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May 1993


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BRIAN TAVES <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 6 May 1993 16:03:16 GMT
text/plain (26 lines)
          Pam--While this  is  not  directly responsive  to  your  request,
          perhaps it will give some ideas. I believe the single father
          sitcoms you have noticed are part of a broader motif, extending
          beyond simply either television or comedy, making a fundamental
          statement about Hollywood's typical construction of gender
          importance and family needs. Whether the sitcoms and others
          mentioned, or dramas, or countless Disney films, we are presented
          with an "essential" family that consists of father-and-children.
          Mothers and motherhood are simply absent, rarely even considered;
          these basic father-and-children families find themselves entirely
          self sufficient without even considering the possibility of
          feminine influence.It seems a way of reducing the feminine even
          beyond a subordinate role until it vanishes
          altogether.Ironically, this seems most frequent in entertainment
          directed at children (ie, Flipper), and I recall being struck as
          a child myself in the 60s by the prevelance of this theme. Almost
          never, at that time, did I see a reversal that concentrated on
          the single mother. This also seems to go beyond the possible
          budgetary consideration of minimizing the number of cast, since a
          long-running series needs fuller relationships. Forgive the
          informality of these ideas, without supplying titles and
          annotations. Brian Taves, Motion Picture Division, Library of
          My ideas do not reflect the Library or Division.