Download Blockbuster TV: Must-See Sitcoms in the Network Era by Janet Staiger PDF

By Janet Staiger

Archie Bunker. Jed. Laverne and Shirley. Cliff Huxtable. through the whole heritage of yank prime-time tv simply 4 sitcoms were real blockbusters, with Nielsen scores a ways above the second one- and third-rated courses. Weekly, hundreds of thousands of usa citizens of all ages have been creating a specified attempt to show at the set to work out what Archie, Jed, Laverne, and Cliff have been doing that week. The wild acclaim for those shows--All within the Family, The Beverly Hillbillies, Laverne & Shirley (and its associate Happy Days), and The Cosby Show--left commentators bewildered through the tastes and personal tastes of the yankee public. How will we account for the large allure of those sitcoms, and the way does it determine into the heritage of community prime-time television?

Janet Staiger solutions those questions by way of detailing the myriad components that move into the development of mass audiences. Treating the 4 indicates as case experiences, she deftly balances real motives (for example, the effect of VCRs and cable on community domination of television) with extra interpretative ones (for instance, the transformation of The Beverly Hillbillies from a well-liked convey detested through the critics, to a blockbuster after its elevation because the critics' darling), and juxtaposes industry-based purposes (for instance, the ways that television indicates derive good fortune from placement within the weekly programming agenda) with stylistic factors (how, for example, sure indicates create excitement from a repetition and edition of a formula).

Staiger concludes that due to alterations within the undefined, those exhibits have been a phenomenon that can by no means be repeated. And whereas the western or the night-time cleaning soap has now and then captured public realization, Blockbuster TV continues that the sitcom has been THE style to draw humans to the tube, and that with out knowing the sitcom, we won't adequately comprehend the position of tv in our culture.

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28 Introduction / 43 The success of the TV sitcom may be due to factors of media specificity or to some flexible relation to social and cul­ tural requirements, but the explanation may be more funda­ mental—TV sitcoms provide pleasure. This is a third expla­ nation for their success. TV sitcoms as a type of comedy, humor, or joking process certainly yield experiences that both sociological and psychological theories attempt to understand. 29 Instead I will focus on a couple of more specific applications to television sitcoms.

19 Thus, “tele­ vision in most of its manifestations asserts the importance of humor and the humorousness of everyday life—even the tail end of the news broadcasts seems to be shaped to the good hu­ mored flow of television continuity” (p. 11). S. 7 1964–65 Sep-63 Sep-63 Sep-66 Sep-63 Mar-60 Sep-56 Sep-59 Apr-61 Apr-63 Oct-57 Sep-61 Sep-65 End (continued) 1965–66 My Three Sons ABC Flintstones ABC Andy Griffith/Mayb CBS Hazel NBC Car 54, Where are? 1 1986–87 1993–94 1985–86 1992–93 1984–85 1991–92 1983–84 1990–91 1982–83 1994–95 Jul-92 Sep-87 Dec-84 Sep-90 Sep-83 Sep-89 Aug-93 End Oct-83 Sep-83 Jul-81 End (continued) 1987–88 Kate & Allie CBS Cosby Show NBC Who’s the Boss ABC The Golden Girls NBC Growing Pains ABC 227 NBC You Again?

One such application is Curtis’s thesis that the structure of these programs provides a central position for an audi­ ence to consider transgressive opinions while still remaining in a safe location. This does not mean, according to Curtis, that individuals do not temporarily or even permanently align with the transgressive or status quo; rather, the texts themselves offer a wide range of opinions for possible agreement without ultimately requiring a viewer to line up with one side. He writes, The “centrality” of the audience position is manifestly one of the satisfactions of watching sitcom—a position of control as a sort of guardian of the values and structures which are being transgressed.

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