Tag Archives: bibliography

30 Rock Term Paper Annotated Bibliography

Dowd, Maureen. “What Tina Wants.” Vanity Fair (Jan., 2009).
This lengthy interview with Tina Fey reveals some of her own views on her work in comedy. This has provided various launching points for my investigations. For example, her comment that her show 30 Rock is aimed at a male audience has caused me to look in to some sources that explore gender and comedy and perhaps what differences it makes to make guy jokes versus comedy for women.
Hitchens, Christopher. “Why Women Aren’t Funny”. Vanity Fair, January 2007.
This controversial article which spawned Alessandra Stanley’s “Who Says Women Aren’t Funny?” and Hitchen’s followup article “Why Women Still Don’t Get It” along with various video responses to a slew of angry letters explores issues of women creating comedy and attempts to negotiate the stereotypes and politics of that powerful and subversive (?) role.
Lavery, David (Editor) with Sara Lewis Dunne. Seinfeld, Master of Its Domain:, Revisiting Television’s Greatest Sitcom. The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc., New York. 2006.
Marc, David and Robert J. Thompson. Prime Time, Prime Movers: From I Love Lucy to L.A. Law—America’s Greatest TV Shows and the People Who Created Them. Little, Brown. Boston, Toronto, London. 1992.
These two sources, as well as an I Love Lucy book and a Cosby show book that I have coming through Link + give a historical context to 30 Rock as a sitcom, and will help me situate Tina Fey relative to a legacy of television creators and producers to find what exactly makes 30 Rock so acclaimed.
Morreale, Joanne (Editor). Critiquing the Sitcom: A Reader. Syracuse University Press. 2003.
This reader includes a few interesting chapters on sitcoms for women, sitcoms by women, and how women have reacted to sitcoms. This book will help inform my conceptualizing an idea on the significance of Fey’s comment that 30 Rock is a show for men.
Rabinovitz, Lauren. “Sitcoms and Single Moms: Representations of Feminism on American TV.” Cinema Journal. Vol. 29, No. 1 (Autumn, 1989), pp. 3-19. University of Texas Press on behalf of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Scovell, Nell. “Letterman and Me”. Vanity Fair. October 27, 2009.
This article on the latest late night show scandal offers some interesting insights on the male dominated world of the TV comedy writer’s room, and I hope to extrapolate from it to inform my idea of Fey’s SNL working environment which she goes on to portray in 30 Rock.
Shales, Tom and James Anderw Miller. Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. Little, Brown. Boston, New York, London. 2002.
I’m hoping that this lengthy tome will give me a good idea of the SNL environment and how comedy is produced there, which I can then hold up to 30 Rock’s representation to hopefully highlight what changes or satire have been created by Fey and her crew with regards to this world.
Stanley, Alessandra. “Behind the Scenes, and Above the Rest.” The New York Times. November 30, 2006.
This critique of 30 Rock in relation to other sitcoms including “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the show and provides for me a different perspective on a show that is known for its numerous Emmys and critical acclaim.
Walters, Suzanna Danuta. Revi. “Review: Receptive Women: Consuming and Contesting TV Culture.” Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 22, No. 5 (Sep., 1993) pp. 735-737. American Sociological Association.
A feminist approach to viewership and the effects of television on women as well as the ways that women consume television. I wonder if whether or not the television is made by women will have a particular impact.

Annotated Bibliography

1. Billingham, Peter. Sensing the City Through Television. Bristol: Intellect Books,

2000. Print.

Billingham’s book asks the question how fictional representations of the city contribute to our sense of identity. He does several case studies, one of them being Homicide: Life On The Street.

2. Dates, Jannette L., and Thomas A. Mascaro. “African Americans in Film and

Television: Twentieth-Century Lessons for a New Millennium.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 33.2 (2005): 50-55. Print.

Dates and Mascaro look at the way African Americans have been portrayed in film and television and how that has and will influenced their portrayal in film and television in the future.

3. Gray, Herman. Watching race television and the struggle for “Blackness”

Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1995. Print.

This book looks at the portrayal of African Americans in television series in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. This will particularly useful in my paper as I compare it to the way African Americans are portrayed in Homicide: Life on the Street.

4. Hunt, Darnell M. “Making Sense of Blackness on Television.” Channeling

Blackness Studies on Television and Race in America (Media and African Americans). New York: Oxford UP, USA, 2004. Print.

In this chapter, by Hunt, he explores the sense of blackness in popular television. He discusses what the blackness is, what it represents, and what it means for the future of African Americans.

5. Mascaro, Thomas A. “Shades of Black on Homicide: Life on the Street: progress

in portrayals of African American men.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 32.1 (2004): 10-19. Metapress. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. <http://www.metapress.com/content/gh2247676l454271/fulltext.pdf>.

In this article, Mascaro looks at the different ways black men are portrayed in Homicide: Life on the Street. He argues that by exploring the varied characteristics of African American men, the series was able to develop a rich portrait of African Americans.

6. Nadel, Alan. Television in black-and-white America race and national identity.

Lawrence: University of Kansas, 2005. Print.

