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Joe Milutis
Jane Park

I think the G stands for Gilles Deleuze. But really, when I see a video like this, contextualized in this way, I think “when are academics going to get publicity money from the industry rather than being afraid of getting sued” because I come away from this with a new appreciation of Stefani (didn’t know her work, only knew her name inhabited my brainspace like the humm of my fridge). The video’s smart, and I don’t really buy the quick Orientalist reading. Stefani might know exactly what she is doing with these images in the same way people more respected by academics (or not) like Peter Lamborn Wilson and Leslie Thornton know. What I am instead drawn to is that, in the junkyard of global culture, Stefani both admits her position of power and shows her powerlessness (she is chained at one point; the song—both original and remix—is about marionettes and, here, the inhuman; she is both winder and wound). I love the meta moment with the curtains as a metaphor for sampling. Beyond what she is getting at, one could say that as curtains they evoke the private, the hidden, but as clothes they present world of fashion, and a particular brand of cheekiness, without shame. Samplers of all sort have shown that appropriation can be much more than a just a power trip.

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Michael Z. Newman

@Tim: You never said the sit-com is dead but Jeremy gave this idea some credence by bringing the topic up in the first place. I don’t love any of the shows I mentioned very much either, certainly not as much as I love the single-cam 30 Rock. But I also don’t love the contemporary Hwd blockbuster—not my taste—and of course the Hwd blockbuster isn’t dead. The question for us should be whether the traditional 3-cam show is still a viable form of programming on the networks. I think it is and predict that this will continue. What I find interesting is that the sit-com has bifurcated into two distinct styles, not that one style has killed the other or, alternatively, risen from its ashes.

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I haven’t How I met Your Mother yet, but the other two… eh. I guess I will have to chalk it up to taste and will read your post.

BTW, I never said it was dead, it just seems tired. I mean, I really cannot remember enjoying one that much on Network TV since Raymond went off the air. I enjoyed what I saw of Lucky Louis, then to have it axed.

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Michael Z. Newman

1. There are certainly multi-cam shows on TV today that many people think highly of: The New Adventures of Old Christine, How I Met Your Mother, King of Queens. Amy Sherman-Palladino’s much anticipated Return of Jezebel James will be a three-camera sitcom (see interview with ASP). It ain’t dead. That’s hype that promotes shows like Earl.

2. This change in style has several likely causes: the influence of animated sit-coms that defy the spatial and temporal constraints of the Lucy style (does anyone who writes comedy diverge from the view that The Simpsons is the best thing out there?); a more general “cinematization” of television technique and the requisite budgets to do so (perhaps a product inter alia of TV on DVD and other technological changes); a desire for novelty to breathe life into an old format.

3. I have written about the Earl-style sitcom (I call it the anti-sit-com) on my blog. Basically, I try to describe some of the new conventions of the single-cam shows and how they have themselves become a kind of formula.

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Real quick — I will have to think more about this but I cannot think of one decent three-camera-shot-live-in-front-of-an-audience sitcom that is being produced today? And, yes, I understand I am inserting a question of value here, but can anyone defend According to Jim?

My favorite sitcom today is the US version of The Office, which has adapted the “verite-lite” style of the UK version. Lucky Louis, unable to find an audience on HBO, was shot in the standard three-camera style with a live audience. In that now-cancelled program, the style felt as if it was at odds with the content, i.e. an older, more sentimental visual sitcom style on a deliberately offensive sitcom about how family life is miserable. I find the relative lack of this older style as significant as what Jeremy has identified.

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Michael Z. Newman

Jennifer, this is a really interesting topic esp in light of this recent New Yorker article spelling out the show’s right-wing connections and agenda. Care to say any more about why you think the argument for the show being right-wing is too simplistic?

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Kumaari

[…] see http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/videos/2007/02/08/kumaari/ […]

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Radhika Gajjala
Kumaari

Ok - I’ll try a reading…

I havent seen the film - but it seems parody like of bollywood film sequences at the same time as it reinforces the same.

As bollywood and tollywood (telugu/tamil “hollywood”) viewers know the dutch tulips are a common feature in romance duets in bollywood and tollywood.

There seems to be a modernity narrative somehow embedded in this though - I wish I understood tamil - the language nuances are probably not as clear in the English subtitles. While it seems to invoke genres of (brahmin and rural culture focused) Telugu films produced by Vishwanathan in the 80s (Shankaraabharanam, Saptapadi etc), there is also a Mehmoodlike parodying of the South Indian Brahmin figure (you have already pointed to this).

as for what is global and what is local - I am glad you added on the “for whom”. I see a redefining of a “local” for the “global” - i.e. the NRI audience. But I also see a parodying of a particular global for a certain kind of (class/caste based) local.

While the “fusing” of genres makes for interesting viewing, I am afraid I see selective exotic locales linking to global capital… (no doubt as it attempts to speak to a South Indian Tamil NRI ish audience).

But yet it is not that straightforward - because it also attempts to speak to a local Tamil Indian audience in the way that it mocks the brahmin with his Western influenced mixed up notions of romance.

Again I dont feel I can comment in depth without having seen the full film.

As a partner in a “guerilla” marketing firm (and media scholar) I can tell you that the fallout from this campaign has been swift and conventional. Long-time clients are now asking for assurances in the wake of the “Boston incident.” They might be better off considering some of the risks associated with more traditional media channels.

Guerilla marketing at its best acquires extra value through free media, and these folks in the press corp are usually too willing to play along (what else do the have to talk about? Health care? Bloodshed? Been there; done that.)

What happens with this bit of theatre extends but also distorts the usual news cycle. What the press is really grumbling about, of course, is that they are being exposed as players in the drama, rather than their accustomed narrator role. What the ‘guerillas’ know, is that the viral media demand this kind of performance for high rankings and extended webplay. The two part strategy, first get the mainstream news media to manufacture a crisis, then use the press conference to extend the meme online, is a classic. Note how one reporter scolds that the campaign cost Boston “over a million dollars.” Why the overreaction?

While marketers should be wary of tactics that really endanger citizens, this stunt clearly distinguishes the sirens of panic from the innocuous, even banal “hair” jesters.

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Christian Keathley

Amelie — I think this is terrific — a most provocative way to consider not only the “disappearance” of Ida Lupino, but also the ongoing vexed relationship between cinema and tv, and the way the latter both erases and allows for the reappearance of the former. With a bit of expansion, it could be turned into a video essay, slightly de-emphasizing the explanatory accompaniment. See my proposal, La camera-stylo, for more on this.