Recent Comments

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
Martin Zeller-Jacques

Doesn’t this really depend on whether you’re using reboot to describe what’s happening with the narrative as opposed to what’s happening with the text/brand? The narrative of GG may be continued, rather than rebooted (though given the ambivalent status of Season 7 in the eyes of Palladino, even that, I think, is debatable), but the brand is surely being rebooted, in that its value is being reinvigorated. I suspect on the reason for the vagueness in popular use around reboots/remakes/reimiaginations, etc. comes from the fact that, to media producers, the purpose of these sometimes very different narrative strategies is always to re-monetize dormant brands.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
William Proctor

There is a set definition of the term which I explored in my PhD (which was, unsurprisingly, on reboots) and forthcoming book which studies the phenomenon. Now the term obviously derives from computer technology, but the first time the term was used as a narrative technique was in 1994 and it emerged as a comic book concept to describe the Legion of Superheroes which wiped the slate clean to begin again. Even the notorious Wikipedia uses the correct definition: “to reboot means to discard all continuity in an established series in order to recreate its characters, timeline and backstory from the beginning.” From this perspective, even Fuller House is a re-launch as opposed to a continuation. If it continues, regardless of the time span between series, it does not reboot.The term grew into a buzzword around 2005 with Nolan’s Batman reboot — prior to that, the only use was for superhero comics. But as journalists pounced on the word and began using it frivolously to describe adaptations, remakes, sequels, prequels and revivals/ relaunches, then we are in a jungle of conceptual foliage. That it has been misinterpreted by aligning oneself with journalistic discourse is fine as far as it goes. But a lack of historicising is wide spread across the academy and this requires rethinking and further analysis. For if Fuller House is a reboot, then so is Godfather 3.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
Amanda Reyes

What surprises me most about bringing back a series like the Gilmore Girls is how little time has passed since its original run. I think, for myself, it feels more like a continuation. Whereas I see Fuller House completely as a reboot. I think that’s where the gray area lies for me in terms of the conception of the term. There’s not set definition for it, and I may agree with William’s ideas above.

However, I do think that sense of nostalgia placed inside a more contemporary structure is really compelling. As you’ve noted, nostalgia plays a huge part in that. I am fascinated by TV movie reunions of old shows, such as Still the Beaver and Return to Mayberry. Because of their idealized structure, they have a lot less room to update the TVMs into something more contemporary and any attempt to do so may alienate viewers (see Mary and Rhoda from 2000 for an example). The Gilmore Girls was already really self-aware, so it had a bit more room to move. The more interesting reboot here for me is Fuller House, since it was cut from the same cloth as The Andy Griffith Show and Leave it to Beaver in many ways. I’ve not seen the updated version, but I do know it has been fully embraced.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
William Proctor

Although this is an interesting piece, the use of the term ‘reboot’ is conceptually problematic. A re-launch/ revival and a reboot are not the same thing. Your examples of Fuller House and Gilmore Girls are emphatically not reboots but re-launches. A reboot is a serial concept that disavows or ignores a pre-established narrative sequence to begin again in an alternate narrative universe. Both Fuller House and Gilmore Girls are continuations so they do not reboot. That would involve wiping the slate clean and beginning again as if the originals did not exist in the first place. Of course, reboots can never truly wipe the slate clean as the memories of audiences cannot be expunged like a text. But that is what a reboot aims to achieve: a beginning again.

Melissa N Miller

Hi Alexandra!

It’s been my experience that many of the people who are directly impacted by Twilight fans (shopkeepers, motel/innkeepers, volunteers at the Chamber/Visitor’s Center, for example) have all been complimentary toward Stephenie Meyer and the notoriety that Twilight has thrust upon Forks. Of course, one might expect this kind of messaging from customer service professionals who want to make me feel good about my visit there and continue to spend my time and dollars in their town. However, I believe there is likely a kernel of truth to their statements — the town continues to host an annual “Stephenie Meyer Day” (recently rebranded as “Forever Twilight in Forks”) in honor of her and Twilight (which she has attended), and in this interview (http://vamped.org/2015/10/05/ten-years-of-twilight-visit-to-forks-washin...) the mayor states that he’s pleased she painted the town in a positive light. Still, that’s not to say I haven’t felt twinges of Twilight fatigue from community residents over the years. Tens of thousands of visitors to your town of 3000-4000 has got to be overwhelming after a while.

