The Journal of e-Media Studies is a blind peer-reviewed, on-line journal dedicated to the scholarly study of the history and theory of electronic media, especially Television and New Media. It is an inter-disciplinary journal, with an Editorial Board that is chiefly grounded in the methodologies of the field of Film and Television Studies. We welcome submissions across the fields and methodologies that study media and media history.
- Volume 4, Issue 1 (2015)
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About This Issue
by Mary Desjardins and Mary Beth Haralovich
This special issue of Journal of e-Media Studies is focused on historical trends, shifts, and transformations in past and present broadcast television and radio, as understood through the categories of genre, gender, and race. At a time when both scholarly and industry-related discourses increasingly focus on the significance of “television after TV,” convergence and multi-media, multi-platform technologies, and “narrowcasting,” it is still important to examine American broadcast television and radio, which still reaches the largest audience and has contributed to and reflected social understandings of gender and race in America for almost a century.
Primetime Goes Hammerstein: The Musicalization of Primetime Fictional Television in the Post-Network Era
by Kelly Kessler
The musical did not suddenly burst on the small screen in the nineties, but generic, industrial, and aesthetic shifts in television, film, and theatre led to the cultivation of an environment that invited a renewed musicalization across television forms, one that transcended underscoring or musical montages and allowed a space for otherwise nonmusical characters (in established nonmusical worlds) to burst into diegetic song, and for the narrative worlds to momentarily become ones akin to the movie or stage musical where life is communicated through song. The last decade of the 20th century simply shined a light on the long union enjoyed between television and the musical. This article explores the perfect storm that encouraged a spate of one-off musical episodes of otherwise nonmusical fictional television shows at the turn of the 21st century.
by Jennifer Hyland Wang
This essay examines how a network radio program, The Wife Saver, distinguished itself by its comic spin on the sober homemaking programs so popular in early radio. The program’s hybridity - a common daytime genre mixed with comedy and a male host presiding over a feminized genre – provides a lens for scholars to view radio’s early relationship to comedy, to women’s work, and to female listeners. Balancing irreverence with the utmost reverence for women’s work in the home, this article interrogates how The Wife Saver created a “recipe for laughs” that preserved beliefs about the rhythms of a woman’s day, the commercial function of daytime, the logics of gendered relations of labor and power, and still brought women to their radio sets. Through an analysis of the transgressive potential in The Wife Saver’s humor and the gendered persona created by Prescott, this paper illuminates how the program’s distinctive blend of generic rigidity, dark domestic humor, and a male host able to move fluidly between different gendered positions successfully negotiated the industrial and ideological tensions caused by comic work in the daytime. Examining the dexterity of its male host and the show’s reception in the popular and trade press, this case study exposes the narrow parameters on the mirth manufactured during the radio day and explains daytime radio’s limited use of comedy for female audiences.
by Joanne Morreale
“Dreams and Disruption in the Fifties Sitcom” considers the cultural work of dreams in fifties sitcoms. It explores the ways in which the visual excess of dreams in the realistic domestic sitcom destabilizes narrative form and content. Dreams and fantasies speak the unspoken and undermine the harmonious image of the family presented by the narrative.
by Jennifer Clark
This essay considers the relationship between the materiality of the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and fantasies of televisual transport involved in the transatlantic broadcast. The archival materials discussed in this essay help tell a complex history of the labors involved in the televised coronation ceremony, concerns about the Queen’s embodiment in front of television cameras, and the management of both through publicity and the aesthetics of ceremonial television coverage. The essay traces the foundations and evolution of the vexed relationship between materiality and representation to its more-contemporary manifestation of the Queen as a laboring and gendered body in the 2012 Jubilee celebrations.
by Bambi Haggins and Kristen Warner
Flashback/Flashblack unpacks the interplay between contemporary industrial, social, and political forces and the place of Blackness that continues to construct and reconstruct the televisual landscape. We focus on how the medium, the industry, and the manner in which television reflects and refracts American popular consciousness, are inextricably tied to notions of acceptability, objectionability, respectability, and constructions of Blackness.
by Lynne Joyrich
Using her archive of videotapes created and collected over the past few decades, the author reflects on issues facing television and television studies, commenting on questions of canon formation and the production of knowledge, trends in media studies (such as the turns to convergent technology and aesthetic studies), and the politics of cultural consumption and cultural theory.