Blog of School Work

There are 31 blog entries within the category of School Work

RTF 317 - Postmodernism
May 6th, 1999 | View Post
MAY 7, 1999

As we have gotten closer and closer to the twenty-first century, the lifestyles of Americans and other cultures for that matter have changed drastically. Television has changed drastically as well. It has changed to not only fit the times, but also to make fun of them. Lifestyles that we see in average American households are displayed in realistic but sometimes over exaggerated senses. This is especially evident in "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" and the ever so popular primetime show, "The Simpsons".

In 1986, Paul Reubens was transformed from being a relatively smalltime actor, into a character that children would learn to love, Pee-Wee. Although this was not the first time that Pee-Wee was around, it was the first time he appeared on network television. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure had been produced and released the previous year, but now a show was in the Saturday morning lineup. Each week, millions of kids would sit in front of the screen laughing at his goofy suit, magical bike, and infamous word of the day. But there was certainly more to the show then comedy. Pee-Wee’s show was made up of radical sets, make believe worlds, talking animals, even talking furniture. It was categorically described as an educational children’s comedy. Less the comedy, I suppose one could almost compare it to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. All of the elements were the same. Of course, anyone’s who has ever watched both of those shows would say quite the opposite. Characteristically, Pee-Wee reflected the life of the eighties teenager and young adult. Hairstyles were very eccentric and strangely colored, a modern house look was always in effect as mentioned previously, and women were not shown to be housewives, but rather important figures in the world. Although all of these things may seem like nothing, they were quite a change for the time. Single hosted shows before this time were nothing like that of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Many times the host would be and older man, talking calmly and enunciating his words, simply trying to get a message across. If the host wanted a guest on his show, it would be another person similar to the host explaining their message in the same sense. I resort back to Mr. Roger. Children were often taken on trips to the post office or the bank. They would see a postal employee named Mr. Smith or a bank clerk named Mrs. Morris doing their job, and learn what they did. The farthest stretch that the show had was “Never-Never Land”, which was made up of humans and talking puppets. Paul Reuben was far from anything like this. His “Never-Never Land” was the entire show. The set was not made up of nice furniture and fishbowls, but rather of magic windows and furniture that talked to the audience. Even the character names were made up. There was Conky, Knucklehead, Captain Carl, and of course, Pee-Wee. The entire show was a display of the post-modernism cinema and television style that had emerged. People of the era were tired of being “normal” and individualism was a key. Children, teens, and even young adults wanted to be different then the "regular guy". This could be seen through the way that people dressed and did their hair to the way that they built their homes. No more slacks and tucked in collared shirts. People wanted to dress in ripped jeans and wear Jean jackets covered in patches. They did not want their hair to be blonde or brown with the standard cut but rather for it to be purple or pink with spikes or even a Mohawk. “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” catered to this style of life, and it certainly became popular because of it.

As the eighties ended and the nineties began, lifestyles began changing yet again and a new display of postmodernism shows would begin. Within that realm of shows would emerge one of the most popular animated series of all times, “The Simpsons”. “The Simpsons” did not necessarily look at individuals differently, but rather at the family. To understand how this works, we must look at each family member separately. We begin with the children. As we have seen in shows in the past, children were generally well behaved, polite, and listened to their parents. Take for example “Leave it to Beaver”. Wally and the Beaver were always civil to one another, they were courteous to their parents, and when they wronged their parents, the apologized and “learned” how not to make the same mistake again. “The Simpsons” is much different from this model. Bart Simpson is the epitome of the nineties child. He is misbehaved, crude to others, disrespectful to authority, and makes the same mistakes over and over again. Lisa Simpson is not quite like Bart, but her ideas are very eccentric as well. Although she is supposed to be extremely educated, she often causes problems for others by means of protest even against her parent’s wishes. She is simply another reflection of the nineties child. Children nowadays tend to form their own radical opinions about matters and do not usually take into consideration what their parents feel about it. The legalization of drugs and especially marijuana can is a perfect example of this. Parents realize the dangers of drugs, but children believe them to be perfectly safe or are ignorant to their dangers. Because of this, we have the “rebel child” that goes out and does exactly what his or her parents would not approve of; in this case doing drugs. As we look at the mother of the family, Marge, we can see yet another perfect reflection of today’s mom. Marge is depicted in a number of episodes as the working mom. She has held down jobs such as a teacher, a policewoman, and even a spokesperson for the community. She is often afraid of where her path may take her, but is not afraid to try. Quite opposite of what we would expect from Mrs. Cleaver who could be seen cooking and cleaning the house at all times. On the flip side, however, this is the way that it was back in the fifties and sixties. That was what moms did. It only makes sense that we would see it would be on television like that. Finally as we look at the father of the family, the infamous Homer Simpson, we can only laugh. As in other postmodernism shows, Homer is known as the “buffoonish father”. Recalling on the Cleaver family, we would expect nothing more from Mr. Cleaver then for him to come home from a hard days work, pay the bills, tell his children goodnight, put himself to bed, and do it all over again. Homer is a little different. In his average thirty minutes, we see Homer skip work, drink himself into a stupor, watch hours of television, and ignore most of the bad things that his children do, not to mention ignoring his wife. This is obviously a harsh way to look at the nineties father, but there is some truth to it. The father of today does not always run the show, and is not always the one on top in the family. In the past the father held the family together, but nowadays we see different and random bonds form between family members. We do not see fathers throwing a ball around with their son as much anymore. Not to mention, slacking off from hard work is more evident now then in the past.

