Posts Tagged ‘television’

Brief background: Summer Heights High

Before you continue our class discussion in the comments section below, you may want to visit this link, which is the YouTube channel dedicated to Summer Heights High.  Remember that you may encounter language and ideas that offend you, so play it safe.


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Brief background: The Bachelor

To continue our discussion, you’ll need to comment on your notes; focus on the concepts of Frankenbyting, stock stereotypes, and any constructive meaning to the show.  Also include some discussion of the rather excellent example of tone and control cut together by the group.

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Brief background: Laguna Beach

And here is a copy of my version of the archetypal hero’s journey, or monomyth (click for the full-sized version):

Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

Monomyth Key

Continue the class discussion on heroes, hero worship, and the archetypal journey in the comments section below.  (On a side note, I think this show, or at least its spin-off, eventually did produce a real Creature of the Nightmare.)

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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.)

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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.

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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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Copyright Bill Waterson.

It would be easy to lose ourselves in a study of television, a medium that lends itself to a complex discussion of the creator/audience dynamic as easily as to jeremiads about our national health.  What I’d like to suggest is a more focused kind of lost, if we can use a paradox: delving into a favorite program to find new meaning.  You will choose a program (perhaps a set of programs) and set off to explore, offering in the end a serious analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of what you have found.  And I am encouraging collaboration on this one; you are welcome to work alone, but it may require earnest collaboration to deal with the sheer volume of data you are mining.

First, let me confuse things a bit.  I am going to give you two documents that have been given to every iteration of this class, but you are not required to use either.  You will be given no due dates to fill in the blanks below, nor will you be graded on the formative process.  There will be a formative process, but the final product is what matters—just like the final product produced through this last post mattered.  You (and hopefully a partner or two) will conceive, create, and refine a paper that answers each requirement outlined here, but how you arrive at those answers is up to you:


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