Week 6 Blog Post

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Before reading the Butsch article, I was not aware of the connection between advertising and a show getting on the air. It makes sense that TV networks want to play it safe and air programs that will appeal to advertisers. When Butsch mentions that advertisers want to "glamorize their products" it is understandable that they would not want them to be associated with an unglamorous show. Another point in this reading is that, given the middle-class background of most TV producers, creating a show about working-class characters would be too time-consuming. "The small, closed community of those engaged in television production, including Hollywood creators and network executives, shares a culture that includes certain conceptions of what life is like and what the audience finds interesting." So he is saying that the shows that make it onto a major network are a reflection of the views that these middle-class producers have on life, and other views are usually ignored, which is sad because it means that shows are created from the same, narrow class perspective.

I really enjoyed the Beattie article. I watched Roseanne a lot when I was a kid and, being from a working-class family, I remember feeling like it was the only show that I could somewhat relate to on a personal level. In the reading, Bettie says that one of the biggest reasons for the show's popularity was because viewers thought the Connors were like "real" people "as opposed to the 'middle-class characters of most sitcoms.'" That was how I felt when I was a kid, like the Connors could be people who lived next door, or in my neighborhood. There was one thing that I did not point out when I was leading the discussion on this reading. In the 1980s one of the most popular shows on TV was an NBC show called Family Ties. It featured a middle-class Midwestern family. In one episode, the father (who is the manager of the local public television station) brings home a painting from an art auction held at the station. He says he felt bad because it was the only painting that was not sold. The painting is of dogs playing poker, just like the one the Connor family has hanging in their living room on Roseanne. Obviously, the Connor family likes this painting, or else it wouldn't be in their living room. On Family Ties, however, the father (who really doesn't like the painting that much) shows the painting to his wife and says something like "I don't know, I thought maybe we could put it over the fireplace" and she looks at it (obviously disgusted) and says "How about in the fireplace?" Throughout the rest of the episode, the father tries to hang the painting in the kids' bedrooms and they all get angry about it and tell him to find somewhere else to put it. That is one way in which shows that try to portray their characters as "classless" end up making a statement on class, whether it is intended or not.

1 Comment

You make such an interesting argument! I definitely see what you are saying about how producers make these claims (whether accidental or not) on television. I want to add that there are these reoccurring themes throughout reality television as well. It seems like nowadays, all we watch is reality television, and on the contrary- the reality stars we watch don't live "real" lives. They are shown doing activities that NO ONE normal can afford, or do. There are so many ubiquitous symbols that we take in as consumers, and we don't really even see it. Somehow, these messages torment us, and reassure us that we are the minorities, or not good enough because we don't have the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

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This page contains a single entry by DarkStar published on February 28, 2013 8:12 PM.

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