The late ‘90s dramedy film starring Gwyneth Paltrow has that rare quality of being prestigious while also being so entertaining that you can watch it over and over again.
An interesting show to consider for its atypical and intersectional gendered communication is Tanya Saracho’s Vida (2018), a series that debuted last year on the premium cable channel STARZ. As Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw (1991) illuminated, “Although racism and sexism readily intersect in the lives of real people, they seldom do in feminist and antiracist practices” (p. 1242) and … Continue reading Language as Race & Gender Protest in STARZ Vida (2018)
Rhetorical analysis of gendered communication in new HBO show Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson.
I can't say I found this movie entertaining. I hadn't seen it when it was released in 2015 because it was poorly reviewed by many critics I share sensibilities with. Then when the whole Time Out t-shirt debacle happened (Vox did a good explainer on this). I was just totally turned off. I became curious to see the movie … Continue reading History on Film: Class in Suffragette (2015)
All movies can be read as political texts, and with Love on the Dole (1941), this is especially true. Not even five minutes in, we have been ushered into a sympathetic view of the working-class struggle in post-war Britain. The movie opens with a prologue that presents rural 1930s Britain as a bleak place where the people, … Continue reading History on Film: The Politics of Love on the Dole (1941)
The Dark Dandy: Aesthetic Subversion in Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal. In Hannibal (2013-2015), a genre-defying television show developed and produced by Bryan Fuller, this is accomplished by complicating what is good and evil through careful aesthetic subversion that supports, in formal elements, a plot that with a consumerist morality deifies the bad guy, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). In doing so, such a show
invites the viewer to reconsider the status quo and contemporary morality beyond television, into reality. By making Hannibal Lecter a success by the neoliberal American values of wealth, class, and beauty any attraction we have for him makes us question our own motives and the measures by which our society deems someone good. Hannibal coded itself as a cool, intellectual TV show by using uncharacteristic art direction, costuming, and cinematography to make us like a killer by aestheticizing him and his grotesqueness, thereby critiquing what our capitalist society exalts.
Music is the first thing one experiences in the pilot episode of The Americans. Quarterflash’s 1981 hit, “Harden My Heart,” plays as we get the show’s setting: Washington D.C. No year is announced, but the song, with it’s era-specific “sexy” saxophone, tells us we are in the ‘80s. We aren't sure that the music isn't diegetic … Continue reading On the Air Tonight: Music in FX’s The Americans
The opening titles sequence of Showtime's Penny Dreadful visually invokes genre conventions while using music to connote quality. The first shot is a selective focus close-up of a spider emerging from frame left in low-key light as violin music commences with suspenseful charge, two-thirds of the screen still in darkness. This isn't any ordinary spider, as the … Continue reading Prestige in Horror: The Semiotics of Penny Dreadful’s Intro Sequence
Halt and Catch Fire is a show more about time and technological progress than characters, and the intro sequence reflects that. Currently airing its fourth and final season on AMC, the show charts the evolution of digital technology from the personal computer boom through to the creation of our current portal to the web, algorithmic … Continue reading VISUALIZING HINDSIGHT: The Semiotics of Halt and Catch Fire’s Title Sequence
I started streaming Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ( a.k.a. CXGF) on Netflix on Saturday night. The "Sexy Getting Ready Song" was refreshingly accurate. I was hooked after that. However, by episode 15, my interest took a dive. I'm afraid that much like my beloved The Good Wife, CXGF might be trapped in its name. Could it have hit the … Continue reading Is Crazy Ex Out of Steam?
I shudder to think how much of my personality and interests were molded by The Little Mermaid and Barbie. Only let your kids watch Jem and The Holograms. At least then they'll think being a woman involves wearing truly outrageous clothes BUT ALSO becoming a music mogul who funds girl-positive group homes. Check out the article: … Continue reading Sleeping Beauty: Media as Educator in the Performance of Acceptable Femininity
"Sam Mendes Says He Won't Direct Next James Bond Film" Yas, new blood! Everything after Casino Royale was trash. Spectre could have been alright...if they'd bothered to come up with a motivation for the villain. It was like a long car commercial. I vote for a lady Bond à la Gillian Anderson. As in all … Continue reading Bond, Gillian Bond
"The Americans is back — and it's still the best-kept secret on TV" Finally starting The Americans. It airs on FX, but I'm streaming it from the beginning on Amazon Prime Video. Love that Death Comes to Pemberley's Darcy co-stars! I'm not really familiar with Kerri Russell. I watched a few episodes of Felicity...I think...back … Continue reading The Russians
"Stop killing off TV’s lesbians: This depressing trope limits storytelling about queer women" What do you do when you really like a show that buries its gays or participates in #queerbaiting to avoid gay characters altogether? #snowqueen#sleepingwarrior #dastiel
I would be much more into Jennifer Lopez's feminist anthem, "Ain't Your Mama", if the excellent nod to Network in the opening wasn't interrupted with the most blatant product placement I've ever seen outside a soap opera. I understand the need for TV shows to increase profitability with integrated advertising. But WTF, J.Lo? Someone explain the … Continue reading Ain’t Your Consumer