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.
Confession time: I love me a good low budget fantasy series. If it's on a second rate cable network, and it features magic, medieval times, and roaming adventures, I'm in. I lived for Xena: Warrior Princess and all its chakram throwing, ululating battle crying, lesbian subtext possessing glory.
Later, I started watching Hercules - hell, I even gave Sinbad a try. But for the past few years, it appeared that the glory days of historic revisionism were over.
After viewing roughly 1.2 million promos for it during the Winter Olympics, I decided to give NBC's new prime time show The Marriage Ref a chance during last night's "special sneak preview." Sure, the promos made it look like a boring, offensive excuse to parade NBC celebrities in front of the cameras and portray marriage as a hilarious prison, but Jerry Seinfeld created it and he used to have a show that was pretty funny. Yeah. USED to.
Next week's episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will feature Kathy Griffin playing a lesbian activist named Babs Duffy. The comedian and self-professed friend of the gays has been talking up the episode, "P.C.," with several press outlets in the past few months. She spoke highly of working with Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, the latter's character, Detective Olivia Benson, being a large reason the show has such a huge lesbian audience.
Because I currently have to rely on the internets for my American TV shows (save the ridiculous smattering of FBI/cop shows they export to Danish television), I'm only now catching the recently-canceled reruns of the short-lived animated sitcom by Office Space/Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge, The Goode Family. The Goodes are the epitome of clueless liberals—painfully white, completely unaware of what PC language they oughta be using, and seemingly unwilling to learn why that might matter beyond not embarrassing themselves or their black neighbor. Their adopted son Ubuntu marks "African American" on his driver's license because while white, he was born in South Africa, his academic father insists. Obsessed with environmentalism, the Goodes drive a hybrid, though dad mostly bikes everywhere and is often seen in his bike gear, totally out of context. The family is vegan, shops at a ridiculously expensive snooty grocery, and even gives their dog Che vegan dog food (though he often sneaks off to chase and eat neighborhood animals). The entire premise—if you have enough progressive political awareness to get the jokes and can laugh at yourself—is riotously funny.
Just when you though you might not want another reality show about making it big in the fashion world, along comes Boss Ladies. Billed as "an exciting hybrid of 'The Real Housewives' and 'Project Runway'" (yay?) viewers follow five transgendered women from Atlanta to Los Angeles as they try to launch a clothing line and open a boutique.
For a while, it really seemed like Rachel Maddow was respected. While conservatives surely disagreed with her, most of them would give her an interview on her show, or seem to acknowledge her as someone to watch out for. She had an educated opinion, and she was eerily intelligent and well-spoken. (To some, I'm sure, that ignored Air America, she "came out of nowhere.")
Suddenly, Rachel Maddow has become a target. Andrew Breitbart, just yesterday, told the press what he'd say to Maddow, if he ever has the pleasure of meeting her:
I hope to see you and give you a lovely hug because you validated my hopes and aspirations and my business model because you're so bad at what you do.