Racial identity and multiculturalism inform these TV shows because while they are made to entertain an audience, they are also made to make a statement about real injustices in the world. These are also the reasons that they are structured the way they are and also have the characters act the way they do. Because I have only seen the first episode these shows I am not fully sure if they will challenge stereotypes and typical representations. For example in Dear White People they have the main character hook up with a white character and when they go to a meeting a lot of the other black characters find the white guy to be out of the norm. They had one of the other black characters confront the white character and talk to him and the white guy ends up leaving the movie. However, after he leaves the movie the original character who made him leave then apologies to the girl. In On My Block one of the Hispanic characters joins a gang because that is what everyone in his family has done and to me this seems more of a stereotypical norm that the show is not breaking. However, in the end of the first episode the three other main characters talk about how they need to help him get out the gang and this seems to me like they will continue on to try and break stereotypes in this show. I also believe that Netflix is falling into some stereotypes but that the reason they do this is to eventually dismantle the stereotypes in their show. For example the reason they have a character join a gang in On My Block and look stereotypical is so that later on they can show he is actually a good person being forced into this life and that he doesn’t even want to be there just like people in real life. I also do not believe that watching these shows would help to change the minds or worldview of anything or anyone because I believe that when people are watching TV shows they want to be entertained and if they wanted to hear facts they would watch a documentary. No ones mind or worldview will change when they watch a TV show because the people who watch these shows watch them to help confirm their worldview and the people that don’t watch them, don’t watch them because they don’t want to be taught a lesson or hear people complain about inequality when they just want to be entertained.
Unfortunately for me I was unable to connect to any of the characters because they are all in a very different situation than me and what happens to them does not happen to me. Almost all of the characters are from a different ethnic background than me, because I am a white male and most of the characters shown were of color or female. So this unfortunately makes a lot of their everyday problems not very relevant to me since I do not go through what they have to but also I am not racist towards people of different color than me so their concerns were not super relevant to me. From an industrial standpoint the difficulties that are faced when trying to communicate their stories through mass media are many. They have to face people trying to not be able to even tell their stories and then they also have a lot of people who will not even listen when their stories are out. Another problem they face are people telling them to stop complaining or enjoy that it is better than it was but that is still a problem because things are still not perfect.
Queer Eye and Nailed It! both conform to earlier examples of their genre, Reality TV. Queer Eye is very similar to most reality shows because of how they are structured and how the cast acts. With this show it is structured like most others where they show the cast in action and then they have cut scenes where one or two characters will talk to the camera alone about the scene that is shown. The cast they have is also very similar to most other reality shows I have seen where they have a lot of characters and one of them is a little over the top while the rest are an interesting group. This reminds me a lot of the show Duck Dynasty because even though they are very different people the cast reminds me a lot of each other in the way that they act and how they are when on camera. In Nailed It! this show also conforms to earlier examples of the genre because in almost all of the baking shows they are structured the same way. Most cooking shows especially like Nailed It! are structured with the judges who give the challenge then sit together and comment on how the cooks are doing. These cooks are also the same as others because they are given their challenge and then put on a clock to complete it. This is almost the same as every other cooking reality show because they are all set up the same way with just different challenges and judges. The sub genre I find most appealing would have to be talent contests. I really dont even like reality shows at all but if I had to pick then it would be talent contests because it is interesting to see unique talents that people work really hard to be great at. Queer Eye would fall into the sub category of makeover programs and Nailed It! would fall into the category of “lighthearted baking competition.
Queer Eye to me doesn’t say that the idea of maleness and masculinity are changing but it tells me that people are more accepting of others. I think masculinity is still the same and I don’t believe that the show or the Fab Five are masculine. This show also does a good job of showing cultural differences between the shows Fab Five and the “test subject”. This is because the Fab Five is well dressed more proper and preppy and also gay, while the subject is older, dirtier, and not at all like them. Some of the “lessons” that they teach him are to be more confident in himself and that it is not bad to take care of yourself to make you feel better. I also do think that they and their lessons will have a lasting impact on his lifestyle choices because he seemed much happier at the end of the episode than the beginning. I think with how happy he was that he will continue to listen to them for a long time.