Alan Nadel explores the implications of conservative bias in television and its effects on the portrayal of race and racialized narratives of American history during this early period of TV broadcasting.

7. Hébert, Lisa P. “Gender, Race, and Media Representation.” Gender,

Race, and Class in Media A Text-Reader. By Dwight E. Brooks. Minneapolis: Sage Publications, Inc, 2002. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. <http://atgstg01.sagepub.com/upm-data/11715_Chapter16.pdf>.

This article has a section which talks about the way African Americans are represented in Homcide: Life On The Street, that is particularly helpful in terms of my final paper.

Mad Men Bibliography

Handy, Bruce. “Don and Betty’s Paradise Lost.” Vanity Fair September, 2009. http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/09/mad-men200909.

This Vanity Fair article goes behind the scenes in Mad Men. I think that it is really useful because it includes telling anecdotes about Matthew Weiner’s role in every detail of the show. Also, it talks about how Mad Men differs from other shows on television, and the impact of the show on greater society.

Fields, Jackie. “The Mad Men Effect.” People. September 28, 2009.

This brief article talks about the Mad Men effect on fashion. While obviously it is not teh most academic of sources, I think that it is interesting how the show’s look and design has influenced society. I found a couple of articles in this vein which will be useful in proving the unique design of the show and how it impacts society.

Lippert, Barbara. “It’s a Mad, Mad World.” Brandweek, August 17, 2009.

This article is not incredibly useful, but it does discuss the rich design of the show and how that has influenced viewers. It may be useful in describing the show and explaining how people perceive it.

Kukoff, David. Vault Guide to Television Writing Careers. Vault, Inc: New York, 2006.

This book is useful in defining the traditional role of the showrunner. Part of what I hope to argue is about Matthew Weiner’s very detailed role in the series. Defining how the industry views the showrunner will be useful in describing how Weiner deviates.

Creeber, Glen. Serial Television: Big Drama on the Small Screen. British Film Institute Publishing: London, 2004.

This book has a lot of interesting analysis about historical fiction miniseries and the television drama that I think will be useful. It discusses programs more broadly in ways that I will apply to Mad Men.

Stephens, Mitchell. The Rise of the Image, the Fall of the Word. Oxford University Press: New York, 1998.

This book seemed like it would be more helpful than it was. It mostly went on long tangents about the history of images. However, I think there are parts that could be useful. Part of what I want to argue is about Mad Men’s use of design and image, and so I may pull from the analysis of how the image has become more powerful than the word.

Mayer, Vicki, Miranda J. Banks, and John T. Caldwell. Production Studies: Cultural Studies of Media Industries. Routledge: New York, 2009.

This book has a collection of essays about TV production. Most were not that useful. However, there was one by Denise Mann about how the showrunner has also become in charge of creating a brand for the show. I think this could be useful in discussing Matthew Weiner and how the show has developed a very dedicated following.

Annotated Bibliography: Entourage

1. Strauss, Gary. “Will Success Spoil Doug Ellin and Entourage?” USA Today [McLean, VA] 10 July 2009, Life sec.

This article discusses the obstacles that the creator and writers of Entourage face as the sixth season approaches. In it, creator Doug Ellin claims that the success of the character Vince presents an obstacle, as the explosion of his career as a movie star leaves little space in which to continue building plot and character. The article will help me explore how the creative forces behind the series manipulate Vince’s career to accommodate for conflict and budding storylines.

2. Atkin, Hillary. “Taking Cues From Real World.” Television Week 11 Aug. 2008.

This article presents the five series vying for the 2008 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, including Entourage. It mentions a specific storyline in one of the series’ episodes directly lifted from creator Doug Ellin’s life experience. It also examines how Entourage attempts to accurately represent a true Hollywood lifestyle, such as that led by Vince and his crew of companions. The article will allow me to cite specific evidence supporting the blend of reality and fiction as seen in Entourage.

3. Waldman, Allison. “Entourage.” Television Week 18 May 2009.

This article was written in response to HBO’s win at the 2008 Peabody Awards for Entourage. In it, creator Doug Ellin entertains the idea that committee members might have been impressed by the dramatic character development in the series’ fifth season. He explains how the series has matured over several years. The article will provide me with insight into the shifting focus and tone of the series from season to season.

4. Peyser, Mark. “Power to the Posse.” Newsweek 19 July 2004.

Newsweek’s initial review of Entourage praises the series’ originality and holds that it puts a new spin on the television genre of situational comedy. It describes similarities between producer Mark Wahlberg’s life and the series as well as aspects of the series that sever the resemblance. It continues to explain how the series’ characters are rendered at once irritating and sympathetic. The article will help me delve into the series’ inspiration and allow me to cite Wahlberg’s notion of the heart of the series.

5. Collins, Lauren. “Rollin’ With Dad.” New Yorker 16 Apr. 2007.

This interview with Doug Ellin primarily details the idiosyncrasies of the creator’s role of “family man” amidst his duties in the entertainment industry. However, it also explores his development of Entourage, and Ellin divulges the real-life inspirations for many of Entourage’s characters. The interview will allow me to discuss issues of authorship by eliciting connections between the creator’s personal and professional lives.

