Comedians and the #Metoo Movement

The two comedies shows that Dave Chappelle performed in Los Angeles were as to be expected if you have ever seen a show by the comedian. His Jokes were naturally offensive as he touched on many touching subjects in today’s society as the #Metoo movement and sexual misconduct in the film industry. Dave Chappelles jokes were sexist, racist, and downright disturbing; but that’s what we enjoy as people who seek out comedy. Another comedian that has taken a different stance on the subject is Aziz Ansari, In The Aziz Ansari furore isn’t the end of #metoo. It’s just the start. Sarah analyzes his stance on all the new allegations of sexual misconduct that has surfaced in the last few months. Ansari believes that the movement has gone way to far and that men don’t even know what to do or how to act anymore. He says that only a fraction of the people in the film industry have been involved in this sort of behavior and it isn’t fair to men that haven’t practiced this sort of crude behavior. It’s leaving men almost scared to approach a women or “make a move” for fear of being accusing of something horrific. In my personal opinion, I truly don’t believe every single actor that has been accused is guilty. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure some of the men that have been involved are guilty, for what they have done they should be punished. But for the people that simply wen’t a little too far but never actually did anything wrong, their lives are ruined. Regardless of accuracy or conviction, accusing someone of something of that magnitude can and will ruin their life. It’s not surprise that almost everything that happens in Holly Wood is recorded in tabloids or other magazines. As soon as an actor is accused of sexual misconduct, the whole world immediately knows, and is their lives are effectively ruined. One person that is guilty in all of the wake of the allegations is Kevin Spacey, one could consider him the spark to the #Metoo movement; a negative spark of course. It’s not news that Kevin Spacey was the lead in House of Cards, but the real question is, can an audience still watch the show without thinking about what he had done. I think that’s totally up to the audience but i do believe people should be more forgiving. Although he did wrong…everyone has done wrong in their life and to totally dismiss the legendary actor maybe an extreme response to what happened. He is ALMOST unemployable but because he’s such a trademark in Hollywood, he is starring in a new movie that might be more fitting for him personally. Harvey Weinstein is another person in Hollywood who has been accused of heinous acts. One of the few that is going to trial and probably serve time for what he has done. Dave Chappelle brings up both Spacey and Weinstein in his bit and allows for a bit of comedic relief when talking about them. He incorporates these prominent people in hollywood by completely making a joke out of them, attempting to be as ruthless as possible. Chappelle continuously uses harsh language, and sensitive topics to become closer with his audience…which he is very successful for. He also brings up the touching subject of Transgender people. As he brings this up he makes fun of himself for dancing with one for a while and not realizing it. His different voices make it an interesting show. I think Dave’s view on these subjects makes for a more open conversation about the aforementioned controversies. As he makes them more humorous he allows people to lighten up and take things less seriously. Which in my opinion, many people need to do. Relax.

