"News outlets from ABC News to Entertainment Weekly reported this week that one State Department document released by WikiLeaks reveals “the American programming on [privately-owned channels that air American shows] is winning over ordinary Saudis in a way that … U.S. propaganda never could.”
The document states that according to unnamed Saudi sources, American movies and TV shows are the most effective at presenting a positive view of American culture in Saudi Arabia. Among the most popular shows and movies listed are “Friends,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Michael Clayton.”
This is a pretty fascinating example of the power of movies beyond entertainment. Movies and TV shows paint a portrait of American life – what we’re interested in, what we value, what kind of relationships we have. “Michael Clayton” is about fighting corruption, something the document says Saudi audiences admire about the film. “Friends” is about a group of people who support and care about each other, just living their ordinary lives. The characters are likable personalities that people can relate to, whether they live in America or overseas.
It’s interesting to think about what other movies and TV shows could present a positive view of American life and values to foreign audiences. How about a show like “Community,” which follows a tight-knit group of friends that vary in age, race and religion? Or a movie like “The Dark Knight,” with its fight against corruption and the glimmer of hope it offers that plenty of good people do still exist?"
Re: Michael Clayton and Friends More Powerful than Propaganda
I find this easy to believe. There is a more subtle message in these films that even the gurus of advertising simply cannot match. The messages are hidden behind "fiction" used to represent a "reality".
Michael Clayton's story I find interesting, but Friends? Despite its popularity, Ill go out on a limb and say that that show is probably one of the worst POS ever made. It has very few redeeming features. NO ONE in Manhattan lives or talks like the people on that show. No one!