Recent Comments

Geoffrey Henry

Thank you for your post, Julia. Like the other posts for this week, your comments have peaked my curiosity about the subject. Though I have seen various miniseries and limited programs, I have not seen any of the sceneggiati. However, your post has made me want to watch some of those programs. I am particularly struck by your statement that these shows allow Italy to, in your words, “speak to itself about itself.” I admire television series that use their storylines to comment on social issues. Thus, reading your post made me think of different television programs that address social issues in some form or another.

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Richard Jermain

Thanks for your reply. I am afraid I neglected some aspects of anxiety for time considerations. For instance, many people point out that the end of a series is often very disappointing because one is no longer able to continually bing the program. But your comment reminds me: isn’t the decision to begin watching something more stressful? I think we expect an even entertain a certain level of anxiety as — and correct me if I’m wrong — part of the enjoyment itself.

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Richard Jermain

Thanks for your reply. I think I would agree that a variety of socio-cultural industries factor in here. Perhaps another way of saying this is that what we encounter with online viewing habits is an industrial logic that has suffused the culture with a new logic of consumption. So, I am not too optimistic about limited series, as you can tell. While they seem to counteract the former model of production, audiences themselves resist this change. The subject’s relationship to time and the corresponding anxiety does not seem to change character, but rather express itself more or less directly. I’m reminded of Alfie Brown’s Candy Crush and Capitalism here. Maybe the level of anxiety is felt more acutely by some, but I would argue that this is the same logic of consumption.

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Julia Heim

The anxiety to finish a series and participate in the “enjoying” cultural obligation of televisual consumption as you have mapped it out here brings up several thoughts for me: How can we negotiate the difference between these economics of pleasure and those inherent in classic broadcasting methods of production and distribution?; Are you suggesting a multitude of differing socio-cultural industries at play? I think this might make sense given that media convergence has not in fact led to the death of television as we used to know it.; Might we understand time’s relationship to the economics of pleasure differently in times of economic crisis or when looking at race or class?

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Geoffrey Henry

Thank you for your post, Richard. The issue of time particularly strikes me. Your reference to time makes me think of my own experiences as a binge viewer of television. Before I binge episodes of a television program, I find myself considering the time necessary to consume these texts. I have to ask myself whether I can and should devote my time to watching these shows when I can spend said time doing other things. I have also found that if given the choice between binging a limited series and a non limited series, I will binge the former. I choose the limited series because I know I will spend a less amount of time watching these texts than I would watching shows with a greater number of episodes. Thus, your post makes me think of my own viewing habits.

Juan Gabriel (Julián Román) sings to his mother's ghost
Richard Jermain

Thanks, Roberto, for your compelling insights into this series. It is interesting that the romantic scene relies on telenovela tropes, which, as you pointed out, runs opposed to the intention of garnering wider appeal with the series format. It is almost as if the series is nostalgic in both form and content.

Juan Gabriel (Julián Román) sings to his mother's ghost
Roberto Carlos Ortiz

Thanks, Julia. I think I intended “queer nostalgia” to include the (presumably) straight audience’s “nostalgia for the queer” among the various possible modes: the nostalgic queer (later in the first episode, we find out that the protagonist, already famous in the 1970s, is telling his rags-to-riches story to a friend during a long drive to his hometown), the nostalgia for genres (the telenovela, Juan Gabriel’s songs) that could be thought of as aesthetically queer (despite hetero narratives), that nostalgia could be queer, etc.

Juan Gabriel (Julián Román) sings to his mother's ghost
Roberto Carlos Ortiz

Thanks, Geoffrey. I’m not sure I would’ve been interested if I hadn’t been familiar with its subject and done previous research on him. The series has excellent production values, but it felt very old-fashioned compared to other limited series with LGBTQ characters and/or which also cater to nostalgia.

Juan Gabriel (Julián Román) sings to his mother's ghost
Julia Heim

Roberto, your post really got me thinking. You talk about how the depiction of Juan Gabriel is stuck in the past and resorts to previous stereotypical depictions of gayness, mentioning the possibility for various modes of queer nostalgia. It makes me wonder if this nostalgia is for presumed straight audiences, making it a nostalgia for the queer instead of a queer nostalgia. The kind of “simpler times simpler depictions” that would connect audiences’ feelings about his performances with his mother’s longing.

Kate Morgan
Dana Och

Thanks for the clarification. I might need to go scout your chapter.