Meyer had never even visited Forks before publishing the first Twilight book - she just Googled “rainiest place in the US” and Forks was the lucky hit. While no one could have expected that Twilight would become such a success, it doesn’t negate that its popularity was a lot for the town to handle and they have really managed to take the whole thing in stride. But you are right that it begs the question of what she may owe them in return for accepting the monumental responsibility of acting as caretakers to a fandom that they didn’t ask for. The philanthropic opportunities that must exist in the small communities of Forks (and also neighboring La Push), are likely great. One would think someone of her capacity must be making contributions to these communities. But, no one is saying - if she is.

Gene Kelly's House, 725 North Rodeo Drive
Alexandra Edwards

Ahh, so the house is privately owned! Interesting…

Alexandra Edwards

This made me wonder as well if Stephenie Meyer has a responsibility to Forks, since she set her book there? How does the town view the (now very famous) woman who put them on the map?

Gene Kelly's House, 725 North Rodeo Drive
Kelli Marshall

Thanks, Alexandra! Yes, I know the names of the people who now live there, but I won’t dare list them here. :)

Gene Kelly's House, 725 North Rodeo Drive
Alexandra Edwards

This is fascinating! I’m intrigued by the idea of fans stopping by to “read” the house like a text that tells them about Kelly’s life. Do you know who owns the house now? I’m amazed that it hasn’t become an official attraction of some kind…

PBS - Kellyanne Conway
Roger Almendarez

Thank you for your post! I enjoyed your framing of “post truth” as “the cultural logic of late racism,” and I would venture further that this cultural logic extends beyond racism to various forms of oppression.

Although your post focuses specifically on how the concept of “post truth” interacted with voters of color, your linking of “post truth” to a cultural logic of oppression also invokes discussions of post-modern subjectivities.

As Jameson explained, Western Culture entered into a phase of “post-modernity” that de-centered the subject, leading to a crisis where “truth” became merely a relative position and not an apriori distinction. Chela Sandoval also greatly points out that this particular “post-modern” subjectivity is very similar to that experienced by post-colonial subjects.

That being said, post-modernity—in liberating the oppressed through the de-centering of power—inevitably led to our contemporary moment of “post-truth,” where hegemonic power re-captures dominance (ala Gramsci) by sanctioning the use of rhetorical tools like “alternative facts” that can co-exist alongside reason and established knowledge, legitimizing hypocritical and unreasonable positions.

I call this inevitable because, by de-essentializing “truth,” post-modernity sanctioned moral relativism and meta-modernist (http://www.metamodernism.org/, which I denigrate a selective post-modern philosophy, out of fear) conceptions of self-justified, personal “truths,” which can now been seen as having as much relative value as those truths espoused by more traditional forms of knowledge creation. However, I will admit that there is something liberating (albeit sinister and very Dennis the Menace-y) about not having to justify eating meat while believing in universal equality.

So, just as post-modernity promised freedom, it also paved the way for this moment of increasing oppression. Unfortunately, I think we’ve only just entered this particular phase and can expect the next 20 years to be replete with a bludgeoning force that authorizes”post truths,” furthering majority agendas and marginalizing the rest.

In the age of information, it appears that in popular culture it matters less what is “right” and “true” and matters more that we can find greater bulks of data. Being in a marginal subjective position myself (although, nowadays, who isn’t?), I propose a strategy of data dumping, where we oppose this dominating force by generating more, and more, and more information, including misinformation—just not in our scholarship or tax returns.