So as we have gotten closer and closer to the twenty-first century, we can see that the postmodernism television shows are changing to fit the lifestyles of Americans. As we have scene in “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” and “The Simpsons”, television follows the time, but it reflects it in some ways and mocks it in others. I can not wait to see how television reflects the twenty-first century, and I especially can not wait to see how it mocks it.

Rebecca and Manderlay - Oceanfront Property
April 29th, 1999 | View Post
APRIL 30, 1999

In March of 1940, United Artists released one of Hitchcock’s most memorable movies. Staring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, Rebecca won the academy award for best picture of the year. By this time Hitchcock had released over twenty other films, none of which measured up to the intensity of Rebecca. Why? Perhaps because of the incredibly developed plot which Hitchcock managed to capture in perfection. Rebecca has a series of plot twists within it. Through these plot twists, the viewer’s feeling towards the characters changes steadily throughout the movie. The resolution also remains uncertain up until the very last minute.

As the movie opens, we learn that Mr. de Winter (Laurence Olivier) is an extremely wealthy and unhappy man. Hitchcock holds out on the audience as to why Mr. de Winter is so unhappy, but we are given some hints. He soon falls in love with a young lady (Joan Fontaine) who is being a paid companion of one of Mr. de Winter’s female friends. They know each other for an extremely short time period and are married. Although this happens early within the story line, there is certainly a feeling that Maxim is rushing things along from a viewing standpoint. It appears that he is a lonely man searching for love and that he could not have found it with such a lady. When we view Joan Fontaine’s character at this point in the story, we see her as a young and naïve girl that would do anything not to work as a servant. It is hard for us to view her as a bold and independent woman ready to face the challenges of marriage and a new life. The new Mrs. De Winter is soon taken to the infamous castle of Manderlay, the home of Maxim. As the plot continues, Mrs. De Winter comes into many conflicts with a castle servant, Mrs. Danvers. The servants look down upon her because they all compare her to the first Mrs. De Winter, Rebecca. Around this point in the story, Maxim gets very upset with Mrs. De Winter on several occasions. On one particular occasion Mrs. Danvers dresses Mrs. De Winters up in a beautiful ball gown for a party that Maxim is throwing. It seems at this point that Mrs. Danvers is being exceptionally nice to her and that she is a very dynamic character. As Mrs. De Winter makes her way down the grand staircase in the house, Maxim is immediately upset with her. He asks her where she got the nerve to wear such a costume and makes her take it off. It is at this point that we realize that Mrs. Danvers has tricked Mrs. De Winter and is not changing after all. Through sequences like this, our emotions change for the characters. From the first minute that we are introduced to Mrs. Danvers we see that she is a bitter woman and almost get a sense of hatred towards her. It appears that she will not change throughout the entire movie despite Mrs. De Winter’s constant kindness towards her. As a viewer we had a sense of relief when it appeared that Mrs. De Winter’s efforts had finally paid off. Especially after Mrs. Danvers kindly created the dress for her. Hitchcock had an incredible way of playing with our emotions in this way. He would never reveal the ‘behind the scenes’ look at Mrs. Danvers, but instead led us to believe that she was finally changing. It is nothing more then a kick in the teeth when we find out how Mrs. Danvers has wronged her once again. Hitchcock could easily have shown us, just for a second, a mischievous look on Mrs. Danvers face or anything to lead us to believe that she was up to no good, but he did not. This is one of the ways that he was able to create such incredible mysteries.

