My So-Called Life only lasted one season on ABC during the 1994-1995 season. But for a considerable number of folks in my peer group, the critical darling was a huge part of our adolescence, televisual fandom, and nascent feminism.
I never really identified with protagonist Angela Chase (Claire Danes), as she was prone to bouts of maudlin narcissism. I related more to type-A childhood friend Sharon Cherski (Devon Odessa), particularly her struggle to balance advanced course work with a myriad of extra-curricular activities. I also enjoyed Cherski's developing friendship with Deadhead Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer), who Chase abandons Cherski for early in the series' season-long run. Like Cherski, I wasn't sure what to make of Graff the first few times I watched the show during its initial run on ABC and when MTV re-ran it a few years later. Graff's self-destructive tendencies were frightening, but her creative potential always had me rooting for her.
On Friday, Kjerstin Johnson forwarded me Vulture's post on the music video for Kiely Williams's "Spectacular." Once a member of the girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls, Williams has been working on solo projects since 2008, and first tried to dispense with her Disney-friendly image with 2009's "Make Me a Drink." The instrumental version of "Spectacular" was released in October 2009 and the music video was posted on her Web site back in January. The clip was re-released earlier this month and . . . ugh (the video can be viewed here). Now, I don't want to judge folks' sexual proclivities. But there's that and then there's "Spectacular," which is basically a dance track that extols the sexual prowess of a date rapist. No, no, no.
Last month, NBC aired 30 Rock's "Future Husband" episode, wherein TGS creator/head writer Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) tracks down the man she labeled her spouse-to-be on her iPhone. It was a follow-up to the Valentine's Day-themed "Anna Howard Shaw Day," which found the show's heroine spending the most romantic day of the year at the dentist, haunted by hallucinations of ex-boyfriends as the painkillers took hold. Apparently while doped up, Lemon met a British man named Wesley Snipes (Michael Sheen). When they exchanged phone numbers, both parties were looking to settle. "Future Husband" focuses on them not wanting to acknowledge that society thinks their age and relationship status thinks that they should. For those who'd like to watch the episode in full, go here.
As I was anticipating this blog series at the time of my viewing, imagine my good fortune when I realized that Lemon changed her ringtone from Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" (i.e., Elmer Fudd's "Kill the Wabbit") to Peaches's "Fuck the Pain Away."
If you've been watching 30 Rock this season, you might be familiar with Kabletown, the fictional media company that is in the process of purchasing NBC on the show. If you've been paying attention to media news recently, you might be familiar with Comcast, the real media company that is in the process of purchasing NBC in real life. Art imitates life! Even when life is in a Brave New World state controlled by media monopolies! In an added twist, NBC has launched a Kabletown website that contains some jokes that are so over-the-top they would be hilarious, if they weren't describing a dismal media future that is all too imminent for NBC/Comcast. Looks like a fake website is covering a real merger in a more effective way than most news outlets. Thanks, Tina Fey?
Welcome to the first entry in a series I'll be doing called "Tuning In." Over the next eight weeks, I will be highlighting intersections of music culture and television from a feminist perspective. As music is often relegated to the background or given minimal consideration when used in other mediums, I thought a post on Lane Kim, protagonist Rory Gilmore's best friend in the long-running series Gilmore Girls, would be a good introduction to my interests here.
Marlee Matlin, best known for her Oscar-winning performance on Children of a Lesser God and her role as Jodi on The L Word, is now behind the camera on a new reality show, My Deaf Family. "Deaf and hard of hearing people make up one of the largest minority groups, and yet there has never been a show, a reality documentary series that features what life is like for them," Matlin said in an LA Times post. Although only on YouTube for now, the pilot proves the show definitely will have staying power.
Are you counting down the days until Glee returns for a second season (23!) or are you groaning at the mere mention of a show you hoped would be wiped from the national memory once American Idol came back on the air and satisfied the public urge to see young people engage in petty competition and sweaty vocal gymnastics?
Whichever camp you fall into, you may remember the amount of controversy surrounding Glee's use and attempted subversion of various stereotypes, which was covered in some detail by our very pithy Transcontinental Disability Choir guest blog back in November.