Can comedy on television harbour elements of gender transgression or subversion? If a man is permitted to be 'funny peculiar' – playing the underdog or misfit – does a woman seem stranger in his place? Mapping examples from British and American comedy television over the past 60 years, from I Love Lucy to The Big Bang Theory and Smack the Pony to Waiting For God, this book asks: are particular forms of television comedy gendered in specific ways? Paying attention to series which have not been addressed in academic work, as well as more established shows, White offers fresh insights for the fields of television studies, gender and women's studies, cultural history and comedy.
Women in comedy have traditionally been pegged as either "pretty" or "funny." Attractive actresses with good comic timing such as Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, and Julia Roberts have always gotten plum roles as the heroines of romantic comedies and television sitcoms. But fewer women who write and perform their own comedy have become stars, and, most often, they've been successful because they were willing to be funny-looking, from Fanny Brice and Phyllis Diller to Lily Tomlin and Carol Burnett. In this pretty-versus-funny history, women writer-comedians—no matter what they look like—have ended up on the other side of "pretty," enabling them to make it the topic and butt of the joke, the ideal that is exposed as funny. Pretty/Funny focuses on Kathy Griffin, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, and Ellen DeGeneres, the groundbreaking women comics who flout the pretty-versus-funny dynamic by targeting glamour, postfeminist girliness, the Hollywood A-list, and feminine whiteness with their wit and biting satire. Linda Mizejewski demonstrates that while these comics don't all identify as feminists or take politically correct positions, their work on gender, sexuality, and race has a political impact. The first major study of women and humor in twenty years, Pretty/Funny makes a convincing case that women's comedy has become a prime site for feminism to speak, talk back, and be contested in the twenty-first century.
A powerful female, preadolescent, consumer demographic has emerged in tandem with girls becoming more visible in popular culture since the 1990s. Yet the cultural anxiety that this has caused has received scant academic attention. In Tweenhood, Melanie Kennedy rectifies this and examines mainstream, pre-adolescent girls' films, television programmes and celebrities from 2004 onwards, including A Cinderella Story, Hannah Montana and Camp Rock. Her book forges a dialogue between post-feminism, film and television, celebrity and most importantly; the figure of the tween. Kennedy examines how these media texts, which are so key to tween culture, address and construct their target audience by helping them to 'choose' an appropriately feminine identity. Tweenhood then, she argues, is transient and a discursive construct whose unpacking highlights the deification of celebrity and femininity within its culture.
Feminism and Identity Politics in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Author: Sujata Moorti
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Category: Performing Arts
Law and Order Special Victims Unit (SVU) is more popular than any other American police procedural television series, but how does its unique focus on sex crimes reflect contemporary popular culture and feminist critique, whilst also recasting the classic crime narrative? All-American TV Crime Drama is the first dedicated study of SVU and its treatment of sexual violence, gender and criminality. The book uses detailed textual and visual analyses of episodes to illuminate the assumptions underpinning the programme. Although SVU engages with issues pertaining to feminism and gender it still relies upon traditional and misogynistic tropes such as false rape charges and the monstrous mother to undermine positive views of the feminine. The show, and its backdrop, New York City thus become a stage on which national concerns about women, gender roles, the family and race are carried out. Moorti and Cuklanz unpack how the show has become a crucible for examining current attitudes towards these issues and include an analysis of its reception by its many fans in over 30 countries.
This book is a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the key debates concerning the representation of masculinities in a wide range of popular television genres. The volume looks at the depiction of public masculinity in the soap opera, homosexuality in the situation comedy, the portrayal of fatherhood in prime-time animation, emerging manhood in the supernatural teen text, alternative gender roles in science fiction, male authority in the police series, masculine anxieties in the hospital drama, violence and aggression in sports coverage, ordinariness and emotional connectedness in the reality game show, and domesticity in lifestyle television. Masculinity and Popular Television examines the ways in which masculinities are being constructed, circulated and interrogated in contemporary British and American programming, and considers the ways in which such images can be understood in relation to the 'common sense' model of the hegemonic male that is said to dominate the cultural landscape.
Featuring The Golden Girls, Designing Women, Living Single, Sex and the City, Girlfriends, Cashmere Mafia and Hot in Cleveland
Author: Wendy A. Burns-Ardolino
Category: Performing Arts
The Golden Girls, Designing Women, Living Single, Sex and the City, Girlfriends, Cashmere Mafia and Hot in Cleveland stand out as some of America’s favorite television series. Their lovable “female foursome” characters engage in witty banter as they challenge American stereotypes about sex, love, family, work and community. These sitcoms and comedy-dramas live on as cable TV re-runs and through online fan communities, demonstrating mass appeal across generations of women and men. Connecting fan commentary with analysis by television scholars, this book explores the development of these series from the 1980s on, with a focus on the role of fan cultures in “reproducing” these popular American shows.
Unruly women have been making a spectacle of themselves in film and on television from Mae West to Roseanne Arnold. In this groundbreaking work, Kathleen Rowe explores how the unruly woman—often a voluptuous, noisy, joke-making rebel or "woman on top"—uses humor and excess to undermine patriarchal norms and authority. At the heart of the book are detailed analyses of two highly successful unruly women—the comedian Roseanne Arnold and the Muppet Miss Piggy. Putting these two figures in a deeper cultural perspective, Rowe also examines the evolution of romantic film comedy from the classical Hollywood period to the present, showing how the comedic roles of actresses such as Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, and Marilyn Monroe offered an alternative, empowered image of women that differed sharply from the "suffering heroine" portrayed in classical melodramas.
Film and Television Adaptations in the Twenty-First Century
Author: Magdalena Cieślak
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Category: Literary Criticism
This book analyzes how twenty-first century film and television adaptations of Shakespeare's comedies interpret gender-related concepts of their source texts. Examining the negotiations between early modern and contemporary gender politics, Cieślak identifies the main strategies of accommodating early modern gender constructs for today’s audiences.
[This] introductory textbook examines theories of personality, starting from the viewpoint that there are eight basic aspects to personality: psychoanalytic, ego, biological, behaviorist, cognitive, trait, humanistic, and interactionist. Later chapters apply these aspects to individual differences such as those of gender and culture. Summaries after each chapter encapsulate key theorists and concepts discussed. -http://www.bn.com.