So I just recently finished the last episode of The Sopranos, and I must say…I don’t regret one minute of the 86 hours of my life that show has taken from me.
One aspect of the show I always found intriguing was the latent discourse about Italian and Italian American culture in America, in particular within a crime syndicate. Several episodes have been devoted to issues such as whether or not Christopher Columbus was Italian (as well as what colonialization means from modern-day Italian Americans), the gender roles Italian men and women have to play within their families (as well as those that defy it–poor Vito), as well as how depression is looked at within their culture. And not only did the show incorporate Italian American culture, but Black urban culture as well.
For my paper I want to focus on how television authors incorporate minority cultures into television. I would like to incorporate The Corner into this as well, but perhaps I can just focus on The Sopranos. I always find myself in a position to be particularly critical whenever telvision shows incorporate specific perspectives of culture, as well as what it means for the authors involves who are most likely NOT related to the culture at hand.
I’m not entirely how to bring in authorship theory more into my research, and I feel like for the length of the paper, combining The Sopranos and The Corner may be too much. Help?
In my final paper, I would like to explore the role of authorship in It’s Always Sunnier in Philadelphia. The show is predominantly written by three of the show’s lead actors. I would like to explore this role of writer-actor and try to figure out what implications it has had on the show and its success.
At the moment, for my term paper I would like to write about the animated television series, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. A friend recommended it to me and I have only seen a couple of the episodes, so for the paper I will focus on the first two seasons. I wanted to focus on a show a little more obscure. It aired on Comedy Central from 1995 to 1999, and had six seasons. It is a half-hour show with commercial breaks and follows a similar format each episode. Dr. Katz has actors and comedians as his patients, and has an unemployed 25-year-old son. It was sort of the precursor for Adult Swim type animated shows. It is a style of show that would seem to fit well on HBO and its production has ties to HBO, so that is something I could explore definitely. I am worried there is not a lot of scholarly material on it, but I would like to give it a shot.
If it doesn’t work out then I would write about Curb, another show I do not have a lot of experience with, but find to be quality and entertaining and on HBO.
In my term paper, I wish to compare the discussion of race from book to television. I want to look at what is left out, what is added, which techniques are used in each, how they compare, etc. I really enjoyed looking at how race is discussed in Homicide, and I think I will look at the series and book, again. But instead of looking at just one particular scene, I will look at how race is discussed in the series, as a whole. I think I will narrow what particular racial issues I want to look at, but I haven’t quite decided yet. If anyone has any ideas of race issues in Homicide that they find particularly interesting, let me know!
I would like to use my term paper to take a look at the series 30 Rock and how issues of authorship and television production are portrayed in the show, especially given the created/ written/ produced, and starring Tina Fey dynamic. Does this qualify as an auteur piece? I also want to research what discrepancies there may be between the how the show is actually made and how the show depicts a show being made, and what is made of that self-reflexivity in the show. Hopefully, this research wil also help me develop and understanding of why 30 Rock, though nominated for, and having received numerous critical awards, has received relatively low ratings here in the US, yet relatively better viewership overseas. My thoughts on this are still somewhat scattered since I have never actually watched the show, but the premise has always been interesting to me.
For my term paper I propose to look at the series The L Word a show about a group of lesbian friends living in Los Angeles, which aired on the network Showtime. I’m interested in addressing the way this show was groundbreaking because it was meant to represent a community generally absent from television. There have been a number of reports and articles about the issues of representations that emerge from this show, considering how the characters do not truly represent lesbian women of the United States, but I want to examine this concept in terms of the perspective of the creators. In Season 4 and 5 of The L Word the characters are involved in the writing and production of a film that is based on their lives. So the viewer ends up watching other actresses be directed by L Word characters to reenact Season 1. The level of meta in this series is remarkable and leaves a lot to explore. So for my paper I would like to look at what work it does to have these characters (re)presenting themselves within the show, and what those interactions between the creators and the actors in the show says about the series as a whole. Also I want to understand how much Ilene Chaiken the executive producer and writer is aware of the images she is putting on the screen and what that does for the viewer but also for the greater discourse of gender and sexuality representations on screen.