Fandom at its Finest

After watching the first episode of Black Mirror and Stranger Things, it’s not hard to imagine how these TV series’ have a die hard fan base. Black Mirror is a contemporary reworking of The Twilight Zone; following unrelated stories that tap into the modern technological world and what it has the potential to do. Due to the fiction aspect and investigating the “unknown”, this genre of show has a large fan base. Many Fan-fiction aficionados enjoy the aspect of a show where much of the plot and setting is realistic but there is a significant twist or change in the story that clearly classifies it as fiction, whether it be space ship battles, dragons, or in USS Callister case, a video game where you can integrate real people into it. The appeal that this brings to many fans is that it is easy to put yourself in the characters’ shoes, leaving the show up to your imagination. In regards to taking fandom to the next step, USS Callister makes it a bit easier to do. The unique Star Trek like costumes within the game allow the viewer to emulate their favorite character. Another show that has a large fan base is The End of the F**king World, based on a comic book series by Charles Forsman. The show follows to estranged children as they run away from their homes. Alyssa, is in love with James, part of the reason why she runs away. James has other ideas. He has graduated from killing small animals and has decided he wants to kill a person, Alyssa. As they run off together James begins to have feelings with Alyssa and thus begins a budding relationship. This series is a bit harder to have a hard core fan base but their definitely is one. I say its difficult because unlike Black Mirror, there are no costumes and a lack of characters to dress up as and look up to. Due to this, it’s not as exciting or fun to be a die hard fan. There are many different conventions and parades that people can go to in order to show demonstrate their passion. I think Fandom is a perfectly normal thing that various different people should involve themselves in. I personally do feel it is progressive or regressive. I simply see it as a past time, a leisure if you will. Every person has something they like to do whether it be golfing, fishing, going out to eat, literally whatever you want outside of work. This is how I view fandom. It’s a sort of cultural engagement that is not harmful to anyone and the people that believe it’s regressive don’t understand how people think and view themselves, an important thing to consider when analyzing human tendencies. Part of the reason of Black Mirror’s toxic fandom because of the plot of the USS Callister episode where the main character is a while male, who happens to be sitting on a captains space ship seat. I believe this sort of toxicity is completely unnecessary. I think it is related to masculinity because it is indeed about a sexism and who the stars should be. This sort of toxicity is deranged and brought up only by extremists who’s view on society are skewed and biased. To be quite honest, although I advocate for people to be hard core fans, I have never been one myself.

Multiculturalism in TV

The TV series Dear White People is shaped by racial ethnicity and multiculturalism. The show follows a group of black students at a fictional college called University of Winchester. They create their group in response to the racist acts such as a black face party held by the white students. In this show racism and diversity are spelled out much more than Luke Cage or On my Block. As producers create these shows with clear divisions they must know what effect it has on the community and audience. The directors are creating a clear me vs them idea and its only making the problem worse. Although the show was made to inform and shed light on the problem of racial diversity, I believe they aren’t going about it the best way. This particular show some-what challenges traditional stereotypical representations by presenting the African Americans in the show as educated and intelligent where as in the past, blacks were typically portrayed and unintelligent and helpless. It also doesn’t really challenge traditional stereotypes because it’s still presenting the problem of racism as an obstacle that we must overcome. I think the series’ do a fine job of indicating racism but we as an audience have come a very long way since..for example say..Black face parties were really a thing, so I think it effects us a little differently. In regards to having these shows change the mind of a racist or bigot is highly unlikely. People that believe people of different skin color are inferior to them don’t just adopt this theory over night. It comes from family views and ideologies as well as personal experiences. For someone to change their mind, i think something drastic would have to happen, which doesn’t include watching some TV shows where the center is racial diversity. In fact, for the true bigots, I think an argument could be made where the shows are making them even more mad..ingraining their racist beliefs even more.

As far as characters go, I think Sierra was my favorite from On the Block. She would be considered the leader in this group. She is an Afro-latina which makes her unique because minorities are not often the leader of groups. I like her because she is powerful and knows what she wants, while still trying to figure herself out in high school. Although I couldn’t exactly identify with her, I can still see where she is coming from which makes me like her. She had a rough child hood, raised by only her father, making her even stronger than originally thought to be.

