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May 1992


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Jeremy Butler <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 22 May 1992 08:19:44 CST
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>This doesn't have much to do with music videos, and you may already
>know this, but David Marc, in his book Demographic Vistas, does
>a Brechtian analysis of The Beverly Hillbillies.  Likewise, Denise
>Kervin, in an article entitled "Ambivalent Pleasure from Married
>...With Children," applies the concepts to that sitcom.
    Thanks, Matt.
    I'm familiar with DEMOGRAPHIC VISTAS, but not Kervin's piece.  I'll
    have to look into it.
    Actually, I'm not so sure that TV can be Brechtian.  It's already so
    fragmented and disrupted, and direct address (TV news spoken directly
    to you; car ads shouting in your face) is so common, that conventional
    Brechtian devices would have no impact.
    Plus, it's especially tricky to classify comedy as Brechtian--though,
    of course, Brecht used comedy for his own disruptive purposes.  When
    Dobie Gillis or Parker Lewis or Ernie Kovacs or George Burns breaks
    through the fourth wall the disruptive potential of such an act is
    recuperated within the traditions of comedy.
    What would be truly Brechtian, in my view, would be a DRAMATIC series
    that revealed its own devices.  This is what Godard was able to achieve
    in his films, starting with VIVRE SA VIE.  I see some possible
    potential for this in music video, too--though there, also, the
    tradition of direct address and non-narrative musical performance
    complicates the issue.