When it appears that she can take no more, Mrs. De Winter finally learns that Rebecca drowned while sailing in a storm, or so it would seem. We eventually learn from Maxim that his first marriage was nothing but a fraud, and that Rebecca never did love him. It was all for an image that he wanted to have. Our emotions are once again toyed with at this point in the story. Maxim goes into great detail about Rebecca at one point in the story and it almost seems as if the new Mrs. De Winter is playing the same role to him that Rebecca did. He tells her how he loves her and would not hurt her, but can we really believe him at this point? It seems that Maxim has been all but a good husband to his new wife since very early in the story. There is no reason for the viewer to believe that he is all of a sudden going to change and be kind to her as he should. We must also question the idea of what really happened to Rebecca. Maxim has so much anger and aggression towards his ex-wife that makes it seem as if he has killed her. Obviously this is exactly what Hitchcock wanted us to believe or he would have told us otherwise through the use of flashbacks or narration. Maxim’s character has fluctuated throughout the film, but around this point he is certainly at the peak of throwing us off. He fell in love with Joan Fonatine’s character in the first few minutes of the movie. After marrying her, he mistreats her and neglects to give her the love that she feels for him. After it finally seems that he may be ready to tell the truth to Mrs. De Winter, it is impossible to decipher what the truth really is. As an audience, we feel that the only protagonist in the movie is Mrs. De Winter. Both Mrs. Danvers and now Maxim seem to have turned for the worst. He claims to be innocent of killing Rebecca but there is suspicion from her ex-lover that foul play was involved. For several scenes Hitchcock has us jumping back and forth in our heads trying to figure out what really did happen. To view this movie for a second time with a person that has never seen it can be very humorous during these scenes. The frustration level that Hitchcock manages to build up in our minds is incredible. When we can finally take no more confusion abuse, a doctor proves Maxim could not have killed Rebecca, therefore changing our opinion of him once more. To those who hated him for believing that he killed Rebecca and lied about it, a sense of relief. He is once more a likeable character, but we now need to find out what really did happen to Rebecca. However to those who loved the idea of Maxim being a killer and not really loving Mrs. De Winter, the frustration sets back in. Someone obviously killed Rebecca and if we can prove that it was not Maxim, who was it?

We have learned that Maxim did not in fact kill his wife. However, about three fourths of the way into the movie we learn that she wanted to die. She committed suicide. Even though Rebecca is never actually in the film, this brings up several questions as to the kind of person that she was. She had gotten almost everything out of life that one could possibly ask for. She was given an incredible home in which to live, more money then she could possibly spend, a husband, and even servants. She did lack one thing however, love. As a viewer, it is hard for us to feel sorry for Rebecca. She is the second hand cause of the pain and suffering that the new Mrs. De Winter has gone through. But still, she was willing to take her own life? As we learn more and more from Maxim, we not only begin to understand how their marriage was a fraud, but also Maxim would be ruined if he left her. Rebecca claimed that she would tell people how their marriage was a fraud which would make him look terrible in a to others. As we hear more and more from Maxim, we begin to feel less sorry for Rebecca and more sorrowful towards Maxim. Although after time there was not necessarily love in their marriage, he still gave her everything that a person could give to another. He was also not abusive to her like we might expect. To make things even worse, Rebecca happened to take her life in the presence of Maxim. It is hard to speculate whether or not she did this on purpose, which leaves more confusion inside of us. She may have purposely killed herself in front of Maxim for the sake of making him remember such a site, or she may have just thought it was a way to make things right. Rebecca’s last intentions alive are never really unveiled in the story line, but we know she is dead and that Maxim witnessed it. Whether you have loved and prospered, or loved and lost, it would be a horrible site to see a loved one take their own life. To complete this confusing sequence, we learn that Maxim put a body on another boat and sent it off in the storm. He was afraid of what people might say to find his wife had killed herself, or worse to be accused of murder. When the authorities found the boat, they assumed that it was Rebecca but could not tell because of the damage that the body had gone through. Maxim could not face the reality of his own life and was forced to make these decisions in haste. Many people could say that Maxim was not a very smart man because of such a decision, but I feel that in such a case, others would do the same. He placed Rebecca on a sailboat and caused it to sink, which leads to the previous explanation of her body being found.