I attribute the success of the show Nailed It! to the fact that they had decent hosts and also how they have “regular people” and not famous chefs or great chefs trying to prepare the meal. I think this resonates with people because they could see themselves competing in the show and making the same mistakes or they even think they could do better which is why they like to watch it. It differs from other shows for these reasons because most of the shows have people who are at least decent chefs trying to prepare a meal not amateurs trying to compete in these competitions. I think this show sends a positive message about personal achievement and/or failure because it shows how people can fail and it is still OK. I also would not call this show “disposable” because I think it was a good pilot episode and will definitely retain its value and continue to resonate with a diverse audience over time.
I do agree with the author that Netflix is more of a “newsstand” rather than a “library”. I believe though that Netflix also does provide some documentaries that are nontraditional but they are just not as viewed on Netflix. In this case it does not make sense for Netflix to put more of these nontraditional documentaries on if they are not going to be seen as much because that means people are not as interested in viewing them.
The documentary that I chose was Icarus, and I believe that this documentary conforms to the genre expectations in a few ways. I think that Icarus was very similar to other documentaries that I have watched on Netflix because of how it was formatted. There were scenes of the subject talking to the camera and there were other scenes where they would be in the act of performing something or they would be ignoring the camera. This is very similar to other documentaries that I have watched because almost all of the other documentaries are set up in the same way. On a more subjective level I found this documentary to be very enriching and interesting to watch. I was surprised to see the main character actually do steroids and train for a race just to see if he could pass a drug test. However, this is also very similar to other documentaries I have seen because it has the subject do something dangerous and not something the average person would do and they record themselves. Also it did not bring awareness to a social issue I did not know about because I like to watch the Tour de France and I have known about Lance Armstrong doping for a while now. However I did not know that he had been tested around fifty times and passed every single one.
The docuseries that I chose was Evil Genius and it was very different from Icarus. One of the ways that a series is different from just a regular documentary is that in the series each episode ends on a cliffhanger. This is very different from the regular documentary because in this one most of the time is spent building up to something bigger while providing facts and a story along the way. Also in the series each episode was focused on a different part of the story but they all still tied together with each other to form a smooth flowing story. In watching the first four episodes I can say that I was definitely invested in the “story” that it tells. I also really like mysteries and this was a murder mystery with a bank robbery and quite a few twists so that also made it very interesting for me to watch. It is also very accurate to say that there are “narrative” elements at play here. I think they are definitely mixed into the all of the facts especially when Russia gets banned from sports testing and this affects the man helping provide Russian testing and help on how to beat the tests. I disagree that watching a documentary whether feature-length film or multi-episode series is a more “meaningful” use of ones time. This is because when you are watching something on Netflix it is to relax and to watch something that you enjoy. If you chose to watch a documentary then it just means that you are interested in the topic and that you want to learn more facts about it. When you watch a TV show or a movie it is because that is what interests you at the time and you just want to relax. Just because you want to learn facts about a certain topic does not make it more meaningful to everyone because everyone has different things that have “meaning” to someone. Sometimes that is to watch a documentary and at other times it is to watch a movie or a mindless TV show because that is what they want to do at the time. Also if you chose to watch a TV show or movie then it can have meaning to you because it can be how you connect with other people who have also watched the same ones.