6. Wild, David. “Entourage.” Rolling Stone 8 Aug. 2004.

This article examines how the character of talent agent Ari Gold was crafted based on real-life figure Ari Emmanuel. In it, actor Jeremy Piven maintains that he presents a universal character representation, depicting a conglomeration of characteristics of talent agents. The article suggests why audience members, specifically entertainment industry insiders, connect to Ari. The article will help me relate fiction and reality again, specifically by exploring how an actor’s imagination of his character affects the end result and public reception of his portrayal.

7. “California Dreaming: An Update of an Old Format Obeys All the Rules of Sitcom With a Watchable Style.” New Statesman 18 Sept. 2006.

This review suggests that Entourage replicates aspects of the formulas of preceding television sitcoms, such as The Beverly Hillbillies. It assesses characterization in an effort to explain the series’ wide appeal. The review will help me situate Entourage within the context of the history of the sitcom and analyze how, if at all, Entourage redefines the genre.

Sports Night Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography for Sports Night

1)    SANDOMIR, RICHARD “Like ‘The West Wing,’ Only With Sports.” New York Times 23 Nov. 2008: 22. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.

This article provides a distanced perspective on Sports Night and examines it in the context of other works and in the trajectory of sitcom development.  The author is fairly critical of the setting of the show and claims that it is not funny.  This article will be beneficial because it provides angles for exploration, such as its comparison of Sports Night to Taxi and its description of the style of the show as influenced by Sorkin’s background as a playwright.

2)    IM, RUTENBERG “TV NOTES; Striking Out?.” New York Times 21 June 2000: 8. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.

Brief article about Sports Night’s cancellation and ABC’s subsequent attempts to sell it to other networks.  This article has interesting implications for the value of the series and its similarity to cable series rather than network series.


Marc Berman.  “Changing channels. ” Mediaweek 24 Apr. 2000: ABI/INFORM Global, ProQuest. Web.  27 Oct. 2009.

This article explores NBC’s desire to acquire Sports Night and ponders what this change might do for the show.  The article posits that this would be a positive change.  This will be helpful because it presents a way in which Sports Night could be marketed to be a popular success.

4)    Martin, James “A Wasteland Less Vast.” America 182.5 (2000): 23. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.

Posits that Sports Night is one of a few aesthetically valuable shows in the television lineup and discusses why this is.  This article is interesting because it puts the show in context with other shows that are believed to be valuable as well, and they are basically either by Aaron Sorkin or on HBO.

5)    Ryan, Leslie “Aaron Sorkin’s sweep.” Electronic Media 18.48 (1999): 1A. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.

This article examines the point and time where The West Wing and Sports Night were voted best comedy and drama by the critics at the same time.  The article examines the critical success and ratings failure of Sports Night and the inability of the network to promote the show.  This article raises interesting points about the way ABC handled the series and its incredible critical success, as well as puts it in conversation with Sorkin’s other series, The West Wing.

6)    Man at His Best: The Tube.” Esquire 131.6 (1999): 24. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.

An interview with Aaron Sorkin and Keith Olberman, one of the inspirations for Sports Night.  They discuss the show’s basis in reality and its ratings struggles. Sorkin also discusses the show’s position as a dramedy in the trajectory of television dramedy.

7)    Mason, M.S. “What makes a good sitcom? Strong writing.” Christian Science Monitor 91.2 (1998): 18. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.

Describes Sports Night through the lens of the traditional sitcom.  This would be useful in order to understand the two different ways in which Sports Night is seen- dramedy and sitcom.

8)    Brown, Corie, and Rick Marin “Sitcom or Tragedy?.” Newsweek 132.19 (1998): 70. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.

Describes Sorkin’s conflict with ABC over the tone and marketing of the series.  This could be interesting in order to see how the show may have been toned down for network television.

9)    Collins, James, and Jeanne McDowell “Distinct? Or Extinct?.” Time 152.19 (1998): 110. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.

A Time magazine review of Sports Night.  Discusses it as an evolution of the sitcom into something new and daring.

Annotated Bibliography | Dr. Katz

In examining the first two seasons of an animated television series called Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, I will discuss how the authorship of it changed and strengthened the animation genre. There is a lot to work with as the co-creator of the show, comedian Jonathan Katz, also serves as the main figure. The show was different from in that it did not fit the typical mold of an animated series of being a family sitcom like The Flinstones. Instead, it used new technology called “Squigglevision,” and introduced new stand-up comedians in every episode, some famous and others not so much. The show fit perfectly on Comedy Central, and really it seems as if there was no other network it would work as well on.

Annotated Bibliography

Booker, M. Keith. Drawn to Television: Prime-Time Animation from the Flintstones to Family Guy. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2006. In this book, Booker examines the history of animated television, examining particular shows that have thrived in primetime and those that have become successful because of cable and syndication. Booker discusses how animated television delivers unique and clever perspectives to normal programming. Dr. Katz is discussed primarily in how it broke the typical animation family sitcom mold, and fit right in on Comedy Central with its stand-up comedians.