As the story nears an end, the new Mr. and Mrs. De Winter are almost able to go about their lives but not before one more fateful scene. As they return home to Manderlay, they discover that the beautiful mansion has been set ablaze. We feel almost sorry for the turn of events in Maxim’s life, and now it has gotten even worse. One of the final shots reveals Mrs. Danvers in the window of the burning building with an expression of pure evil on her face. We as viewers are racing with mixed feelings about the plot while watching this scene. It finally becomes evident that Mrs. Danvers can be considered the antagonist in the movie not only to Maxim, but also to his wife. When we look back at all of the wrongfulness that Mrs. Danvers has brought upon Mrs. De Winter, we feel a sense of justice being done. As in most classical Hollywood narratives, the antagonist is taken care of. In this particular case it is safe to assume that she has killed herself. At the same time, however, it brings a feeling of sadness to us to see Maxim’s estate burned to a ground by a servant that he has housed and fed for so many years. Also, by this time all of our feelings that Maxim could have been a bad man have been altered. He did not kill Rebecca, he married Mrs. De Winter because he loved her, and yet, everything that he owned has been destroyed. It is terribly upsetting, or is it? One of Hitchcock’s views towards movie making was never to leave the audience with the antagonist getting his or her way. He would create that realm of suspense and make you think that everything had gone wrong, but then fix it. The protagonist will win. So leave it to him to once again twist things around for the better. If we read into what Manderlay really was, we find that it was nothing more then a graveyard of memories of Rebecca. Everything from the carpet to the ceiling was designed and picked out by Rebecca. Maxim is finally given a chance through fate to start a new life, to rid himself of the horrible memories that Rebecca has left him with. Of course, who better to do it then Rebecca’s personal servant, Mrs. Danvers. Although it is somewhat harder to find then in many of Hitchcock’s movies, all is well for the protagonists. We feel a sense of relief for Maxim and are happy that he and Mrs. De Winter can move on. I can only imagine if the story had continued that Mr. and Mrs. De Winter would be seen building their own house, together.

As we look back at this immeasurable plot line, we can understand why Rebecca was such a successful movie. With the exception of Mrs. De Winter, every character goes through drastic changes throughout the film, or so Hitchcock got us to believe. Mr. and Mrs. De Winter are clearly the protagonists of the movie. Maxim and Mrs. Danvers appear to be very dynamic characters but I disagree. Mrs. Danvers has nothing but bitterness running throughout her from the beginning of the film until her death. At times it seems that she is changing, but it never does once stick with her. Maxim is just the opposite. He is so full of love for his new wife but it seems at times that he is not treating her as he should. He is, however, merely trying to protect her from the past that he himself can not deal with. As things wind down, it is quite clear that he is still full of love and that his second marriage has a strong foundation. It has been said that a fool builds his house on sand and a wise man on solid ground. If this is true, Manderlay was a beach. Fortunately for Maxim, solid ground was just around the corner.

RTF 316 - Early Times
December 2nd, 1998 | View Post
Kevin Ludlow
Extra Credit Paper III – “Early Times”
RTF 316 – History of Radio and Television
Amanda Lotz
December 3, 1998

It is not often that I get the chance to talk to my 74-year-old grandmother about anything that interests her, so she was delighted to be asked about the radio. She was born sometime in 1925 and has a recalled listening to radio broadcasts ever since she was a young girl. I first asked her simply what it was like listening to the radio and her responses were certainly much more positive then mind towards radio. My grandmother explained to me how although they were listening to the radio, it was so similar to watching television, but at the same time better. She told me how the front of the radio had a large fuzzy screen on it that was often stared at like a picture was inside of it. The best part, of course, was that it was all in the imagination. She and her brothers would sit in front of the radio and stare at the blank screen imagining that there were really actors there to watch. No matter what kind of show they were listening to, they were always able to come up with a visual story to follow along with in their heads. At times, certain stories could stretch the images in their mind much more elaborately then today’s greatest special effects can. One of the biggest problems that they had was being allowed to listen to the shows that they wanted to. She explained to me how the content of many programs restricted them from listening in on the radio. Although we would probably view such content now as children’s programming, back in the 30’s, she explained, such content was much more regarded by parents.