Netflix Adopting Reality TV

Netflix is known for its great original content that has encaptivated viewers for years, but are they missing a whole audience that could change the game for them? People have loved reality shows for years. While watching Nailed It, we can see that this largely reflects how reality shows were and still are. In regards to whether these reality tv shows can be categorized into sub-genres is a little unlikely due to how popular they are, or the popularity they lack. If they did create these sub-genres I think reality tv as a whole would need a much larger audience for this to be successful. Nailed it, reminds me of shows that I used to watch where the characters lives on the show are constantly being exploited and then camera time is given to each character individually for them to discuss how they feel about the competition and themselves on the particular show. As Roxborough mentions his in article reality TV has been relatively prominent in the past. All the way from 1997 with the start of Survivor from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to where we are today. Although these shows have been airing The Voice from 2010 is the only show that has had consistent high ratings and a large fan base. The show Queer Eye,  follows people from different cities with very different beliefs and interviews them in hopes of discussing highly debated issues, including being gay in the first episode. Television and films have historically been full masculinity due to preconceived gender roles. This reality TV show dives deep into peoples lives to show that regardless of gender preference, people are generally very similar. Through Queer Eye we can see that people come from all walks of life and grow up in very different lifestyles culturally speaking. These sorts of niche communities can have certain connotations for people they disagree with or don’t live a similar life too. In boosting Tom’s self-esteem, they simply explain that people go through the same things he does on a daily basis and that he shouldn’t be scared about things that he is doing normally. It’s hard to say whether or not the things that Tom was told are going to impact him throughout his life but I believe that he goes and re watches his episodes, he will understand and make the proper adjustments to better his life. People are so interested in reality TV shows due to the unscripted nature of them. Although many of them are not unscripted it creates this on-the-fly “acting” that makes it enjoyable for viewers because it makes it easier for them to put themselves in the characters shoes. Creating a reality TV show on platforms such as Netflix or Amazon make it difficult for original producers to do what they want to do because of censorship and signing over rights to the aforementioned platforms. A more traditional route as Roxborough explains “often when you do an original deal, you not only retain rights to the original but also can take sales rights for the local news version outside the territory”(Roxborough, 3) As you can see there are benefits to not adapting to certain platforms but you run the risk of having your show not be as successful as it could have been. All in all, I can’t say reality tv has peaked my interest but there are many people out there that absolutely love it.

Netflix Documentaries

Netflix has recreated the way we view documentaries. From accessibility to short length episodes they allow us to dive deeper into the film where traditional documentaries would not allow you to do this due to length. Because documentaries could only be found independently and  on HBO, Netflix found that making these would be profitable as well as extremely successful because of the lack of platforms that they show up on. As Netflix has adopted these films we can see that they are offering very attractive prices to these film makers, essentially offering them something they can’t refuse. “With its large amount of money and “newness” of its operation. Netflix is able to think differently and invest in projects that will help more in creating a reputation of quality and innovation than immediate returns.” (Sharma, 151)– allowing them to be so successful. Not having to focus on returns and money is a huge advantage that Netflix has over its competitors. I personally don’t believe Sharma’s analogy is pertinent when comparing these two things to documentary venders. Although Netflix has begun to dominate the film industry, people are still very interested in the traditional documentary film, still making them popular. Icarus and Flint Town were the two documentaries I decided to watch. Icarus being more traditional and Flint Town being more Netflix contemporary. I enjoyed both but was much more fascinated with Flint Town stylistically. Ignoring content for a few moments, I wasn’t too big of a fan of Icarus because it dragged on in my opinion. The film is 2 hours and 1 minute. I think if they were broken up into multiple episodes it would be much more interesting. Similar to Flint Town. Flint Town seemed so attractive to me because as well as teaching information about the certain subject, it also followed the story of police officers so you could get a sense of how they felt during the process. This allows you to build a bond and a certain sense of responsibility for the person, making the documentary more meaningful. The multi-episode films build much more of a back story and then share how the information is either harming or benefiting the community, unlike the Icarus the movie-length film. I found Icarus to be educationally enriching but it was a little dry for me personally. I enjoyed Flint Town much more.