Fease, Rebecca. Masculinity and Popular Television. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008. The book interestingly focuses on how masculinity is spread out upon different television genres. In animated television, the father figure is the overly masculine character whether it be Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin. I think this chapter will be helpful in laying out how Dr. Katz separates itself from other animated series, and how it helped branch out from the family mold in television series. In the show Dr. Katz is a father and how is he different from Homer Simpson is something I can explore.

Milvy, Erika. “For Him, Laughter Was the Best Therapy.” The New York Times, 14 December 2008. The article is all about the series and how it is different from many other animated comedy series. The show does not move in rapid motion, with Squigglevision didn’t look overly fancy, and that “it rejected the adult cartoon tradition of high-impact irreverence, snarkiness and raised voices.”

Murray, Noel. “Interview with Jonathan Katz.” The A.V. Club, 14 June 2006. http://www.avclub.com/articles/jonathan-katz,13993. The interview hits on a range of topics about Katz’s life, but the most pertinent stuff is about the idea behind Dr. Katz and his retelling of how it was created and his relationship with co-creator Tom Snyder. My paper will talk a good deal about Katz as he is a creator and central figure on the show, so hearing first hand from is helpful. He talks often about his relationships with the other comedians that were on the show and getting them to come on, which is interesting.

Stabile, Carol, et al. Prime Time Animation: Television Animation and American Culture. London; New York: Routledge, 2003. This book looks at the history of television animation and how it obviously ties into American culture. What I am most interested in are sections such as how the authors examine quality in animated television series, as well as the mold for animated television series set by The Flintstones and The Simpsons.

Tueth, Michael V. Laughter In The Living Room: Television Comedy And The American Home Audience. New York: Peter Lang, 2005. The book as a whole looks into how television figures have gone about entertaining the American home audience, through many genres and years. It’s section on animation discusses how the authors have freedom to invent as many characters as they want, as they don’t have to worry about actors, and the multiple jokes and plot lines can challenge the viewer in ways non-animated shows cannot. Dr. Katz certainly introduces multiple comedians, yet also has an underlying plot surrounding Katz himself. Tueth argues that animation allows for a lot of freedom and experimentation.

Wright, Jean Ann. Animation Writing and Development: From Screen Development to Pitch. Amsterdam: Boston Elsevier, 2005. The book is intended to teach writers and students really the basics of writing and developing animated material. There is a chapter, however that is particularly useful as it discusses comedy in animation, and really how a creator is to go about making animation funny. The chapter talks about how comedy in animation separates itself and how to go about properly executing it. Also, especially pertinent, is how Wright talks about developing a specific animated character and having their personality become funny. In my paper I will focus on Katz as a comedian/central character in the show and author of it, so this should be helpful.

Annotated Bibliography for Final Paper

Annotated Bibliography

Bellafante, Ginia. “A Pitcher’s Life After the Third Strike.” The New York Times. 12 Feb 2009. The New York Times, Web. 28 Oct 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/arts/television/13east.html?_r=1>.

Ginia Bellafante gives Eastbound what I take to be a shallow reading, calling the show a case of “beer-bong, red state mockery.”  As I will attempt to argue in my paper, I think Eastbound, while mocking the red states, is mocking the blue states as well, poking fun at the outrage the politically correct masses would take at many of the shows more potentially offensive jokes.  However, I think Bellafante also makes many good observations about the show.  First, she, like I, sees Kenny Powers as a fictional John Rocker.  Rocker, like Powers, was not ashamed to hide his unpopular (and often morally revolting) views.  Second, Bellafante makes a powerful argument for the auteurship of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.  She points out that Powers is an “entitled idiot” and that this idiocy leads to his many calamities, much like Ferrell characters Ricky Bobby (of Talladega Nights) and Ron Burgundy (of Anchorman).  I think this comparison will be helpful to me in my paper, because I can look to Talladega Nights and Anchorman in attempt to find an agenda similar to what I claim is at work in Eastbound.  Having not seen these films recently I can’t say if that endeavor will be successful, but I hope it will.

Edgerton, Gary R. and Jeffery P. Jones. “HBO’s Ongoing Legacy.” The HBO Reader. Ed. Gary R. Edgerton and Jeffery P. Jones. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2008. Print.