Animation is relatively “free” from some of the industrial exigencies that non-animated programs have because they are cartoons. With cartoons they are taken less serious than with non-animated shows and this allows them more freedom. Cartoon shows are more free to say and do a lot more because people are not taking it as serious and therefore people do not care about what is said or done as much. In BoJack there is adult content throughout with references to sex and alcohol. They are able to get away with this because it is a cartoon and there are also animals that act like humans mixed in with the actual human characters. This makes the show seem unrealistic and contributes to why people take it less serious. In F is for Family right at the beginning of the episode the dad starts swearing profusely when he answers a phone call during dinner. There is also a show on the new TV they get that has the host offend all of his guests during the show. In Big Mouth the main characters are children and the show starts off with the main two talking and then one of them has his hormone monster show up. When this monster shows up he talks about the kid getting a boner and then tells him to go to the bathroom so he can masturbate. They only get away with this because it is a cartoon and all of the characters look a little weird and they all have big mouths, but this makes people not take the show as serious. There is also a monster that shows up out of no where and this helps even more to make the show less serious. On the other hand there are also limitations to making a cartoon show and I think they are definitely due to the fact that people don’t take them as serious. One of the limitations is that people do not connect with the characters as much as they do with a non-animated show. When watching a cartoon I relax a little more and just watch the show for enjoyment and not to get as invested.
I believe that the “critical interest in and public perception of animated television has shifted over the last two decades” because of how much easier it is to make animated shows. Cartoons are much easier to make now than they used to be but I also think people now like to watch shows that are a little out of the ordinary and are also a little disturbing at times. There are definitely other shows that have contributed to this shift such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, and South Park. All of these shows have been on for longer than the ones mentioned and are also a lot more famous, it is hard to meet someone now a days that has not seen at least one of the shows and most people even like to watch one of these shows. I believe that Adult Swim’s block of nighttime programming has increased this cultural form’s reputation among general audiences. I believe this because most of the shows that are on Adult Swim are inappropriate for younger audiences. I do also think that their appeal is pretty confined to a narrow demographic because most of the people I talk about these shows who like them are all within that age group of young adult men who are ages 18-24.
There were definite moments in both F is For Family and Big Mouth that were outrageous and one kinda upsetting. In F is For Family when the older brother saves his younger brother from the bullies and then goes and punches his younger brother as well. This was upsetting for me because I really hate bullying and so I got sad during this scene but then happy again when the older brother stepped in and then I got really sad when he punched his brother. I thought it was going to be a happy moment in the show where the brothers would connect but then the younger one started crying when he got punched by his older brother and this actually really upset me. In Big Mouth when they have the main kid masturbate at his friends house was outrageous. It was not sad or upsetting because they are cartoons, but if they had been real children then this scene would have definitely not been not suitable for television and would just be outright wrong.
The Friends documentary was enjoyable to watch and very informative. I never knew how much went into making each episode. I learned that the process for each single episode is very extensive and there are many different people and departments that go into them. How the stage department must build each set and then change them for each episode in-between filming sounded like one of the more difficult parts because they are on a very tight schedule and must do everything quickly, so filming can begin. That being said, after watching the documentary I think every part of making an episode is difficult and that when making friends everyone worked very hard and put forth an amazing episode. It was crazy to hear that some of them would have to work until six in the morning sometimes just so they could make the episodes on time and make them as great as they were. One part of the process that I never thought of were the Foley artists. I think that growing up now I know almost everything is done with CGI or just a sounding board and the sound effects that they already have. I never really thought that someone had to originally make those sounds and often they would have to get very creative when they did this. Also, being someone who has never attended a live studio performance I never thought about how the directors, and everyone would get involved in-between shootings of episodes and they would work on jokes and sometimes change them on the fly. Its pretty wild for me to now know this was the process for just one episode and I think it really shows in how well Friends did, because people love this show. I love this show and I didn’t even start watching it while they were still filming episodes, same with my sister and she is only thirteen, proving that this show was worth all the effort because it has been timeless. The members of the show that I believe are most overlooked by the viewers are the members who must move the set in-between each scene because I never even thought about what they do. I do not think that this role is as important now with many shows not having a live studio audience for filming but in this documentary, it showed me how important they used to be.
