The Daily Show

Brief overview: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Continue the discussion from class in the comments section.  You might wish to focus on the final contrast the group raised, between

  1. Jon Stewart’s use of parody as a prime component in satire; and
  2. the moments when that tone slips into frank seriousness.

The second one is somewhat disconcerting, but that is part of the point, I imagine; to watch a comic suddenly and vociferously attack another human being is jarring, and it draws a different kind of attention to the subject.  (You can watch a clip of that Crossfire appearance here.  And I would encourage you to read the speech Stewart delivered at the Rally to Restore Sanity.)


A note on adversarial augmentations:  Revisit the original assignment, and develop these discussions accordingly.

Brief background: Friends

Here are the relationship charts presented in class:

Chart #1

Chart #2

Chart #3

Chart #4

Brief background: Entourage

Continue the discussion from class in the comments section.

The original assignment:

After watching the film [The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello], draft a review.  Submit it on Monday, April 18th—upload a copy to Turnitin, if you are going to be absent—and it will be returned after our pseudo-break as a formative step toward our study of Inception.

This was preceded by many, many, many explorations of film criticism as a vehicle for critical thought and commentary.  And, as a practice run of sorts, this Jasper Morello review was given a curve in the gradebook: Any paper earning a 70 or higher (i.e., any paper meeting maybe half of the most basic requirements of a response) also received a 50/50 boost, which is effectively a 15-point curve (a 70 becomes an 85 overall, since the draft is half-weighted—but you know all this).  Here are the scores:

The DAMAGES rubric breaks down into seven distinct areas, and you have spent enough time with it this year to use those numbers alone to derive substantial, significant feedback.  You also have brief commentary to focus you, and if you handed in a hard copy on Monday or Tuesday, red ink aplenty on the printed page.  (You will receive everything back on Monday the 25th.)  Do not settle for looking at the numbers or my scrawled commentary, however; dig out the guidelines, weigh limited against inadequate or adequate, and use that insight to gear up for the real review next week.

If you didn’t do this review, of course, you have no feedback, no practice, and a zero.

Update: DAMAGES+ guidelines
The following are revised versions of the DAMAGES guides uploaded earlier in the year.  The Documents page has been updated, too.  Use these to clarify your performance, and expect to see them all again when your Inception reviews are scored.

All right. Let’s see what more than a month of preparation yields.  Here is the schedule for the week of April 25:

MON 4/25 TV projects: Seinfeld
TUE 4/26 TV projects: Friends, Entourage, and The Daily Show
WED 4/27 TV projects: Laguna Beach and The Bachelor
THU 4/28 Field Trip (P1-P4) | Film criticism: Inception
FRI 4/29 TV projects: Summer Heights High

On Monday, the class will be structured around the Seinfeld presentation. The group will have 10-15 minutes to organize itself and set up shop; in the meantime, you’ll receive your Jasper Morello reviews back and have a bit of time to begin reading the feedback.  Those of you who have elected to write essays for the TV project must submit them at this time.  Two other notes of importance:

  1. Everyone must check in their completed projects on Monday, regardless of any presentation date, and even if you make further changes to your work during the week.  Fair is fair.
  2. All written work, including PowerPoint slides and presentation outlines, must be submitted to Turnitin by midnight on the 25th.  This will check originality and digitally archive your work; without a Turnitin submission, your project will not be scored.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we’ll split the class period between the two groups that have been selected to present.  Three students will join forces to discuss Friends and Entourage on Tuesday.  After that, we’ll see The Daily Show, Laguna Beach, and The Bachelor.  Friday is a PLC; the final group, having asked for 30 minutes or so to introduce and discuss Summer Heights High, will present last.

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Whether we like it or not, Media Studies has entered the final countdown.  65% of you will leave to pursue your SEE projects on May 13th (appropriately, a Friday), and the rest of you will endure less than a month after that before the end of things.  I want us to end well—no bangs and no whimpers—and that will take a concerted effort on your part.

The most recent adversarial grades, covering our attempts to generate a DAMAGES framework for film criticism, have been entered directly into the gradebook.  Your score reflects the number of points you earned:

  • 24-36: A (90-100)
  • 12-21: B (80-89)
  • 0-9: C (70-79)

The relative lack of points underscores the necessity of augmentation.  You must seize the opportunities provided to improve your grade, and as the year ends, those opportunities may very well determine your final average.

What follows is an overview of how the TV projects will be adversarially discussed, collected, and scored from April 25th through April 29th.

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First, a quick aside: Your TV projects are still due on April 25, after your spring pseudo-break. You will be given two periods (on 4/18 and 4/19) to revisit this assignment; we will also determine the sequence and scope of each period from 4/25—4/28 at that time.  On the 25th, you must be prepared to submit or present your work.

Now, to film criticism: We are using movie reviews as a vehicle for insightful discussion and writing—to suss out the meaning of the world around us, more or less.  After you submit your TV-related work, we’ll spend a few hours one morning (hopefully on the 28th) watching Inception; then you will craft a review of the film that incorporates all that we’ve studied recently.  First, we’re going to practice with this:

The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

Andrew Allen, writing for the website Short of the Week, gives this summary and response:

Continue Reading »

The mind of Bay, according to Anders

Remember that the post dealing solely with Armond White’s review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will remain open a little while longer.  The rest of our focal reviews can be discussed here, including the David Edelstein piece we didn’t quite have time for.  In order of what we read together:

  1. Roger Ebert’s review
  2. Charlie Jane Anders, “Michael Bay Finally Made an Art Movie”

You can also load the entire criticism packet by clicking here.  As you continue the adversarial, feel free to get lost in the usual circuitous paths of debate; you should begin, however, to derive the general form and particular functions of film criticisms from the examples you’ve read.