In this piece about HBO’s legacy, Gary Edgerton and Jeffery Jones begin by discussing a changing of the guard at HBO in 1995.  He notes that when Jeffery Bewkes was installed as CEO he, “brought a more collaborative, bottom-up way of doing business to the company, unleashing a great deal of creative energy and a new era at HBO” (316).  They then go on to detail HBO’s almost meteoric rise, and clearly attribute part of this to the more artistic direction Bewkes pushed the network on.  Later they write that artistic and critically acclaimed programming had become an expectation of HBO shows (317-18).  There are 7 characteristics that the authors claim help define the legacy of HBO, but only a few are relevant for my paper.  Their second characteristic is that HBO’s dramas in particular have had the effect of raising the bar for all television networks (319).  This will be useful in my paper because I think Eastbound and Down has no pretensions of trying to raise the bar, and while Eastbound isn’t a drama I think this still applies.  The fifth characteristic the authors offer is also very relevant to my project.  The authors describe the many ways in which HBO specifically target male audiences, both with shows directed toward males and characteristics included in many shows that are aimed toward males (322-24).  The three characteristics that relate most closely to Eastbound and Down are that of coarse language, male narcissism and traditional male professions (324).  I think this relates to my paper because it is an example of how Eastbound fits into the traditional HBO trend.  I could use this source to help construct an argument that explains how Eastbound still works on HBO, while still serving as a reaction to some other HBO trends.

Edgerton, Gary R. “Angels in America.” The HBO Reader. Ed. Gary R. Edgerton and Jeffery P. Jones. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2008. Print.

This piece explores why the HBO miniseries Angels in America was so successful.  Gary Edgerton begins by discussing the plays popularity and how the show ended up on HBO.  One of the determining factors in the show ending up on HBO rather than a movie was that the plot featured many gay characters, and film studios were afraid to touch what they felt could be a controversial subject (137).  The long discussion of the specifics of the plot is unimportant for my purpose, so I will not spend time on them here.  What is important is that the authors note the way Angels in America had the effect of “cultural mainstreaming,” making discussion of gay issues or themes less taboo (146).  This is a perfect example of the progressive agenda of HBO programs that I want to claim Eastbound is a reaction to.  I will use this piece in this way, setting up Angels in America, along with The Wire and True Blood, as what HBO had been doing; in contrast to what the network is currently doing with Eastbound and Down.

Goldberg, Michelle. “Vampire Conservatives.” The Daily Beast. 18 Jul 2009. The Daily Beast, Web. 28 Oct 2009. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-07-18/vampire-conservatives/full/>.

In this piece Michelle Goldberg takes a very unique (and by perusing the comments very derided) reading of the relatively new HBO series True Blood.  She notes, as I had missed, that the experience of the vampires in True Blood is an allegory for the experiences of gays in the South.  This is hinted at with many puns, such as vampires “coming out of the coffin” or a church billboard in the opening credits that reads “God hates Fangs” with “Fangs” replacing a similarly spelled slur for homosexuals.  But Goldberg doesn’t see True Blood’s intentions as purely progressive, claiming that, “the show’s universe is like the right’s worst nightmare about post-gay-liberation America come to life.”  She notes that the show’s creator is an openly gay man, so the show can’t be gay-bashing, but it leaves her puzzled as to what the author’s political intentions really are.  Basically, Goldberg is bothered by the way True Blood seems to endorse some conservative fears about homosexuality, because the vampires are scary, just as conservatives seem to view homosexuals with fear.  However, she does concede that the show mocks the right-wing as well, with its stereotypically evangelical Fellowship of the Sun.  Goldberg concludes her piece claiming True Blood, “goes after liberal pieties, at times making the viewer feel like a right-wing moralist wracked with terrible attractions…True Blood suggests that, when it comes to sex’s subversive, destructive power, the right isn’t all wrong to be very afraid.”  I am still unsure as to how I will specifically use this source, but it will be one of two ways.  I can use Goldberg’s discussion of True Blood as an allegory for homosexuality to position the show with Angels in America and The Wire.  However, I think it would be more interesting accept Goldberg’s conclusion, and argue that True Blood is also somewhat reactionary to the clear-cut progressive nature of other HBO shows.

Marx, Nick. “Nowhere to Go but Up: Redeeming HBO’s Eastbound and Down.” FlowTV. 06 Fed 2009. FlowTV, Web. 28 Oct 2009. <http://flowtv.org/?p=2331>.

Nick Marx takes a more critical (in the sense of television criticism, not negativity) at Eastbound and Down, and begins like many other discussions of the show by noting “there’s a lot to not like about Eastbound.”  From here he details many of Kenny’s despicable actions in the first episode (he notes he has only seen the pilot) and worries that the character is so horrid that viewers won’t like him.  Marx points out that the usual way unlikable comic characters grow on audiences is through a “maturation” process or by completing their goals, and the Eastbound didn’t seem to be going down this same path.  I find this interesting because I’m not sure if I can agree.  In the final episode of the first season (and the series thus far, which as a sidenote was conceived as a self-contained story), which obviously Marx wasn’t privy to, it seems that Kenny will actually make it back to the majors and reunite with his high school sweetheart, only for it all to come crashing down.  While Kenny clearly doesn’t actually achieve his goals, he seems to have gone down a similar path to audience redemption as Marx describes other despicable characters taking.  Clearly, I will have to decide whether I feel Powers fits this character mold, or if his character is even possibly a commentary on this character trope.  While I may disagree with Marx on some specifics of his analysis (he thinks a particular Powers’ soliloquy is designed to drive audiences away, while I find it uniquely endearing), he too sees Eastbound as a commentary of the “cultural milieu” it constructs.  He compares Powers to Cartman, writing that both characters are intended to mock the attitudes and views they both respectively trumpet.  Marx, like Bellafante, also notes the evidence of Will Ferrell’s auteurship in the series.  However, in contrast to Bellafante (and to my liking), he takes his analysis of Eastbound’s intentions one step further.  Marx writes that Eastbound and Down, “create[s] a comedic hero that embodies American cultural tensions of the recent past while warily embracing the changes to come.”  This sentiment aligns with the analysis of Eastbound that I intend to offer.  The wariness that Marx is referring to is what I take to be a reaction to the progressive nature of many other HBO shows.  The authors of Eastbound clearly don’t endorse the close-mindedness that Powers demonstrates, but they are wary of the politically correct notion that it isn’t ok to laugh at his ignorance.

