interests and economy of the television industry which again is a branch of larger cultural industry, comprising of radio, film industry, music industry and print media. Ideological analysis derives from the fact that all the cultural artifacts including the television shows are created for the precise audience groups, and in a specific historical context. The purpose of this analysis is to comprehend culture as the type of social expression. The television shows or other cultural artifacts are based on one specific historical theme; hence they are thought to be communicating and promoting the values, beliefs and ideas in the context of such specific theme. This aims to comprehend the enactment of the specific theme and its values, beliefs and ideas.
Moral Orel was an American animation television show which is aired on Adult Swim. The show comprises of several provocative and sexual scenes and is based on the religious theme of Christianity. The show displays the fictional city of Moralton, a U.S. state Statesota, the fictional state. The chief character is Orel who is a student at Alfred G Diorama Elementary school. Orel is influenced by the Christian religion and is in continuous attempt to adhere to the moral code as defined by the Christian religion. The theme is based on the deteriorating moral conducts of the residents of Moralton. Majority of the characters displayed in the TV show are either miserable or world-weary, and the reason of their problems is displayed as originating from their Protestant Christianity.
The Ideological Analysis of the TV show Moral Orel displays the values, beliefs and ideas centered on the Christianity and the child Orel displays the individual need to ensure the adherence to the ten commandants of the Christianity. As per the theory of Marxist, the society is conceived as the intricate interrelationship of the various institutions and practices prevalent in society at a given time. Applying this to Moral Orel, this can be stated that the TV show addresses the depleting religious values from the society and the residents of the society blaming their religion for the problems in their lives. A certain class of society people are depicted in this TV show, and the character portray of Orel states the requirement of the desire to be religiously correct by the society people.
The ideological analysis of an individual show or a specific episode of a TV show or any other cultural artifact is relevant to the comprehension of the television ideology. The ideological analysis of the TV show depicts the insights and the methods of several approaches to psychoanalysis, analysis of narrative, study of genre and analysis of texts and others to differentiate the available meanings via the medium and the programs displayed by it. The individual analysis of the specific episode of a TV show demonstrates the development of plot and the naturalization of the succession of events. To understand this more clearly, we will discuss the episode “God Fearing” of the TV show Moral Orel.
Moral Orel, as discussed above is based on the residents of fictional town Moralton and their deteriorating morals and beliefs in the Protestant Christianity. In one episode of the show, it has been stated that being protestant one should not have any emotional warmth. The episodes in first season of the TV show revolve around the Sunday church sermon and the attempts by Orel to follow them in the following week leading to the disaster always, owing to his misguided attempts. In the specific episode being discussed here, aired on February 27, 2006 the theme is Halloween and the town children are being taught the methods to remain safe on Halloween. The costumes with the signs of God are the only safe clothes to be worn on the day of Halloween, as specified by the Police Officer to children. The children are planning to go to the haunted house hosted by Church on the night of Halloween.
However, Orel does not feel the feeling of fear in the haunted house and shares the same with his friends. He reasons that since Jesus and God are always with him, he does not feel scared in the haunted house. Next days in Church, he learns that the God forgives the sinners if they repent. This makes Orel plan to make God angry with him by committing sins to fulfill his wish to feel scared once. He decides to break the ten commandants and will ask forgiveness of God next day by repenting. He succeeds in breaking all the commandants and only the third commandant remains to be broken which states that “Thou shalt not kill” which Orel is not able to break. However, this commandant also breaks when Orel assists an old man in crossing the road that in turn gets hit by the car and dies. Knowing all this, Orel’s dad gets Orel to meet the Church pastor who explains to Orel that not only Halloween, but on every single day on this earth, every individual should be scared of God only as he has the power to create the diseases, hurricanes and foreign cultures.
In this episode, the existence of God and the power of it felt by the small kid. This reflects on the faith which an innocent child has on the existence of God as the child Orel firmly believes that if God and Jesus are on his side, nothing can scare him. This demonstrates the power of faith and belief the innocent heart of children has. Also, the temptation to sin and later beget forgiveness from the God is also displayed in the episode as a normal ritual. This demonstrates the common thinking of the society people that asking for forgiveness erases all the sins committed by them and hence, committing sins is not a big problem since God is always there to forgive them. The child’s learning from the sermon indicates the community feeling towards committing sins and asking for forgiveness.
The detailed analysis of the narrative of this specific episode of the TV show demonstrates that the faith and belief of the people of city in God are though shaking still present as evident in them attending the Sunday Church regularly. The decision to commit the sins and then to seek forgiveness narrative shows that the serial follows the society myth and lies on the border of the religion and it’s following in the society.
As per the Althusser’s comprehension of ideology, the social subjectivity is also a field of the ideology which includes the myths, religion, language and others as the function of creation of the individuals which portrays the production and recognition of individual’s identity. In this area, theory of subjectivity is developed in terms of the social process. Upon judging Moral Orel on this theory of subjectivity, the social process of religion and Sunday mass displayed here reflects the individuals character and also helps in binding the audiences to the show.
The episode also captures beautifully the tension and confusion of a child in understanding the God and its power. The end of episode which shows the preaching by the pastor that every individual should be scared of God all the time and should follow the religious themes to have God on tier side always depicts the deep feelings associated with the religion. The other episodes of the TV show depicts that Orel slowly loses the trust and faith on the morality taught by the Church and considers it wrong in relation to ethical views.
The classical Marxism implies that television is a harmless medium of television. However, the in reality, the shows aired on television impacts the audiences sub-consciously and also derives its fundamental themes from the issues prevalent in the society at that time. Applying this to the Moral Orel, the TV series also demonstrates the losing faith of the actual people in the God and addresses the same in a light manner. The show gives a light air to the deep stream of religion and discusses the prevalent issues in the way of a child posing questions. The myths, incorrect morality and double-standards of the society pertaining to the religion are displayed in the confusion and the issues faced by the Orel in following the religion. The episode of God Fearing which is discussed here also brings out a very important theme of ten commandants and the natural behavior of people to commit sin and to seek forgiveness later.
The animated serial Moral Orel demonstrates the religious side of the society class depicted in the TV show. The show addresses the issues faced by the innocent people on the religious side. Also the serial is famous for being provocative and sexual in its episodes and the combination of religion with sexual provocative narrative and scenes shows the values and beliefs of the society. The comprehension of television’s ideological production takes into account the impact it has on its audiences. The popularity of a television show increases the impact and the reach of it in terms of the audiences. The classical theory of Marxist puts special emphasis on this point. The theory of social subjectivity put forth by Althusser discusses the modes of representation and the social subjectivity as the social process. This covers the narrative and the background displayed in the TV shows. The morality as taught by the Church Pastor and the town elders is the central theme and becomes the social process in the TV show Moral Orel. The ideological analysis of the television shows imparts great learning on the theme of the television show and the intent behind it.