Freedom of Animation

If you’re an avid television watcher you may notice that animated series have a bit more leniency towards them than regular un-animated shows. What I mean by this is that they are much more crude and able to discuss hot topics and sensitive issues than regular TV shows. This is simply due to their animated nature. People don’t take these shows nearly as seriously and feel that everything is all in good fun. But as soon as a “real” person brings up politics or something of wide debate, everyone goes haywire. Before bringing up Archer or Bojack Horsemen, let me reference South Park or Family Guy. Essentially every plot in South Park is based off of real life events, mainly those of high debate. During the Iraqi war, there were countless episodes referencing Osama Bin Laden. This is a clear example of where people would be in outrage if something like this was brought up in a non-animated series but due to the animated nature, it is merely looked passed as comedy. Family guy is very similar as they often talk about real life issues and real people but again, because of the nature of the show it is looked passed and not worried about. Pulling from Moon’s article on Archer, “Despite the high level of technical and aesthetic proficiency involved in the creation of animated television, and perhaps due to the medium’s beginnings and concentrations in children’s programming. It is generally perceived to be less ‘serious’ than its live action counterparts.” (Moon, 136) This excerpt is a good representation of what Archer does by appealing to many different demographics. I know little children that enjoy the series simply because of the animation and spy aspect of it. I also know grown men that love the show because of the underlying crude nature of it and how it brings in real life events and satirizes them. This is also why I believe that people can’t take these series’ completely serious. Because of the satirical and animated aspect of the series. The parody aspect of Archer allows for people to have a comedic outlet without taking things too seriously. As the producers of Archer put style and process ahead of political harangues, according to Moon. Public perception of animated series’ have drastically changed over the past two decades simply because of the nature of the shows. My timeline may not be the most accurate but back in the day the animated series were mostly things like the Jetsons and shows of that nature. Those series, to my knowledge, never included topics of debate or political issues. As animated series have involved, producers and directors use these types of shows to show their discontent with real worldly issues. Dialogue of said shows are important as well. Some things that may be taboo to say in real life aren’t so bad when coming out of the mouth of an animated character. In turn, people not taking what is being said nearly as seriously as if someone of more worth said it. F is for Family is probably one of my least favorite animated series to be honest. The first few episodes are a little too outrageous and the nature of the show is quite depressing. Falling to gender norms and with misogynistic underlying’s allow for it to have a little bit too much leniency. If F is for Family was a real life TV series with real characters there is literally no way that it would still be on the air. Backlash would come in the form of mobs. Adult Swim has a very narrow demographic and is quite toxic to anyone that doesn’t fall under that small range. Humor and comedy has to be carefully tailored to individuals and the content that Adult swim produces is extremely offensive to some people; unfortunately, that sort of offensive humor is what many people love and what keeps drawing them back.

Friends

In regards to One Day at a Time, I enjoy the multi-cam sitcom as it allows the audience to feel more at home, which lets them almost integrate themselves into the sitcom itself. One Day at a Time is a great modern example of a progressive sitcom as well as a society. The inclusion of immigrants and homosexuality into the series is a clear representation of issues and contested views that America is undergoing right now. The series sheds light on the lives of immigrants and immigration policies that some may not be savvy too. It also sheds light on the uneducated when it comes to day to day lives of people that were not born in America. While watching the Youtube documentary “The one that goes behind the scenes”, I had no idea that so much went into the production of one episode and how they replace the seemingly not important props and aspects of the show to make it more realistic. For example, in the famous Central Perk, they often change out the coffee and mugs in the back of the Coffee shop to make the show more realistic and so the audience doesn’t get bored, if they even notice the things that they change. The costume and prop director is someone that is routinely overlooked. I also had no idea how they prepare for each shooting the night before by setting up all the props and setting so they can start immediately the next morning. As mentioned above, I believe the multi-cam sitcom creates a sense of community because the audience is literally there to watch the shooting and instead of obnoxious laugh tracks, real people laughing allows for an even funnier episode because if you watch a comedy with another person or a group of people opposed to by yourself, it makes the comedy much funnier. Due to the live audience, I think this also allows the actors to really fall into character and do their best to make the show that much better. I think this traditional way of multi cam sitcom has been discontinued because of the inconvenience and disruption that the audience creates. As read in the article written by Pili Vades, you must show up to the set hours before to undergo a grueling but necessary process before actually sitting down. The set staff takes this very seriously because it only takes one audience member to disrupt the show. I personally don’t believe this way of filming, especially One day at a time, is conservative but much more progressive. As mentioned above, the entirety of season 1 is based around the idea that these people are Cuban immigrants and the hardships that they go through. As well as being immigrants I think the show sheds light to close minded individuals where they don’t see immigrants as people who go through similar issues as they do. But we see that the characters are worried about boys and school, something that we can all relate too.

