Saturday, May 12, 2012

Assignment: Communication TV Show

This week, we were asked to watch an episode of a show we were unfamiliar with. So I decided to look around for reruns and came across an episode of Home Improvement from the 90’s. As I watched the show with the sound off to observe nonverbal communication, the show appeared to be about a family. The first scene showed a woman talking to two children. I assumed this was the mother. Soon after, a man who I assumed was the dad walks in and kisses her. The mother points to a grade report on the refrigerator. Next we see a third child come in. He talks to the mother until she holds out a package of cookies which she refuses. One of the boys from a previous scene comes in and she offers cookies to him as well which he also refuses. I assumed there must be a joke behind that because kids don’t usually refuse cookies.

Next, they show the dad and an unrelated man working on a car in the garage. Things seem to go well until his wife comes out and it appears as though she’s bothering them. The husband appears frustrated and the unrelated man is talking with the wife about something. At another point, an unrelated woman comes in and I assumed that she was related to the second man. They have an argument and even give angry looks to the wife. After that, the wife goes into the yard where she starts to talk to a man who does not show his face. Another unrelated woman comes out and it appears as though they start arguing, but the wife leaves the conversation with a smile on her face.

Eventually, they all meet up at a veterinarians office with a turtle. The wife tries to talk to the unrelated woman, but she looks away from her. The dad smiles and says something before walking away from the two women. The wife hands the couple a card which the man tares up.

My assumptions were right about the show being about a family. While watching the show with the sound turned back on, I discover that Jill, the wife is a psychology student. She posted her own grade report on the fridge because she was proud of it although her husband, Tim makes jokes. The three boys are their sons. The one she offers cookies too is Randy and the cookies reoccur throughout the show because Jill believes that the best way to get people to talk is to offer them cookies. They also show Randy with a girl whom he likes which ends up being the daughter of the unrelated couple. The unrelated couple is friends with Tim and Jill. The conversation out in the garage started out with Tim complaining about his wife and she overhears. Then the friend starts complaining about his wife and Jill offers psychological advice. This is unethical because she is a student. This is what caused the arguments later in the show. The husband is upset with his wife because she has to do everything that her father says, but then their anger turns to Jill when they find out she is only a student. The husband thought she was an actual psychologist. The man who does not show his face is Wilson, their neighbor and the other woman who came out to talk to Jill was Judy, someone he was dating. Jill wanted advice about how to repair the relationship that she had broken up, but the couple kept arguing about quotes and poetry. Jill was able to take some of the quotes as advice and realized that sometimes it’s better to stay out of people’s arguments. She apologizes to the couple and offers them a business card for her psychology teacher Judy, but the man tears it up stating that they will find someone on their own. Jill wonders if she would really make a good therapist. Tim cracks jokes, but then reassures her that she will be great.

I was right about the show being light hearted and full of jokes. Tim and Jill had some serious conversations, but mostly they used jokes to keep situations calm and humorous. There were some parts of the plot I didn’t pick up from having the sound turned off. It was a little confusing with different characters being added in, but since they were paired off, I assumed they were couples. The verbal communication gives you information and little details that you would miss. For example, I didn’t realize that the woman talking to Wilson was actually Jill’s psychology teacher until I listened to the plot. While watching a TV show, small details like these aren’t that big of a deal, but in personal or professional situations, we need to listen more carefully. Sometimes the little details are important. Also, when we communicate with others it’s important to not just focus on one aspect of communication. We need to use information from both verbal and nonverbal communication to really understand what the other person is saying and feeling.


  1. Fascinating! I'd like to try this with my kids. I think I'll record a show we've never seen, watch it and try to determine what is happening, and then watch it with the sound on to see how much we picked up on.

  2. You are right that one can not focus on just one aspect of communication, very good point. It is true that having a situation on mute makes a difference in reality, especially when it comes to professional communication. I was not sure how to put these findings into words, thank you for sharing and for a thorough explanation of what you observed. PS I really enjoyed your website format too, the background is really cute.

  3. I am a big fan of Home Improvement and have watched the show for years. I agree with the statement that you mad about small details. There are some small details that have the potential to be great in the long run which is the reason why we, as professionals, have to learn to do a better job with communicating what we want as well as what we don't want to the students.

  4. Hi,
    I love your background!Besides that, thanks for sharing the thorough detail of the show you watched. It seems that even with the sound off, you were able to pick up on multiple things through observation and that your assumptions were correct. Before this experience,I never imagined what it is like to watch a show with the sound off and the effects it has on an individual. It made me realize how special the deaf are and the struggle of their condition. Thank you for sharing.

  5. That show used to be one of my favorites. I loved Tim he was so comical. Watching that show a person would have so many different views on what was happening.Although I dont watch much television these days but this assignment was helpful as we used non verbal cues to try to distinguish what was happening.Very nice blog.

  6. This show was one of my favorites years ago.Tim is so comical. Using non verbal cues this week with this assignment was helpful as it is important to be mindful of how we must be able to distinguish the non verbal skills that individuals use and how to best deal with them.


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