I have to agree with Betancourt, in some ways. I do agree that the “old-fashioned approach to comedy belies the show’s “complex storylines”. This is because the show has a lot going on and I do also agree that they are eager to tackle socially relevant issues, but I think they are a little too eager to tackle to many different issues at once. I do however think they are definitely tackling some well by using the daughter well as an activist who helps the mom. They also do well at having some very serious moments that really make you feel with the characters and it helps to make it easier to put yourself in their shoes and think about some of these issues in their own lives. Also the way they use humor is not all bad because it can be a nice relief when someone makes a joke after a serious moment to help ease some of the tension and also help everyone feel good again.
Betancourt talks about community and how One Day at a Time does a decent job at this. He mentions that when the grandma is first introduced into the show and the audience gives her a very loud cheer and she cannot even talk for a little while the audience cheers her. This is because the audience knows that actor and character, so they like to see her again and they feel as if they are close the actress. He also talks about how these multi camera shows speak to people individually. I think though these shows have started to fall out of favor with audiences because people are starting to like the CGI and more action sequences that come with movies and TV shows today. I think this shows representation of the family is pretty progressive in some ways with how it focuses on a mainly female Cuban cast and family. Also, how they are always talking about controversial relevant topics and providing solutions to them all in the show.
Both Godless and Lost in Space both typify their respective genres in many ways. Godless does this because it follows many of the classical forms of the Western genre, such as how the antagonist wants to have more land and money. It also follows the genre in how the hero is alone and he adapts a moral worldview in how he takes money from the antagonist and shoots him in the arm. Lost in Space also follows the classical forms of the Science Fiction genre by having it take place on a planet that is not Earth, and the threat to the protagonist is also a threat to the natural order because we saw a scene with the robot killing people. I do not think that to fully appreciate these shows you must have an understanding of how the genres “work”. I believe that if you were to watch either of these shows and had never seen something from these genres before that you could still enjoy both of them. I have been a fan of both of these genres before I watched the pilot for them and after watching the pilots I am interested in watching both of these shows. Godless tries to breaks away from genre conventions by aiming to make their show a feminist Western but in the first episode most of the main characters are still male. There is a town that has almost entirely women in it but even there the sheriff is still the main character and he is male. The only main female character has a main male character staying with her and the male character seems to be more prominent. Lost in Space breaks away from their genre conventions by looking at a family that does not seem all to close in the beginning of the episode and also flashes back to times before they ended up where they are. In one of the flashbacks the dad shows up to the family on Christmas as a surprise with them and everything seems happy, but in another the mother tells the daughter she doesn’t want her to be upset if the dad doesn’t show up again. This seems different because I feel as if most families are not like this but also most families are not in the same situation that this family is in.
Santa Clarita Diet leans towards comedy in the first episode. I was not scared or nervous once during the episode but at times I did chuckle at some of the jokes but overall I was not very interested in the show. The two genres are definitely contradictory because comedy is supposed to make you laugh and have a fun time, while horror is intended to make you scared and get your heart rate up while watching it. I think that it is probably impossible to get these two genres to mesh well and that it is better to focus on only one genre instead both. This is because I find it very difficult to go from laughing and being happy to being scared or nervous for something to happen. The most humorous moment of this episode was when one of the main characters was showing a house and she threw up a lot on the ground in front of everyone. This was surprising to see and because she threw up so much I found it very funny. The most horrifying scene in the show was when she bit off the fingers of her co worker and then began eating his stomach. I didn’t think that this scene was very scary because the guy got his finger bit off and just stood there yelling until he fell to the ground. I found it horrifying because it was pretty disgusting to watch.