Amongst her favorite programs was “Tom Mix” who was a movie star back then. He played the role of a cowboy on the radio and was apparently quite popular. “The Lone Ranger” was also a program that was broadcast in her household during that time period. One of both my grandmother and grandfather’s favorite programs was “Jack Armstrong, The American Boy” which at that time which was sponsored by Wheaties. I asked her if she recalled any comic shows that she may have watched during the time period and she told me about Eddie Couter. He was a comic on the radio around the middle 1930’s to early 1940’s. He was a household favorite as well. On the weekends, the radio was used more as what we understand today. It simply broadcast musical programs during the peak hours of the day. She recalled listening to the “Metropolitan Opera” every Saturday afternoon from 1:00 in the afternoon to about 4:00 in the afternoon. They would broadcast whatever was being played that day at the Metropolitan Opera House. On Sunday’s she would tune into the “Firestone Hour” which was a musical broadcast sponsored by Firestone tires. In order to gain a common point with my grandmother, I asked her if she ever listened to the Orson Welles show. She jumped into stories of him very quickly of how her and her brothers used to listen to his show weekly. I proceeded to ask her about the infamous “War of the Worlds”; she of course had heard it. She explained to me that she remembered that October day very well. Growing up in New Jersey, the show was focused right around town. She explained to me that she understood that it was only a show and that aliens were not really taking over the planet. However, at the same time she remembers being very frightened because of the incredible realism that Orson Welles used for that time. My grandmother also recalled how the radio station got hundreds of calls the next day and how the newspapers made such an incredible ordeal over it because of the panic that it had caused.

Although the radio had always been a part of my grandmother’s life, she remembers when those days started to slow down. In the early 50’s, her father went out and bought a Muntz television set from the popular salesman Mad Man Muntz. It was a simple black and white television and best of all it was brand new. After that, the radio started transforming into what it is today. Radio shows slowly began to cease, and musical broadcasts became more common.
RTF 316 - Lucky Me
November 23rd, 1998 | View Post
Kevin Ludlow
Paper II – “Lucky Me”
RTF 316 – History of Radio and Television
Amanda Lotz
November 24, 1998

As television moved into American homes in the early 50’s, racism certainly came with it. Although racism was something that was clearly evident in America around that time, television had a unique way of presenting it to look like it was not a problem of the time. From shows with white stars like The Rifleman, to shows that had African American stars such as Amos ‘n’ Andy, racism was always evident in the script.

When looking at a particular text such as The Rifleman, it is generally easy to pick out bits of racism throughout the show. The reason it is so easy for us to pick it out is simply because we live in a period where racism, although it exists, is generally seen as wrong. Although many civil rights movements occurred within the 50’s and 60’s, African Americans were still segregated and viewed as an inferior race to many. In the show, The Rifleman, Chuck Connors stars the show as the character Lucas McCain. He lives with his boy, Mark, on a ranch somewhere in New Mexico. Within the five years that it was on the air, there were many shows that dealt with issues of racism towards not only African Americans, but also Native Indians. African Americans were commonly shown to be thieves and cheap laborers. They were not stars of the show by any means and if they were to appear, chances are they would be rebels of the town and Lucas would have to hunt them down. Many shows also had Indian characters that were generally threats to the community. Uniquely enough, if they honestly were non-hostile Indians who meant no harm to the community, Lucas would side with them. On the flip side, the town would turn against them no matter what the situation was. Native Indians were viewed as the lowest class of people in the area. They were disrespected, mocked, and distrusted even when they did nothing wrong. The townspeople in New Mexico often wanted to gun them down “clean” their town even though the Indians caused little havoc. Chuck Connors was the dominant white male character that the society of that time viewed to be in control of everything. He was on the side of the sheriff and of the townspeople, and wanted justice to always be served. He was a single father and did an excellent job raising Mark, which made him the type of character that people wanted to be. Perhaps it was because of this heroic character that the show became so popular. Of course, with so many people watching shows that constantly portrayed minorities as having unacceptable qualities, it is no wonder racism was so out of hand. Maybe if networks had shows that stared African Americans people would have viewed them differently – on the other hand, maybe it would make it worse.

