Demographic Vistas: Television in American Culture by David Marc

By David Marc

In Demographic Vistas, David Marc exhibits how we will be able to take tv heavily in the humanist culture whereas having fun with it by itself phrases. to house the barrage of messages from television's chaotic historical past, Marc adapts instruments of theatrical and literary feedback to target key personalities and genres in ways in which gift critical scholars and informal audience alike.This up-to-date version contains a new foreword via Horace Newcomb and a brand new creation via the writer that discusses the ways that the character of tv feedback has replaced because the book's unique e-book in 1984. a brand new ultimate bankruptcy explores the anomaly of the diminishing value of over-the-air broadcasting in the course of the interval of television's maximum enlargement, which has been led to by way of advanced applied sciences reminiscent of cable, videocassette recorders, and on-line providers.

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Compare the brilliant kabuki-like choreography of the original Honeymooners to the awkward, misplayed revival in the sixties; Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph were never quite replaced. Though Lucille Ball was able to stay atop the ratings throughout her sitcom career, she would never again attain the comic heights she had achieved with Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. Lucy's artistic demise was due not only to the inferior comic technique of her later efforts (The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy), which can be explained in show business terms as "inferior timing," but more importantly to the absence of the mythological syntheses of I Love Lucy: male and female (Ricky/Fred vs.

Serial narratives in the movies were usually action-oriented. Flash Gordon, for example, was constructed so that each episode built to a breathless, unfulfilled climax designed to bring the patrons back to the thea- 11 Demographic Vistas 12 ter for next Saturday's resolution. The action of the sitcom is far too psychological for this. Urgent continuity rarely exists between episodes. Instead, climaxes occur within episodes (though these are not satisfying in any traditional sense). In the movie serial (or a modern television soap opera) the rescue of characters from torture, death, or even seemingly hopeless anxiety is used to call attention to serialization.

Series such as Dragnet, The Mod Squad, and Ironside surrender their credibility as "serious" police mysteries after only a few years in syndication. They self-destruct into ridiculous stereotypes and cliches, betraying their slick production values and achieving heights of comic ecstasy that dwarf their "serious" intentions. This is an intense comedy of obsolescence that grows richer with each passing television season. Joe Friday a messianic madman. The Hill Street Blues return the favor to Starsey and Hutch.

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