House of Cards has been in my “to watch” list for a while now but I never actually watched an episode of it until I was assigned to watch the first six “chapters” for an assignment. Unfortunately because it was an assignment to watch the first six episodes and I had to take notes on each of them I felt as if I could not engage in the show. It felt like I was only watching so I could take notes and whenever I was writing the notes I could not pay attention to the show itself and so I feel as if I was actually missing out on really watching the show and enjoying it. This is really upsetting to me because like I said I have been wanting to watch this show for a while and now that I finally have and I couldn’t even get immersed in the show itself, it’s really upsetting. I feel as if I read a summary of every episode that told me what happened and so now if I go back and try to watch them I already know everything and I cannot actually enjoy the show anymore. It was also not very easy to connect or engage with any of the characters because I cannot even engage in the show itself. I only felt a little connected to Kevin Spacey’s character because sometimes he would talk to the screen and let you know what was going to happen but even then I only felt connected to him because it felt as if he was talking directly to me.
I do not feel that it is very significant to call the episodes, “chapters”. This is because when I watched the show I never even knew they were called chapters at all. When I pulled up the show on Netflix there is an option to “play episode one” and you never even needed to look at each episode and see that they were actually called chapters instead. I also feel that even if I knew they were called chapters before I began watching the show it would not have changed anything for me because other shows also have called their episodes chapters before and I never really thought anything of it.
McCormick talks about surrogate characters and how all of them relate to the audience in some way. Peter is talked about as a surrogate of addiction because he is addicted to drugs, alcohol, and sex, while we are addicted to the show. Peter is told he can and has to talk about his addiction publicly which is what Netflix wants us to do, such as posting to social media how we are addicted to the show and saying how much we love it. He also talks about how Zoe is a surrogate for information because she is a reporter always looking for the next story and more information. Just like how the audience is always looking for what is going to happen next and will continue to watch each episode so they can find out.
I agree with both authors on some of their points but I feel as if I am the middle road of both. I agree that binge watching is productive and a transformative way to watch, but I also agree with Snider that, this can cause feelings of loneliness and depression. I do not think that these feelings can be extremely strong but I do think people miss their favorite characters when they are finished binge watching a show, and they get a little sad that it is over and there are no more episodes.
Netflix is one of the most successful media companies in the world. Although Netflix still has some rivals such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO GO, almost everyone I know subscribes to Netflix. I think this is because of a few things that Netflix does better than its rivals. One of these reasons are the way Netflix is setup and how easy it is to navigate. Also Netflix is one the providers that does not have commercials during their shows or movies. Hulu has commercial breaks often and they can be pretty long sometimes so I don’t always like to use them because while I can chose what I watch I still have to watch commercials. While I have not used HBO GO I do subscribe to both Hulu and Amazon Prime, and I find it much easier to use Netflix when I want to search for a movie or look under a certain category. When using Hulu I notice that there are not as many options under each category and most of the movies I see do not interest me. When using Amazon Prime it is not very hard to find the show I want to watch, but it is harder to find the episode I actually want to watch. Another reason Netflix is so successful is because of their Netflix Originals, such as Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Narcos, House of Cards… the list goes on for a while. These are also just examples of their TV shows, they also make great original movies. While the movies are not as popular they are usually pretty good and interesting, such as Okja and Altered Carbon. These are all very popular shows and movies which have helped to make even more people get Netflix just so they can watch them. However, other providers have also created their own original shows that people love. On Amazon Prime I am a fan of shows such as Absentia, but I am not really a fan of any of the Hulu originals right now I may be in the future. HBO has some of the most popular shows though that people have as their absolute favorites such as Game of Thrones, Barry, Silicon Valley, and Westworld. Another disadvantage about Netflix is that they do not have all of the newest and more popular shows that you can watch on Prime and Hulu, like Timeless. I think some of the problems Netflix will have in the future are keeping customers if their rival providers continue to stream popular shows or if they continue to create their own shows. If rival providers continue to do this Netflix will need to start adding the more popular shows and creating their own popular content. I do think that if Netflix starts to add the shows and continues creating the popular shows they do then they will continue to be successful. I think that Netflix will be able to maintain their status as one of the most successful providers. I also think that because the Netflix Originals are usually very good then they will keep attracting more customers, which will make them more money, and then they make more shows and the process continues. If they can continue that process then nothing will be able to stop Netflix from continuing it’s domination of the industry.