Month: November 2013
(Author’s Note: Another essay from my Sex on TV class. This time, we picked a television show and analyzed its presentation of gender and/or sexuality.)
“I’m never getting married. You want an absolute? Well there it is.” Whose voice is behind the narration from the opening shots of this already neon-drenched neo-noir? No, not Phillip Marlowe, nor Sam Spade. Actually, the precocious, balanced voice comes from one self-described Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), spinster, the titular character of Rob Thomas’ short lived teen mystery series. Giving his protagonist agency and a mind of her own is hardly the tipping point of what makes Veronica Mars such an excellent show. Thomas steeps his series in a world filled with economic discrepancy, gender inequality, and other button pushing aspects of life that make such a short lived television show so memorable. IN particular, Thomas brings two important things to the table: an incredibly smart protagonist who, nevertheless, is flawed and imperfect, making her all the more real, and a vilifying look at contemporary rape culture and the way it bleeds into how people treat sexuality and sexual assault. Veronica Mars remains one of the most fascinating shows for tackling these issues, even more so for being able to in the tiny window of time of three seasons.
Author’s Note: Because people asked to read some of my essays for class, this is the first one. This was originally submitted as a paper for my Sex on TV class, which is basically a gender/media studies class. The assignment was to pick two instances in which the FCC fined or received complaints from a certain program and to evaluate whether or not you, the writer, agreed with their decision. The second part of the essay is an in-depth analysis of three music videos and their presentation of gender and their underlying ideologies about gender roles.
People file into seats, their shoes sticking mildly to the soda drenched floor, and they sit down. The lights come down, and the emerald screen bathes the audience’s faces in the words “This preview has been approved for all audiences”. A collage of trailers and commercials that last nearly half the running time of the actual film plays before our eyes, and finally, when the film begins, the experience begins. Five minutes into the film, my mouth filled with popcorn with enough salt to rival the Dead Sea, I look to my right. Unsurprisingly, my father is there, his head arched back, his body relaxed, his mouth slightly agape, his eyelids fluttering, his snoring, at the moment, just light background noise masked by the Dolby Surround Sound of explosions and/or husbands and wives bickering. I’m not surprised by this image; as a matter of fact, I’m surprised it took this long. He was normally out by the second commercial. But seeing him asleep, there was something in that that was comforting. It was the kind of image I assumed I would always live with.