Rose, Brian G. “The Wire.” The HBO Reader. Ed. Gary R. Edgerton and Jeffery P. Jones. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2008. Print.

This article brings up the ways that The Wire was unique and envelope-pushing, even for HBO.  The author, Brian Rose, notes that it is a cop show, territory that had been ruled by the networks, but that in contrast to most cop shows it doesn’t inspire much faith in our justice system (82).  In all of David Simon’s works that we have looked at in class he clearly has a political agenda in mind, and Rose can see that The Wire is no different, writing that the show had “political intentions” (82).  Rose details the many ways that Simon attacks our drug policy, and this is what will be helpful for my paper.  Drug law reform is a very progressive agenda, and The Wire pushes it forcefully, and I believe successfully.  The commentary on our policies that Simon is able to offer in a narrative structure may be the most explicit example of a progressive agenda on an HBO show.  Like with Angels in America, I will use The Wire to help establish the progressive trend I will claim Eastbound and Down is responding to.

Shales, Tom. “Review of HBO’s Comedy ‘Eastbound and Down’.” The Washington Post. 14 Feb 2009. The Washington Post, Web. 28 Oct 2009. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/13/AR2009021303450.html>.

In reviewing Eastbound and Down Tom Shales comes to the conclusion that Kenny Powers is “never lovable, he’s barely tolerable, but many of the things he does and says are frighteningly recognizable.”  Shales is reviewing the series on the day before the pilot premieres (and presumably has only seen the first episode although we can not be sure), and offers a positive review.  He focuses on many of the different flaws Kenny demonstrates, from egoism to prejudice, and then discusses how Eastbound manages to place us in such a perverted world that some of these flaws come off as endearing.  Like many other reviewers of the show (at least those that like the show), Shales seems to be almost confused by the fact that he likes Powers character, and in the review is trying to explain for his audience (and convince himself) why that is.  I think this review will be very helpful in my discussion because Shales, like me, doesn’t take Powers flaws to be solely intended to make Powers despicable.  He notes that his self-absorbed attitude even comes of as oddly “heroic” at one point.  Shales discussion will help me set Eastbound and Down apart from other HBO shows that have a openly progressive agenda, such as The Wire, Angels in America, or True Blood.

Note to Prof. Fitzpatrick: I’m going to upload my bibliography to Sakai because I’m afraid something may not have copy and pasted right.  Thanks.

Annotated Bibliography

I have decided to write about the question of authorship in The Corner both as both a book of literary nonfiction and as a miniseries that pretends to be a documentary and claims to be representing true stories. In particular, I want to focus on the ethics of authorship and representation of lives of others…

Andrew, Bennett,. Author. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: New York : Routledge, 2005. Print.

This book examines how the definitions of the author have changed overtime and how those changes have affected literary culture. It will provide me with a general grounding of varying theories about authorship as well as the ideas of authority, ownership, originality, and the “death” of the author.

Burke, Seán. Death and return of the author criticism and subjectivity in Barthes, Foucault and Derrida. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1992. Print.

This book argues that the effort to eliminate the author is deeply mistaken and indefensible philosophically. Its argument will help me think theoretically about the importance of authorship and provide a counter to the idea that the author is irrelevant to the work at hand. It will help me think about why it matters that David Simon is the person writing the “true” stories of the corner.

Haydar, Bashshar. “The Case Against Faction.” Philosophy and Literature 32.2 (2008): 347-58. Print.

This book argues that works that attempt the factual accuracy of journalism while using the literary form of the novel at the same time are “faction,” a sort of hybrid genre that suffers fundamentally from tensions and limitations. Since The Corner can, by this definition, be considered a work of “faction,” this text will help me think about the tensions and limitations of Simon’s book—ideas that I can then apply to the mini-series.

Kraus, Carolyn. “Journalism, Creative Nonfiction & the Power of Academic Labels.” Points of Entry: Cross-Currents in Storytelling 1.1 (2003): 25-34. Print.

This article explores the lines between journalism and creative nonfiction and discusses the power that genre labels often have over how works are read and considered. This text will help me think about the lines between journalism and creative nonfiction, what it means that a journalist wrote The Corner and that the book was called nonfiction.

Lazar, David. Truth in Nonfiction: Essays. University of Iowa, 2008. Print.

