Read: Spigel, “Installing the TV Set”
View: The Honeymooners, “TV or Not TV” (1955) on https://vimeo.com/421572075
Read: McCarthy, “The Front Row is Reserved for Scotch Drinkers”
View: The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, “The Income Tax Man” (1951) available on Dailymotion: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x390vfd
Each reading response will be graded based on the following criteria:
1) Full and thorough response to each portion of the journal questions.
2) Use of 2 or more direct citations from each of the readings.
3) Use of 2 or more detailed examples (this can include dialogue lines, description of scenes, narrative) from each of the assigned screenings.
Format of Reading Response: Each journal entry should be around 400-500 words. Do not worry about having the response be in proper essay form. Each section of the reading response will be graded individually, so treat each section of the questions as a short answer and make sure to include citations from the readings and detailed examples from the screenings.
Reading Response Journal #1:
Lynn Spigel in “Installing the TV Set” and Anna McCarthy in “The Front Row is Reserved for Scotch Drinkers” discuss the ways in which the early television audience was gendered and the impact of different viewing locations on spectatorship. 1) According to Spigel, how did domestic sitcoms utilize a ‘domestic gaze’ to represent the anxiety and ambivalence surrounding the emergence of early television and the impact of suburbanization on the lives of women? 2) In contrast, how does McCarthy describe spectatorship in neighborhood taverns, and how does television further the tavern’s identification with masculinist pursuits? 3) Lastly, how is gender constructed in The Honeymooners, “TV or Not TV” and The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, “The Income Tax Man”? Drawing on Spigel’s and McCarthy’s essays, use these television episodes to provide specific examples of how femininity and masculinity is represented in the early television domestic comedy.
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