Although a predecessor of The Rifleman, Amos ‘n’ Andy was a show that not only stared African Americans, was centered on them as well. Staring Alan Childress as Amos and Spencer Williams as Andy, their show was a relatively popular sitcom derived from the even more popular radio show. The shows were often focused on Kingfish, played by Tim Moore. He usually had some sort of idea or scheme to make his lifestyle better or more particularly to become wealthy. Although the show was focused on the African American community, it portrayed blacks in a terrible sort of way. The general character on the show was a poor porch sitter who barely made enough money to get by on a regular basis. The characters did not stand up for things that they believed in especially to white folk. They were uneducated, loud, obnoxious, and worst of all were portrayed to have the worst English grammar in society. The women of the show were portrayed to be just as loud and obnoxious but also very demanding and general nuisances to their husbands. In the episode of “The Happy Stevens”, we are able to see exactly how a typical wife acted on the show. Sapphire (Ernestine Wade) is constantly nagging at the Kingfish to act more like their favorite radio show, “The Happy Couple”. We see how Kingfish miserably tried to mimic the show the best that he can by using cheap imitations of “The Happy Couple’s” ideas. Such disregard for the Kingfish’s taste would never have been shown had he been white. The show was watched by millions of people across America from children to elderly people. More importantly African Americans watched it too. Although blacks were being represented on the television, they would have probably been better off without being so. Not only did people of the time get to see white folk make fun of African Americans, they got to see African Americans make fun of themselves.

Although we are now able to look back at how racism was portrayed on television, we must ask ourselves – has it gotten any better? I think that the answer is no. Directors and producers have simply done a much better job of incorporating racism into shows without us realizing it. Even in much more recent shows, African Americans are still portrayed to be more deviant characters in society. Take for example the popular seven-year show of Designing Women. One of the main characters of the show is Anthony Bouvier, played by Meshach Taylor. Anthony is portrayed to be a hard working and educated friend and employee of the Sugarbaker firm. He was on the show from the beginning until the end, and even though he was such a hard worker, his past always seemed to come up. He had served time in prison for a crime he had committed some time ago and many episodes incorporate racist humor on him. Suzanne Sugarbaker, played by Delta Burke, often makes comments about Anthony that are shots against the African American community. Of course, she does them in a way that seems so natural and innocent that we can not help but realize that she is joking. Although she is his friend and she means no harm upon him, her views towards African Americans are openly expressed in a humorous way to him throughout her five years on the show.

Racism will most likely be a problem that occurs long past our lifetimes, but is it really necessary for television shows to take advantage of it. Most everyone is guilty of finding a great deal of humor in the racist jokes that we hear on television. Many of us do not even view it as racism because it seems so naturalized on television. It will be hard for the world to be completely non-racist as long as television is part of our lives, and racism is part of television. I would like to think that I know how it feels to have an entire viewing audience laughing at me, but unfortunately I will never know. I am a white male who is supposed to find humor in it – lucky me.
TD301 - Capital City Comedy
November 21st, 1998 | View Post
Theater Dance 301
Jane Barnette (MWF 12-1)
Capital City Comedy