Netflix Genres

The Netflix original series Godless is a prime example of a Western series. Clearly structured in a binary fashion, you have your “outlaws” and your opposing force, in this case the band of women that run the isolated mining town. Besides the binary fashion of the series, Godless is a clear example of a Western due to the setting which was shot in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The setting of a Western is one of the most important aspects of the film. Desert and mountains allow for the audience to feel as if they are a part of the film, making it much more real. Whenever you imagine a Western film or the old west, you think of topography that is similar to Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern California which can be seen in the series. Moreover, the series proves to be a Western by the use of props and outfits that are congruent with the 1800’s, the time period that Westerns are most often made after. The old fashioned weapons, gallon hats, the classic gang of outlaws are just a few reasons why this series is a classic Western. Lost in Space is considered a Science Fiction series due to the time period that it is suppose to represent, 30 years in the future. Many Science fiction films do this either deep into the future, or into the past with futuristic ideas and representations. Another reason why this series is a clear indication of Science Fiction is the use of aliens and extra-terrestrial life forms as the Robinson Family encounters them as their ship is thrown off course. Interstellar travel is another common theme used throughout Science Fiction films, which represents the unknown with an area that many people have not been before. The reason for the Robinson families departure to a new colony is because it is believed to be a better life for them. This idea of human condition and social issues is a reoccurring theme that Science Fiction films often adopt. In regards to appreciating these films, I do not believe an understanding of how the genres “work” is needed to fully enjoy these series’. The majority of viewers are by no means savvy to how genres depict themselves through ideologies but I do believe an understanding would make them much more enjoyable as you are able to identify and differentiate themes and typologies that many people ordinarily would not.  I personally am much more of a fan of Western Films rather than Science Fiction. I can’t always get on board with the outlandish themes that Science Fiction often uses to make them what they are. I much prefer a realistic setting and problem that the cast must overcome. Westerns have intrigued me since I was a child. I use to watch Gunsmoke quite often and looked up to the characters, whether it be the outlaws or the lawmen. Watching the first episode of Santa Clara Diet, I would say that it leans more toward horror rather than comedy. Although the pilot episode is the only one I watched, I think it can be categorized as a horror with comedic aspects to it. The horror can be seen as Drew Barrymore throws up yellow liquid and the symptoms of her “sickness”. The explanation that the neighbors son gives to them as to what is wrong is another use of horror as he explains that she is “undead”. I personally don’t think these two genres can work together in the same series or film. They are inherently contradictory. When a seen cuts to something that suppose to be horrific, the audience simply reminds themselves that a humorous scene will follow. To be quite honest, the directors choice of main characters being Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore to star in a “comedy” is probably the worst decision anyone has ever made in film history. Neither of these characters are remotely funny and should stick to the genres that they are known for. I suppose Drew Barrymore is mostly in romcoms but I have never been a fan and don’t think she is remotely funny.