My goal, as you can probably guess, will be to examine how HBO (specifically HBO original series) has changed television. Since many people point to The Sopranos as the first real HBO series, I will use this as my focal point. The show originally aired in 1998. I still have not decided exactly what I am going to look at. One possibility I was considering was examining two different shows; one that aired before 1998, another that came on after. The other possibility, and the one I am leaning towards, is examining a show that began before 1998 and lasted for some time afterwards (the show I was considering for this was NYPD BLUE, though I may change that as well). In either case, the goal of my research would be to show how the medium of television changed with the inception of HBO original series: What became acceptable for television to show; how did the structure of shows change; did the target viewer of television change?. Another thing I would look at is how the creation of television changed. Did the writing process of shows change? In HBO, unlike network television, shows were created by one person. Did this become more true of Network television after the inception of HBO series? Finally, I would also demonstrate how HBO and network television are still different, and perhaps conclude with examining how television might continue to change.
For my paper I will like to write about the hit sitcom The Simpsons. It is amazing that an animated television sitcom has been on the air since 1989. What is it about the series that allows it to be one of the first animated series to be successful on prime time? Why is it that we continue to watch?
While initially doing research about the series, I found it interesting that English comedian Ricky Gervais became the first celebrity to both write and star in an episode. The show’s writing team consists of sixteen writers who work collaboratively. There is a main writer per episode who writes a draft and than group writing sessions develop a final draft. I also discovered that former writers of the show include Conan O’Brien, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg. I’m not sure what questions I want to ask about the writing of the show but the idea of that some of the shows writers become celebrities in their own right. How is it that the type of writing they contribute (which I believe consists of adult humor) can continue to be successful as an animated series?
Suggested questions will be greatly appreciated!
Or another possibility for a topic is the difference in the adaptaion of Twilight the book versus the horrible movie adaptaion. Yes, I have read all of the books…..
For my term paper I would like to tentatively write about the cancelled FOX series, Firefly. Cancelled due to “poor” ratings after only 11 of the 14 episodes in its season aired, the sci-fi show nonetheless developed a large cult following (myself included) and critical acclaim. Firefly offers me several levels of analysis, which might necessitate a more specific focus. For now though, I want to examine:
–Firefly as a genre show; hardly a typical science fiction serial, the show can also be equally considered a western. In addition, per the Whedon stamp, comedy is also integral to the series’ narrative scheme. Very rarely do science fiction shows feature such a rich array of flawed characters amidst such sharp dialogue; obviously, Firefly was ahead of its time, which brings me to the next level of analysis I could possibly undertake…
–Firefly‘s cancellation; often considered amongst the most notorious show cancellations of all time, the swift demise of Firefly at the hands of FOX network executives can offer numerous possibilities for analysis of network-fan relationships and the economic priorities of television; how television often subverts quality in favor of commercial success and what that says about it as an artistic medium.
Aside from the aforementioned levels of analysis, other directions are also possible. Analyzing the narrative structure of the show and its levels of authorship could also prove interesting, as could assessing how the series, 3 years after its cancellation, produced a feature film. A &*%$-ing awesome feature film.
I am very excited to write this paper.
Tentatively, I’d like to research the cartoon series “The Boondocks” by Aaron McGruder. It will be interesting to research the struggles surrounding the creation of such a racially and politically charged show. There are several entry points into the text– the first would be analysis of the original failed attempts at getting the show on network television. Originally, Aaron McGruder made several attempts at making the show palatable enough for FOX (why he even bothered… O.o) and ultimately failed. Secondly, it would be interesting to do a kind of comparative study on the difficulties of getting a politically charged cartoon on the air versus a “real” show. Are shows like “The Boondocks” and “Southpark” able to push the envelope at least in part because they’re animated series? Finally, it may be fruitful to look at any peculiarities relative to Black auterism and the interactions between Black authors and networks.