After visiting the Capital City Comedy Club on Sunday November the fifteenth, I realized that doing stand up comedy in front of only twenty people changes the skit drastically. As I sat in my seat I looked around at the many empty seats and then proceeded to see what the headlining entertainment looked like. Having already sat through about 45 minutes of comedy, I was starting to get into. However, I just could not figure out how comedian Jeff Jena was going to make it through his entire set with such a weak audience. I soon learned how he would do that - audience interaction. Previous acts J.C. Shakespeare and Chad Dubril used this technique to an extent, but the majority of Jeff Jena’s skit was solely based on improved audience heckling. I sat in the room with a friend for only a few minutes when suddenly her and I were part of the act. He asked us some questions and made fun of us for awhile and then made us get up and move closer or he would not go on. We joked with him as well and moved closer to the stage as he asked. I think that the both of us felt somewhat embarrassed as the temporary “stars” of the show. There could not have been more then twenty-five people in the audience so he had plenty of time to talk with everyone’s little group. I found it to be very entertaining as did the entire audience, at least it seemed that way from the roars of laughter in the crowd. Jeff joked quite a bit about marriage with the audience, which for many couples there obviously leaves a sense of discomfort. That seemed quite funny for the rest of the audience. His simple punch line jokes were excellent as well and I had never heard any of them. All in all I would say that for a few mere dollars, Jeff Jena gives you much more then your moneys worth for a stand-up comedian.
RTF 316 - The Lucky Seven
October 12th, 1998 | View Post
Kevin Ludlow
Paper I – “The Lucky Seven”
RTF 316 – History of Radio and Television
Amanda Lotz
October 13, 1998

After viewing the NBC television history movie I reminded myself of the media’s “What’s Hot, What’s Not” routine. NBC, being a large news source, is able to manipulate the idea of agenda setting even when they are only reminiscing. They have also shown the world a variety of changes in media technology by displaying the show in a variety of television formats (black and white vs. color) and program formats as well (entertainment vs. news).

Having been the first real network in mass media, NBC shows a great deal of character by showing off a small portion of more popular shows that have been aired since the birth of television. They did not only show NBC run shows, but also those of cable stations and the other major networks, ABC, CBS, and even FOX. As they began their clip, NBC chose a “U2 sounding” drum and bass beat without words to introduce the viewer to the beginning of television, similar to “Where the Streets Have No Names”. Perhaps because at this point in time the television shows had no names, simply meaning that the viewers could not associate with them in the same fashion that we can today. Similarly, as the years progressed so did the vocal content, crying out that television shows finally had concrete names in people’s lives. The idea that we have advanced so quickly in mass media is an excellent parallel to the rapid speed of the program changes. Not only were the shows mixed quickly, they were also intermingled with news clips of the relevant time period as well. NBC did a very good job of displaying the decade to the viewer and allowing us to see what the programming quality of that time period was like. It was also very clear to see a push from black and white programming to color between the 1950’s and 1960’s decades.

It is simply impossible for NBC to have displayed every precious moment in television history in seven minutes. The simple fact is that it would take about four hundred and twenty hours times the number of television stations, basically every running hour of television, to show off every great moment which again put delicately is impossible to recap. Since the birth of the printing presses hundreds of years ago, creators of media have done the same thing over and over again – agenda setting. Although very exciting and entertaining, the entire seven minutes of this film exaggerate that idea to an extreme. If we accept the idea that it is impossible to cram hours and hours of programming into a mere few minutes, then who is to say what gets shown and what does not? As always of course, the media. I imagine that many people alive in the 70’s got entirely sick of seeing Nixon’s mishaps broadcast on television just as we today get sick of O.J.’s affairs or even Clinton’s. The media has become so good at pounding information like that into the public’s heads that we get sick of it. However, NBC pushes it upon us a bit more by showing all three examples in a history of television. On the same note, NBC showed us a clip of Kennedy’s assassination followed by the Beatles. Five incredibly popular men that most of the world would like to have seen more of in the same program with three men that most of the world love to see no more of. The idea that the media can not give us certain beliefs is factual, but it is quite obvious that they try their hardest to by choosing what we can and can not view. I think it is safe to say that the world has listened to more sob stories from Monica Lewinsky on television then John Lennon ever had the time to even write.

The way in which NBC presented their clip was not only entertaining but clearly planned out carefully as well. Their color and sound changes were shown in a very timely fashion according to the time period at hand. The amount of symbolism used specifically with the sound and a selective few joint clips made the viewer think about exactly what television has meant to him or her over the years. However, although NBC did a relatively good job putting together an appropriate reel of clips for entertaining an audience, they were unable to show an unbiased selection. Perhaps someday NBC will be able to create a television history not of what they view it as, but rather for what it is in its exactness. I only hope that the “unwanted” show’s producers can forgive history for not including them in the lucky seven minutes.