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November 2004, Week 5


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Michele Hilmes <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 29 Nov 2004 15:10:22 -0600
text/plain (81 lines)
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
>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.
>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

608-262-9953 fax

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