Week 1 Recap

Reminder: Be sure to sign up for a discussion leader slot!

And, here are the lectures from this week:

Monday, Intro to the Course

Wednesday, Sitcoms and Mise en Scene

“Make ‘Em Laugh:”

On why Scandal is one of TV’s most important shows (and why Shondha Rhimes is perhaps TV’s most important showrunner):

“Scandal” is out of the melodrama closet. It embraces all the freedoms afforded a soap opera — the outlandish plots and juiced-up emotions — and it plays them out on a world-historical stage where typically marginalized people are at the center of power, doing exactly what the white guys usually do: making a sloppy, sordid mess of everything. Rhimes likes to point out that on her show, America is run by an African-American spin expert, a scheming first lady and a mercenary gay guy who also happens to be in one of the sexiest homosexual marriages on television. “I joked to Tony Goldwyn that on another television series, he’d be the pretty girl that all the men are trying to save,” Rhimes says. “That’s what he is, except he happens to also be the leader of the free world.”

In fact, except for a former assistant U.S. attorney, who lost his career thanks to Olivia, the leader of the free world is essentially the only straight white male central character on the show. From “Grey’s” to “Scandal,” Rhimes’s shows have been the most diverse on TV. Oprah Winfrey recently praised her in the Time 100, writing, “I grew up at a time when it was an anomaly to see people who looked like me on TV. [Rhimes] gets us — all of us! . . . Everybody gets a seat at Shonda’s table.”

And, just because it is cool: Indoor Clouds.

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