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. in the course of the whole background 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 distinctive 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 companion Happy Days), and The Cosby Show--left commentators bewildered by means of the tastes and personal tastes of the yank public. How will we account for the massive 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 exhibits as case stories, she deftly balances real causes (for example, the influence 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 via 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 luck from placement within the weekly programming agenda) with stylistic motives (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 could by no means be repeated. And whereas the western or the night-time cleaning soap has every now and then captured public cognizance, Blockbuster TV keeps that the sitcom has been THE style to draw humans to the tube, and that with no realizing the sitcom, we will not thoroughly comprehend the function of tv in our culture.

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Extra resources for Blockbuster TV: Must-See Sitcoms in the Network Era

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The cooperative dynamic stimulates the must-see phenomenon. Thus, to participate in daily conversation requires knowledge of the program. In short, surrogate consumers in the medium of public dis­ course create a cultural currency for these programs, help­ ing other viewers “see” what might be available in the series for their enjoyment. The focus of public discussions differs among the programs (and even among commentators for an individual se­ ries). In each case, the program has particular qualities that provide the stimulus for discussion, but the differences between the series produce very different descriptions and pleasures for their viewers.

Of course, television programs are not the only object for such talk. Movies, sports, news events, musi­ cal groups, and so forth also enable a minimally threatening personal intercourse. This apparent leisure talk also has fur­ ther advantages: it lubricates business communication. The significance and value of such talk for developing viewer interest and loyalty are shown by the massive attention entertainment firms are giving to constructing sites on the In­ ternet for individuals to learn more about their textual inter­ ests, communicate with others also interested in the same program, and collect memorabilia in the form of images and sounds which can be downloaded to one’s own personal com­ puter.

27 He further claims: “The successful shows found ways to enshrine, confirm, finally to soothe even acute psychological conflicts: the ones that inhabit the same breast” (p. 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.

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