“Cheers”: A Semiotic Analysis by Berger
In Arthur Asa Berger’s essay, he conducts a semiotic analysis of the comedy television show “Cheers.” In his analysis of the show he points out many characteristics that refer to semiotics. Even though one could not agree with all of his findings, many of them are reasonable. One discrepancy someone might have with his ideas is that he applies his analysis to simply one episode rather than the entire series. Berger could have been able to conduct a more thorough examination if he used the whole series as a basis for his semiotic analysis. There are many examples Berger uses to explain his point.
One such example Berger uses is the instance about the signs. He states that there is more than one significant meaning of the word “cheers.” One definition is the joy of happiness or joyous clapping or shouting. Another possible meaning could be something done at a special occasion with wine or other beverage to propose success. Either way one sees it, both meanings apply to the plot of the show. This is what Berger is trying to explain in his semiotic analysis.
Another example Berger uses is the example about the names of the cast of the television show, “Cheers”. Berger states that there is a definite meaning behind every character’s name in the show. For example, the character named “Coach” is an absent-minded character that can’t even remember his own name. The real meaning of the word “coach” is a mentor or a teacher. This is not a very good argument used by Berger because any name could be made to have different meanings.
One of the final examples Berger uses is the example about opposition. In this example, Berger explains how the writer of the television show used the personalities of the different characters to make them opposite. If looked into carefully the characters in the show have opposite...
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