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Jason Mittell
Avi Santo

Just to follow-up Dave’s point, I think HBO does play multiple sides of the gender street, as Sex in the City and Six Feet Under are both invested in heavily female & gay sensibilities (and created by gay men), just as Sopranos, Entourage, Rome, Deadwood, Oz, The Wire etc. cover (& recover) masculine terrain. I wonder if this is more starkly gendered than any other cable channel’s original programming line-up? Certainly FX has bet its chips on male-drama, while Bravo aims the other direction. Might HBO actually be more gender-inclusive than other channels?

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Avi Santo

I haven’t been following the current developments here regarding Rome and the Tudors. But, it is probably worth throwing in here that one of the first successful shows in this move (by this I mean a show on HBO/Showtime to get get subscribers to pay for these channels, a way to provide more than movies) was Sex and the City, or as I tell my students the contemporary Jane Austen. And it seems that since that time most of the shows I can think of in this genre are fairly gendered (or at least more gendered then the networks).

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Jonathan Gray
Avi Santo

Opportune timing, Avi — I was on the subway the other day, and madly scrawled down all the marketing slogans in a Tudors-full subway car, since I was amazed by how much Showtime seemed to be feminizing the show, as a sort of anti-Rome. Already, HBO’s logo is all dark, Showtime’s white and red, and The Tudors’ posters threw in some heaving breasts for male gaze appeal, but otherwise directed seemingly all appeals to women or gay men (ie: Jonathan Rhys Meyers as “Sixteenth Century Fox”; characters described in terms of the romance, not the politics, nor the action; pictures clearly meant to evoke “bodice-ripping” romance novels, Meyers eye-f***ing the camera, etc.). Admittedly, Sleeper Cell was hardly feminized, so I’m not posing a channel-wide strategy. I also haven’t *seen* The Tudors. Anyone else? Is it a feminized response to Rome? Are we seeing a gendered division developing?

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Radhika Gajjala

wow - cant believe I missed this episode (I am a guilty soap watcher from time to time - but havent been watching this past year much).

An interesting incorporation of multiple genres into a daytime soap …

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Radhika Gajjala

Is it possible that a more globally aware and nuanced “desi” is emerging out of this? It will be interesting to see how they position themselves in relation to or against the NRI populations that image a romanticized and fetishized “Des” while living in “pardes”.

Can these productions get past urbanity?

just some thoughts - I did enjoy the clips both of you provided.

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Jason Mittell

Well, the class is called Media Technology & Cultural Change and its “hook” is that all projects in the course are done in a digital form, encouraging students to make media criticism that also reflects on the modes of expression being used beyond the written essay. All the assignments are on the website - and the only way it works (which is still up for debate) is because we have an associated lab session scheduled to have a technologist train students on software (FinalCutPro, Photoshop, blogging, wikis, etc.). I don’t want to hijack Davis’s thread, but I’ll post some reflections on the course once it’s done in May on my own blog…

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Kathleen Fitzpatrick

This is really fantastic — thanks, Davis! Jason, I’d love to hear more about the context in which you had students do remix projects — what was the class? How was it structured? This is something I’d love to incorporate into one of my classes, but am unsure about the amount of time that would need to be spent introducing them to the technical end of things…

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Avi Santo

Since meaning-making for these types of mash-ups seems to require a certain amount of intertextual knowledge (you probably do not have to have seen both — or either — films, but you have to have some understanding of their generic conventions or plots garnered from previews, promos, and other materials surrounding each production), I’m wondering whether the video or audio track is given a privileged position in these deconstructions. Does the audio track comment on the video? The video on the audio? Do they comment on one another? Do they work together to create some sort of hybrid meta-commentary? Is there an aesthetic/sensorial hierarchy that guides our intertextual reading strategies?

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Jason Mittell

Nice job - I would highly recommend the pedagogical possibilities of having students do such projects. I recently had students make remix videos to explore how different media genres and forms can speak to each other - both educational and fun! For one good example from my class, see here

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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.