This book is a collection of essays with various reflections on truth in literary nonfiction and what that means. This book will be a source of many ways of looking at both The Corner as a work of literary nonfiction and at the mini-series as an adaptation that pretends to be a documentary.

Ruby, Jay. Picturing Culture Explorations of Film and Anthropology. New York: University Of Chicago, 2000. Print.

This book explores the relationship between film and anthropology and argues that cinematic artistry as well as the wish to entertain can undermine the proper anthropological representation of subjects. This book well help me think about visual anthropology and the ethics of representation as they apply to works like The Corner that aim to explain a certain culture and community.

Struggles for Representation African American Documentary Film and Video. New York: Indiana UP, 1999. Print.

This book includes eleven essays on documentaries that have examined the aesthetic, economic, historical, political, and social elements that affect the lives of black Americans, as understood from their views. All of the essays deal with the “struggle for representation” that counters the often uniformed and distorted representations of television and mass media. This work will give me a critical lens for viewing Simon’s work and assessing the value and nature of its representation of black Americans in Baltimore.

Annotated Bibliography

First, I have decided to change my topic (or rather, focus) slightly. To demonstrate how HBO has changed Network Television, I will compare one season from Hill Street Blues with a season of NYPD Blue (most likely a later season that came out after 1997). This will be particularly interesting as both shows were created by Steven Bochco and both are considered groundbreaking shows. NYPD BLue, however, was much more critacized for its racy content, and I will argue that this “pushing of the envelope” was directly related to the emergence of HBO and its racy, but highly succesful, series (most notably, The Sopranos). With that in mind, here is my annotated bibliography:

Barnouw, Erik. Tube of plenty the evolution of American television. New York: Oxford UP, 1990. Print. This book deals with how television has changed over the course of its existence. I will focus on the later chapters, which deal with the changes that have taken place in the last 20 years and illustrate how these changes have corresponded to the emergence of HBO. In addition, I will use the chapter at the end of the book that attempts to predict how television will continue to change, to address this same issue that I plan to cover in my essay.

Bochco, Steven. “Censorship Chronicles: Steven Bochco.” Interview. Odeo. 26 May 2006. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. This interview deals with the censorship issues Bochco has faced in making television, particularly with NYPD blue. This will be helpful as it illustrates the issues of censorship on network television and also how these issues had changed from when Bochco was making HIll Street Blues.

Carter, Bill. “A Cable Show Networks Truly Watch.” NY Times on The Sopranos 2002 Edition. By New York Times. New York: I Books, 2002. Print. This article talks about how network television stations have attempted to emulate the Sopranos after seeing the success it had. For this reason, it will be very helpful for my topic as I will use it to demonstrate how HBO and, specifically The Sopranos, changed the way network television stations worked.

Carter, Bill. “Concerns About Content Prove Ready for Prime Time.” New York Times 25 July 1989. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. This article deals with the growing anxieties and criticism network television stations were facing for their controversial shows (in 1989). It will be helpful as it indicates how the culture of television was changing at that time (and will also be useful in showing how much more it has changed since)

Carter, Bill. “Police Drama Under Fire for Sex and Violence.” New York Times 22 June 1993. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. This article deals with the criticism NYPD Blue faced because of its controversial language and topics. The article will be helpful for my essay as it illustrates how NYPD Blue pushed the envelope and how people reacted to this.

Delaney, Sam. “HBO: Television will never be the same again.” Telegraph. 25 Feb. 2009. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. <Telegraph.co.uk>. This article will be extremely useful as it deals directly with my topic: how HBO has changed television. In the article, Delaney writes about the ways HBO and its groundbreaking shows have changed television and what viewers expect from television. I will use this article to show how these changes in expectations altered network television as well.

Heil, Douglas. “Creating the Prime-Time Novel Interview with Michael Kozoll.” Prime Time Authorship Works About and by Three TV Dramatists (The Television Series). New York: Syracuse UP, 2002. 281-310. Print. In this chapter, Michael Kozoll speaks directly about working on Hill Street Blues and writing for network television in general. Both topics will be very helpful in illustrating how writing for network television is different from HBO and how it has changed.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. “Not Only Bochco’s Uniforms Are Blue.” The New York Times 26 July 1993. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. This article deals with the controversy surrounding NYPD, calling it “the raciest show on television” at the the time it came out. This will help illustrate how network television began to change and become more racy as HBO and its controversial shows began to have so much success

Lotz, Amanda D. “If It’s Not TV, What Is It? The Case of U.S Subscription Television.” Cable Visions Television Beyond Broadcasting. By Sarah Banet-Weiser, Cynthia Chris, and Anthony Freitas. New York: NYU, 2007. Print. This chapter deals with how HBO, because of its structure and content, is different from television. In the chapter, Lotz argues that these differences separate stations such as HBO from other television stations. I will use this chapter to demonstrate how HBO and other television stations, particularly network stations, are still very different both in style and in what they show.

