In the words of Steven Avery in his very thick Wisconsin accent, “hello, how ya doin’?”. Today we will be looking at where does Making A Murderer fit in reality. In other words, how is the show realistic to the time of all the events, where and what it would look like on TV, and what is in the program that truly brings people in to watch. For Making A Murderer, it represents reality in the way that the creators of the show wanted it too. They wanted to show a man that is guilty until proven innocent. They wanted to show a “corrupted” police department. That is the reality that they were trying to portray. As well as, create scenes that make the show seem horrifying to create dynamic and music to create mood that you can relate to a horror movie with.
First, lets take a peak at where Making A Murderer would be on TV. When you look at the most popular crime shows on TV, they are all at 9 PM or later. They also are all about the same amount of time, an hour long program, as M.A.M. . However, with M.A.M being on Netflix, I think it works out so much better because they are allowed to run it a little longer and truly show what happened during Stevens trials. Netflix has demographics stats here showing here that 58% of Americans watched Netflix in the 1st quarter of the year. Now in the case of rating, its tough to figure out with a Netflix series, however, Business Insider figured out that after a month, 15 million people had watched each episode of M.A.M. which would put M.A.M in the top 10 most viewed shows on TV.
The show itself was created and released this past December, however the main part of the show is focused in 2005 even though it stretches from 1986 to now. Looking back at 2005, some pretty big events happened. George Bush admitted the government had been spying on its people, Pope John Paul II passed away, and Hurricane Katrina ravished the whole southern part of the country. Now, none of these events had any effect on what happened during this case but you could throw Avery’s case a major event in the state of Wisconsin for 2005.
The intended audience for Making A Murderer personally would be in the 18-49 demographic. According to a New York Times article, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, LOST, all averaged about 15 million people weekly for each episode, with 1 out of every 10 people watching it being 18-49. With Making A Murderer being a show with characteristics from each of those shows, I would assume that they are trying to go after the same target audience. And as said before, 2 paragraphs above, with 15 million people watching M.A.M, you would be able to get that same audience as well.
The show is a documentary so their is no true product placement. However, you could look at product placement when Brendan ask if he can watch Wrestle Mania. I mean who doesn’t love a few sweaty dudes fake punch each other in the face for 15 minutes at a time.
The show describes societal and cultural values in the way of who has the most power. From the top down, the “rich” in this sense is the police department and the “poor” is Steven Avery. We are brought to light by the creators of how growing up in a rural town has its hardships and how you can’t truly run away from your problems if you’re a “bottom feeder” like Avery. In the very 1st episode of the show, you have people in the community calling the Avery’s, “low life’s”, “inbreeds”, and “criminals” without even really hearing who Steven or the Avery’s are.
Another value viewed, or reinforced, is about the police. In the show, we are presented with the Manitowoc County Police Department very early, within the 1st few seconds actually. The creators of the show wanted to make it so the department was the antagonist from the get go. According the the graph below, just about 50% of Americans today trust the police.
People are fearful of the cops. Even the government doesn’t trust the cops. It is stated that 42% of Democrats, 51% of Independents, and 69% of Republicans actually trust the police. In my house at least, I grew up around cops so I didn’t have a fear of them. But, since coming to college. I’ve experienced a much different feeling. I have had roommates deal with cops before and the stories they bring up are very disheartening. Which is what I feel the creators have used. They want people to be able to relate to cops treating citizens unfairly and have that fear that they can get away with anything. Below is a chart of the fear that Americans have in the police.
If I had access to ads, I mean, I would probably use ad space for lawyers since it’s a crime show and I could imagine that lots of people have probably complained or made an illegitimate report within the past 3-5 months of this show being released. The society and cultural values in the show can be looked at as the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. When you look at how people are portrayed in life, the poor are usually on the losing end. They are looked down on, people don’t respect them, and have more stereotypes than anyone else. When Avery is wanting $36 million dollars in return for his wrongful conviction, the police department goes out of there way to try to frame this man for murder (hypothetically). You could say that the show reinforces societal issues by the bigger man going after the little man but that’s how life is. An example: I enjoy reading Barstool Sports. They have just created a new podcast called “Pardon My Take”. The name of the podcast is a play-on-words by 2 ESPN shows, Pardon The Interruption and First Take. Disney, which owns ESPN just sent a Cease and Desist letter to them threatening to take legal action if they didn’t change the name. They still haven’t change the name. Think of Barstool as Steven and ESPN as The Police, what do you think is going to happen?
The aspects of the show are represented as reality because it is reality. The creators of the show however used the right type of scenes to create build up and suspense the have the audience on edge. They would scenes such an over view of the lot to try to draw a diagram of where Steven could of killed Teresa.
They used creepy, and erry music to get your spine tingling. The induction to every show is a creepy, almost death like feeling every episode. With a ear piercing violin, it gets the audience on edge and I think that the creators wanted that to happen. They want the a viewer to think horrible, almost horror movie like scenarios to take place.
In conclusion, the creators of the show wanted to create reality by letting us use our cultural values and knowledge to figure out how this show is. We use the idea of poor vs. the rich, power vs. nothing, and the disheartening confidence in the police. They also create images and music that makes the reality of Steven’s life harder and tougher by showing creepy images and music that should be in horror movies. Within all of this, the creators did a great job re-creating reality of Steven Avery’s life and allowing the viewer to bring their own experience and try to place themselves in each situation that is brought up.