The Sleeper Curve and Multithreading

Topics: Episode, Television, House Pages: 2 (491 words) Published: September 29, 2014
Professor Kyle Loughman
English B1A – Online
23 September 2014
Multithreading and House, M.D.
Johnson’s idea of multiple threads in watching television fundamentally lies in his overarching theory called The Sleeper Curve. A thread is a strand of information in one scene; a scene can have up to ten threads increasing the complexity of the show. Multithreading is “keeping [these] densely interwoven plotlines distinct” (Johnson 63). In comparison to earlier television shows that only followed one or two stories, today’s features present a greater deal of complexity. The plot lines in shows like Starsky and Hutch and Dragnet are easy to follow. The story begins and ends in each episode, requiring no follow up in later episodes. Modern television shows that develop complex plots require a certain degree of engagement from its audience. The challenging simultaneous plot lines require viewers to “intuitively track narrative-threads-per-episode” in order to truly comprehend what is going on (Johnson 72). With multithreading, the audience is required to “integrate far more information that [they] would have a few decades ago” (Johnson 72). House, M.D., a popular modern television show, has many threads that make it challenging to keep up with the episode. Every season has several conflicts that remain unsolved for several episodes. For example, in season three, the main character, Dr. House, manages to land himself on the bad side of Detective Tritter, the main antagonist of this season. Detective Tritter started out as Dr. House’s patient, but upon being treated badly by Dr. House, begins a vendetta against him. When he discovered Dr. House’s reliance on Vicodin – a narcotic, Detective Tritter is determined to expose him and have his medical license removed. This conflict extended across six episodes. The season ended with Detective Tritter’s departure after losing the court case against Dr. House. In developing multiple plot lines, the audience is often left with...
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