Binge Binge

I find myself to be a very impatient person so when it comes to Netflix releasing every episode simultaneously, I have nothing to complain about. The number one reason I prefer this method of releasing is because I find it hard to watch an episode of a show and then a week later come back and do the same, the inevitable cliffhangers play a role as well in my discontent with this method. In regards to House of Cards, I felt that binge watching these episodes allowed for a more interactive character development which makes the overall show easier to follow. I think its important to watch this particular show in binge-form because there is so much going with each character that the development of such is important to follow the narrative structure in a linear fashion. Frank Underwood, the main character, is involved with many different groups and people that if one did watch an episode every week, I suspect they would miss out on many important themes and symbols that make the show so great. The thematic elements of the show that evoke binge-watching are apparent from Chapter 1. As Frank and Claire share a cigarette at the end of the episode, they discuss how many nights are like this one where they are making many plans with little sleep. This scene implicates Frank and Claire in a process analogous to binging and acts as a call for psychological preparations. In regards to the theme of addiction, their late night smoking is an ongoing motif throughout the series. In this series, all of our surrogates have an addiction one way or another. Peter Russo is the main character that functions as as spectatorial surrogate. His addictive tendencies lead frank to incorporate him into the main plot, since Frank needs someone he can manipulate. As we watch Peter struggle with his addictions, the narrative positions him as a regular guy. I agree with Casey McCormick in that binge-watching is a productive, and transformative mode of viewing. As mentioned above, I think for this particular show it is important to binge watch so you don’t miss anything. Watching episodes all at once allows the viewer to really develop a sense of the reoccurring themes and symbols that differentiate shows from each other. Moreover, watching these shows at once will allow the viewer to get a better idea of the characters, who are really the ones that make the show. Although I agree with McCormick, I also agree with Snider but see the two perspectives as incomparable. Secluding yourself in any sense can cause loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Netflix just makes it easier to do so. As you get older you will learn that there are countless outlets that you can succumb to that will inevitably make your life more difficult emotionally and physically but its up to you not to fall prey to those vices. Netflix can absolutely be considered a vice to some people so when asked the question: Can binging these shows lead to social ostracization? The answer is yes, but returning back McCormick’s point, this sort of binging can be extremely beneficial if you want to get the full scope of the show that you are watching. So its really comes down to self control. While watching the first season of this series I found that, much like any show, its very easy to put yourself in the characters shoes that you most feel similar too. For example, if someone had a drug problem in the past they might have an emotional tie to Russo; or if a viewer often manipulates people to get what they want they might see themselves similar to Frank. Although the reading did indicate a few spoilers, I am eager to continue watching the show.

Netflix Takeover

Netflix started out as a DVD rental and sales site in 1997. The idea was that you could choose the movie you wanted online and then it would be sent to you in a red envelope. Using a flat-fee for unlimited rentals made them so attractive to avid movie watchers. Their main competitor at the time was Blockbuster, now out of business. Another reason why people found Netflix so desirable was that they didn’t have to go anywhere to get their movies, they could just sit at home, whereas Blockbuster was strictly a brick-and-mortar company. In 2007, Netflix announced that it was going to begin streaming videos, thus initiating the boom. Netflix has many competitors to date, including, HBOGO, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

In regards to sustainability, I think that Netflix is going to continue to thrive and expand their corporation into much more. Netflix has become popular because of the lack of commercials and ads. Paying for a subscription allows you access to hundreds of movies and shows without interruption. An advantage Netflix has over its competitors is its marketing strategy. They are by far the best-known streaming website and they don’t let you forget it. As you scroll through your various social media outlets you can clearly see the ads and commercials on the margins and in between posts.

Netflix social media

Creating “Netflix original series” has also allowed them to flourish while in the past they strictly needed the permission of the creators of the show to put it on there website. The company began by distributing movies and programming from other companies. It then moved forward to financing and creating its own original content, and now the name Netflix is synonymous with quality content.

Another reason for Netflix’ success is the wide variety of shows you can find on the application. Its habit of removing content once its licence expires creates an ever-revolving roster to keep us on our toes, and the convenience of having thousands of titles available on the one service keeps a lot of the people who may have been tempted to start trying to pirate a certain show with lesser impetus to do so. As we touch on the subject of binge watching of creative autonomy in the media realm it is important to understand that this leads producers to “tailor their programs for binge-watching, or at least incentivize a structural redesign of episodic narratives.” For some critics, “liberation also arrives in the form of random and unplanned encounters with media objects and new meanings.” Audiences today can call the shots on what they watch, when they watch it, and how. “Mobile platforms and lowered prices have also led to rapid market penetration by devices such as tablets and smartphones.” Consumers are not bound by time nor location. It will be interesting to see where Netflix goes from here but I hypothesize it will flourish more than ever.