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Derek Kompare

Very interesting clip, and comments about the fate of soaps (and comics) in this media environment. As you well know, soaps have historically dabbled a bit more in these kinds of experiments than most other TV genres (e.g., Dark Shadows, Passions, and various evil twins and dream/fantasy scenarios on many soaps), even though they still are the exception rather than the rule.

As a comics fan, I can make the connection between the dialogue in this clip (as well as the reveal of the costume) and similar scenes in many a comic. Indeed, it’s safe to say that the very idea of a “Guiding Light” is the core rationale of virtually every superhero narrative (esp., say, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and the X-Men). There’s actually a LOT of complexity with this notion going on in many superhero titles these days. Both DC and Marvel are very much about exploring the parameters and consequences of heroism (there’s loads of titles I could recommend that do this).

As for the transmedia possibilities, I agree that, despite the great formal similarities that already exist between comics and soaps, there remains an immense cultural gap between the fan communities. A better combination would have been to appeal more directly to a manga/anime sensibility, which hews more closely to the conventions of soap opera, while still operating in the realms of the “fantastic.” But that’s a generational shift, that the writers, producers, actors, and fans of GL aren’t quite ready for.

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Elana Levine

This was a one-time episode for GL and a one-issue comic book for Marvel. I don’t think it did much for bringing new viewers to the soap—or vice versa. But Guiding Light in particular, and a number of other soaps, as well, are doing all kinds of experiments these days. Perhaps they think they have nothing to lose and so are enjoying a certain amount of anything-goes creative freedom. Makes for an interesting time for the genre. If it survives—which I think it will—perhaps the genre will be altered in new ways.

But I don’t think GL fans were all that keen on this episode—I could find no clips of it on YouTube and had to upload my own.

Harley’s powers remind me of Samantha Stevens of Bewitched—housework made easy!

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Jason Mittell

(And as a side note, her powers remind me of American Maid from The Tick - domesticity unbound!)

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Jason Mittell

Wow. That was pretty astounding. As an outsider to both soap opera & comic book fan communities, I wonder how fans are responding to this genre mixture - although arguably there are many shared textual conventions between soaps & comics, my impression is that the overlap between these fanbases is fairly narrow. So how have soap fans reacted to the comic-alization of GL? Have comic fans ventured into the daytime to seek out this intertext? And how has this differed from previous genre mashups in soaps, such as horror & fantasy? Interesting case study…

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Tim Anderson

I can definitely see a boomer watching those episodes of Idol that bring in older artists with his or her gen y kid and telling him or her about these artists, pulling out the records while the child rolls their eyes. As popular pedagogy goes, at least this is, despite Lulu’s last note (a case study on why pushing notes you can no longer hit is just not a good idea), much more pleasurable than the many PBS retro pop music extravaganzas that one can see during any pledge week. Indeed, one of the issues at hand in popular pedagogy is the pleasure that us, students/viewers, enjoy in berating talking heads such as Seacrest. I mean, it’s fun to watch his non-expertise since anyone with a memory that lasts longer than last week’s episodes of Idol can talk back to the TV (I prefer chucking koosh balls at the screen) and debate the proceedings. Indeed, while I am not an Idol fan, those that watch Idol watch it for many of the same reasons sports fans engage self-proclaimed experts with such fervor: fans have knowledge that far exceeds the popular pedagogue and, because of the informality of these proceedings, are open about their preferences and judgments.

No such thing as a slam dunk
Doug Battema

The race against the clock definitely contributes to the drama; watching Atkinson catch the pass and dribble down the court as the seconds race away in the bottom of the screen still makes me hope he makes it in time. And I already *know* the outcome.

One other reason I chose this, too, is because of the lack of identification with/of the schools — since I think a lot of sports fans gravitate toward the underdog, unless they’re already fans of the other team. It’s sort of an odd phenomenon, really: Americans tend to embrace the scrappy underdog, the player or team who isn’t supposed to win, rather than the favorite … sort of the opposite of the way we handle, say, political or military situations.

Your comment, Chuck, also makes me think of how odd it is that the use of graphics — particularly the clock — winds up *adding* to the drama rather than detracting from it. Personally, I find the clutter on the screen (the crawl, the score, the score of other games, etc.) problematic and irritating in most cases. Yet either producers limit the number of graphics on screen to detract from viewers’ attention, or viewers are able to ignore it effectively, when the action is really intense. I’m tempted to say that producers limit the graphics at key moments … but it’s hard to tell from this example, since Division II basketball won’t generate the kind of interest in statistics among fans as, say, professional baseball/football/basketball, or even Division I football or basketball.

No such thing as a slam dunk
Chuck Tryon

I happened to catch the end of this game in the airport (by coincidence, I live not too far from Barton College) and found it to be a stunning dramatic moment. Obviously there was a much smaller audience for this type of game (D II schools are smaller and tend to be less successful at producing the kinds of identification associated with D1 schools), but I immediately found myself cheering for the underdog Barton.

One added point of interest, I was fascinated by the race against the clock. The winning layup was shot with something like .2 seconds left, adding to the game-ending suspense (if the clock still rounded up to 1 second, that final layup might have been less thrilling). In that sense, I think the representation of sports drama has changed considerably in recent years.

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Avi Santo

I showed this clip in class yesterday as part of a lecture on diaspora identity and “in-betweeness” and my students loved it. We talked about the placement of this spot — advocating against financially investing in the “homeland” — on MTV Desi, which clearly imagines a different type of transnational consumer. We watched the clip in conjunction with MIA’s “Sunshowers” music video

and MC Panjabi’s “Beware of the Boys”

How do these all work together to construct Desi identity on MTV?

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[…] I came across this via the blog “the chutry experiment;” a bit more explanation about it all is available at the blog In Media Res. […]

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Tim Anderson

The issue of “televisual pleasure” and “in-the-know” textuality is rampant throughout this spot. In fact, I would argue that this isn’t the subtext, but the dominant text. Sure, it’s a commercial about a weight-management drink, but stick a snickers in his hand and I am not certain that I could see anything else but “Jack Bauer” and 24 style.

Thanks for the tip Miranda, will share with my students for sure!