What happens when you get five degenerate friends that own their own dive bar in Philadelphia? You get some raucous and off-putting situations with a tumultuous storm of dark and politically incorrect (but nonetheless hilarious) behavior. Such is the premise of the TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Since the show’s inception in 2005, Sunny has become a major hit for its oxymoronically pitch-black and light tone.
Throughout the years, the show has acquired a pretty large fan base and FXX has recently renewed it for its 13th and 14th seasons. The show has spawned plenty of merchandise, a traveling rendition of one of the episodes, and a consistency to the show’s plot and nature. A big fan of the show, Max Rubinstein (former Dickinson graduate and my partner in crime) allowed me to interview him about his fandom. For him, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is more than just a source of entertainment; it serves as both a connective tissue for his social relationships and way for him to make new connections.…Continue Reading
I’ve been taking a Victorian Sexualities class this semester. And throughout I’ve been surprised by the connections between Victorian society and our present-day society. For example, both involve radical changes in technology, concern over family values and morality, and a large amount of coded talk about sex. Although a lot has changed and the conversations differ in content, many of the anxieties of the Victorian era, especially around sexuality and gender, seem to pop up today. One of the places where I was surprised to find myself suddenly thinking about the Victorians was the TV show How I Met Your Mother, created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.
The unmarried woman was a big concern for the Victorians. The growing number of single women in Britain was in conflict with the traditional role of women as wife and the mechanisms of inheritance and property. William Rathbone Greg wrote “Why are Women Redundant?” in 1862 to address this problem. He believed that it was in women’s nature to marry, so that if they weren’t marrying, it was for unnatural reasons: bad temperament, desire for work, and a lack of eligible men.…Continue Reading
It’s not easy to be a feminist and watch TV. I don’t deny there are shows that are making strides in their representation of women and non-normative people, such as Orange is the New Black, Parks and Recreation, Bob’s Burgers, etc. But despite these shows, television seems stuck in a rut. Though there is a lot available, shows stay rigidly within their genre and tend to market towards one single demographic. Cop shows work one way, sitcoms another, teen dramas are different from soap operas, and soap operas are different from prime time. So although the shows employ many different lenses, they remain clustered around a few primary ideas, showing but not embracing diversity in characters or life narratives. Watching through a feminist lens traps you in wanting to praise and encourage a show for the progress it does make but feeling disappointed by the conservative structures that TV can’t seem to let go of.
Orphan Black is a show that begins to deconstruct these ideas.…Continue Reading
Just based on the title alone, Jane The Virgin is an attention grabber of a show. This CW comedy-drama focuses on Jane Villanueva, a virgin (surprise, surprise), who finds herself at the center of numerous crazy developments that complicate her life and the lives of those around her at every turn. It was developed for an American audience by Jennie Snyder Urman and is loosely based on a Venezuelan telenovela called Juana La Virgen. The show itself is a pseudo-telenovela and pays a lot of tribute to the genre: its characters are predominantly Latino, dialogue is occasionally in Spanish, and a fictional telenovela regularly plays on the characters’ TV screens.
Jane (Gina Rodriguez) is young Latina woman going to school and waitressing in Miami, where she still lives at home with her flirtatious mother (Andrea Navedo) and devoutly religious ‘Abuelita’ (Ivonne Coll). In the series premiere, Jane finds herself artificially inseminated because of a mix-up at the gynecologist. This plays into the religious undertones of the show as Jane becomes pregnant despite still being a virgin (her purity is something her grandmother preached to her to protect when she was younger).…Continue Reading