CANDID CAMERA: AN ETHNOMETHODOLOGIST’S DREAM!
The TV show CANDID CAMERA was an ethnomethodologist’s dream. The crew would conduct BREACHING EXPERIMENTS on camera. The crew would “stage” a scene ahead of time, and then they would “breach” the people involved. The crew would place hidden cameras in the area and watch as the “victims” would attempt to “make sense” of what was happening. This was the essence of ethnomethodology; breach and watch as people attempted to “reorder” their “reality” according to their expected definition of the situation. Again, ethnomethodology says that CERTAIN RULES ARE IN CHARGE OF THE SOCIAL SITUATION.
During one episode, the crew was “breaching” at a funeral parlor. They placed a help wanted ad for an organ-player. What the “victim” didn’t realize was that the grievers in the chapel were also confederates of the crew. The candidates organists were each instructed to play the music in a specified order. The first couple of songs on the playlist “fit the mold” and evoked the mood of grieving. However, the third song was STAYIN’ ALIVE by the BEE GEES. The confederates all got up and started disco dancing. The organ player struggled to make sense of what’s going on. This breach is played on several prospective “employee” organ players. Eventually, the crew reveals the breach and the “victims” and crew get a laugh.