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November 2004, Week 5


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Dennis Bingham <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 29 Nov 2004 20:12:02 -0500
text/plain (114 lines)
There was MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT, which lasted a year, I believe, around
1973 or so.  It starred William Windom as a James Thurber-like author-
cartoonist and used animation based on Thurber's drawings.  It had first been
a movie, entitled THE WAR BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN (1972), starring Jack Lemmon.

In PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES (c. 1966), based on the bestselling Jean Kerr
novel (and the Doris Day movie), Patricia Crowley plays a housewife who writes
about her housewifely-cum-published-author life.  It's telling that the
heroine's theatre critic-husband, played by the debonair David Niven in the
1960 film and based on Kerr's husband, Walter, had in the series become a Ward
Cleaver-like all-American type (I don't remember the actor who played him).
Both of these are in the warm-and-wry comedy-of-daily-life category.

Of course, there's MURDER SHE WROTE. . .

I agree with Jeremy that TV gravitates more to the zany comedy writer/
journalist vein (Oscar Madison the sportswriter in THE ODD COUPLE would be
another example).  It's not exactly Kirk Douglas as Van Gogh but who can
imagine that as a weekly series, with ear slashings in between commercials?
Then again, who would want to?

Dennis Bingham

Quoting Michele Hilmes <[log in to unmask]>:

> Seizing this opportunity to stop grading exams and do something
> interesting....I will give your actual question more thought, but it
> strikes me that the one type of creative cultural endeavor that you do see
> represented on TV is the tormented, zany producer/writer of
> radio/television shows.  From Jack Benny through Fred Allen to Dick Van
> Dyke, Murphy Brown, Frasier, WKRP, News Night, etc. etc. it's a carryover
> of that self-reflexive, "show about putting on a show" aesthetic so
> characteristic of network radio in its formative period.  I believe it
> carries over from vaudeville onto radio and thence TV.
> Not exactly the Romantic artist -- but perhaps a pointed comment on that
> whole concept?  The poor man/ lowbrow's equivalent?
> An interesting observation, Jeremy --  If people reply directly to you,
> would you consider routing their comments to the list?
> Regards, Michele
> At 02:29 PM 11/29/2004 -0600, Jeremy Butler wrote:
> >I'm currently working on a revision of the textbook, Television: Critical
> >Methods and Applications.  Specifically, I'm revising/enlarging the
> >chapter on critical methods.  Although I think the auteur theory has very
> >limited application to television, I have a small section discussing it.
> >
> >This has led me to thinking about the Romantic, Byronic conception of the
> >artist--meaning both painters and poets, novelists, musicians, et al.--as
> >a tormented and usually demented individual.  While it's easy to come up
> >with dozens of examples of FILMS about such poor souls (e.g., POLLACK,
> >BASQUIAT, etc. etc. etc.), I'm struggling to think of a single television
> >series.
> >
> >I suppose there's THE MONKEES and FAME.  And LOVE, SIDNEY did cast Tony
> >Randall as an artist.  But surely there are better examples than that.
> >
> >Or does episodic television not favor the Romantic artist as a stereotype
> >the way that the cinema does?
> >
> >I have been thinking mostly of U.S. television since that is where the
> >textbook is principally distributed, but I'd be curious to hear about any
> >instances of television series (and not just one-time documentary-style
> >biographies) centered on an artist, author, or musician.
> >
> >Thanks.
> >
> >
> >Jeremy Butler
> >[log in to unmask]
> >========================================================
> >Resources for film/TV educators and students:
> >
> >Television: Critical Methods and Applications:
> >
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >The SCMS homepage:
> >
> >SCMSTV info and archive:
> >
> >SCMSTV is supported by the Telecommunication and Film Department, the
> >University of Alabama: .  Opinions expressed here do
> >not necessarily represent the those of SCMS, the TCF Department, or the
> >University of Alabama.
> Michele Hilmes
> Professor of Media and Cultural Studies
> Director, Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research
> Department of Communication Arts
> University of Wisconsin-Madison
> 6040 Vilas Hall
> 821 University Ave.
> Madison, WI  53706
> 608-262-2543
> 608-262-2547
> 608-262-9953 fax
> ----
> Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
> University of Alabama:

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