Marc, David. “Steven Bocho: Yuppie Catharsis.” Prime time, prime movers from I love Lucy to L.A. law–America’s greatest tv shows and the people who created them. Boston: Little, Brown, 1992. 218-30. Print. I will use this chapter about Steven Bocho as it provides critical information about his career in television (including his work in both HIll Street Blues and NYPD). In addition, the chapter talks about how both these shows pushed the envelope of network television.

Silverman, David S. You Can’t Air That Four Cases of Controversy and Censorship in American Television Programming (Television and Popular Culture). New York: Syracuse UP, 2007. Print. I will use this book to illustrate how network television is limited by censorship. In addition, I will use the chapter that follows the history of network television censorship to illustrate how this censorship has changed, and how these changes correspond with the emergence of HBO

Thompson, Robert. “David Chase, The Sopranos and Television Creativity.” This thing of ours investigating The Sopranos. By David Lavery. New York: Columbia UP, Wallflower, 2002. 18-26. Print. In this essay, Lavery and Thompson demonstrate how The Sopranos forever changed HBO and television in general. It will be helpful for me as this directly relates to my topic. I plan to use their essay to show how the introduction of the show corresponded to changes in network television.

Thompson, Robert. “HIll Street Blues: The Quality Revolution.” Television’s Second Golden Age. New York, NY: The Continuum Company, 1996. 59-74. Print.This chapter talks specifically about Hill Street Blues and how it was so vastly different from network television before it. It will be useful as I will be able to show how much has changed since it (especially in relation to NYPD Blue and the advent of HBO series that happened in between these two shows)

The Wire, Baltimore as Character, Annotated Bibliography

Preliminary annotated bibliography for research paper on an episode of The Wire that examines how it depicts the City of Baltimore as social location and geographic character in the episode.

Bowden, Mark. “The Angriest Man in Television.” The Atlantic, Jan/Feb 2008. 13 September 2009 http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200801/bowden-wire.
This article focuses on Simon’s distrust of the “political structure” and disenchantment with the newspaper as well as television industries and how he has turned his anger into a fictional vision of what he knows as the City of Baltimore. This article reflects on Simon’s personal and professional confrontations and tells how one affects the other. I anticipate that this piece will answer the question of motivation for the series The Wire.

Burns, Ed, et al. “The Wire’s War on the Drug War.” Time, 5 March 2008. 25 October 2009 http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1719872,00.html.
An article by the major writers on The Wire, including Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Richard Price and David Simon contextualizes the drug scene in Baltimore and on a national level and names the resultant consequences such as high incarceration numbers among society’s most marginalized populations. This information will add perspective to the drug piece of The Wire pie.

Kinder, Marsha. “Re-Wiring Baltimore: The Emotive Power of Systemics, Seriality, and the City.” Film Quarterly Winter 2008-09, 50+.
This article joins the institutional processes and practices with the characters from The Wire to produce a synthesized view of the City of Baltimore as the symbol for all urban communities. Kinder posits that the city presents the foundation for the stories told in The Wire. This discussion will support my analysis of one episode of The Wire and how it depicts Baltimore through its storytelling mechanisms.

Massood, Paula. Black City Cinema: African American Urban Experiences in Film. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003.
While the book focuses on film, it offers some insight as to how spatial temporal locations are used to convey certain narrative sensibilities and representations. Its premise will speak to the motivation of choice of location for The Wire and shed light on the urban trope played out in black television culture.

Rose, Brian. “The Wire.” The Essential HBO Reader. Eds. Gary Edgerton and Jeffrey Jones. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2008.
This essay focuses on the motivations of Simon and Burns to turn the cop genre on its head and focus on “urban sociology … politics and … macroeconomics” (82). The essay posits that Simon and Burns wanted to create a more comprehensive storyline that reflected the reality of the urban socio-economic-cultural-political mix. I anticipate that this information will help construct my argument of the City as a central character of The Wire.

Simon, David. “Transcript: David Simon on Why He Created The Wire.” TimesOnline, 13 October 2009. 13 October 2009 http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article6872920.e…
This is a new piece from the London TimesOnline that is in reality an excerpt from a 2004 book by Rafael Alvarez, a former Wire staffer which includes this essay by Simon. I’ve ordered the book, however, this excerpt gives Simon’s overriding purpose and reasons and his view of the City as the new Western frontier to be explored, revealed and settled. I look forward to more in the book about the symbolism of the City in the postmodern age.

Taylor, Sara. “The Wire: Investigating the Use of Neoliberal Institutional Apparatus and a ‘New Humanist’ Philosophical Apparatus.” Darkmatter Journal, May 2009. 25 October 2009 http://www.drkmatter101.org/site/2009/05/29/the-wire-investigating-the-use-of-a-neoliberal-institutional-apparatus-and-a-new-humanist-philosophical-apparatus/
The premise of this article centers on The Wire as an expression of neoliberalism and a new humanist culture in broadcasting circles. Neoliberalism as a “conversion of global cultures into market cultures” is one definition used to characterize the motivations of HBO programming executives. From this article, I hope to find a theoretical context in which to place my discussion.