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ENGL 6650/7650

Special Topics in Popular Culture Studies: Television Comedy

Summer Session 3, 2014 (7/7-8/8/2014)

Days: TWR | Room: TBA | Time: 430-730

About This Course | About David Lavery | Texts | Course Blog | Seminarians | TV Comedy Show Links | Websites/Links |  Agenda

About This Course: This summer graduate course will be an intensive and extensive examination of television comedy. After establishing small-screen comedy in an historical and theoretical context context, we will go on to examine at each class meeting prime examples of British and American television comedy in all its manifestations: the sketch show, stand-up, satire, fake news, the talk show, and (especially) the sitcom.

 

Dr. David Lavery

Office: PH 316 | Office Hours: TBA | E-mail: david.lavery@mtsu.edu; david.lavery@gmail.com | Office Phone/Voice-Mail: 615-898-5648 | Home Page: http://davidlavery.net/

Dr. David Lavery is Director of Graduate Studies and Professor in the English Department at MTSU. The recipient of the University's 2006 Distinguished Research Award, he is the author of over one hundred and fifty published essays, chapters, and reviews, he is author / co-author / editor / co-editor of over twenty books, including Joss Whedon, A Creative Portrait: From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers, TV Goes to Hell: An Unofficial Road Map of Supernatural, The Essential Cult Television Reader, and The Essential Sopranos Reader. The co-convener of international conferences on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the work of Joss Whedon and on The Sopranos, co-founder of the Whedon Studies Association, and founding editor of the journals Slayage: The Online International Journal of the Whedon Studies Association and Critical Studies in Television, he has lectured around the world on the subject of television (Australia, Turkey, the UK, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany) and has been a guest/source for the BBC, NPR, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The New York Times, A Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Publica (Portugal), Information (Netherlands), AP, The Toronto Star, USA Today. From 2006-2008, he taught at Brunel University in London.

 

Texts

Be sure to buy this book from one of the Amazon sellers offering it a lower price.  You will find a PDF copy of this book on your resource DVD.

Click on the cover of each book to go to its Amazon page or order online from any other seller. Each student in the course will also receive a resource DVD.

 

Seminarians

TBA

 

Course Requirements

Writing: Completion of two essays: [A] a study of a single single show/series, episode, specimen, etc. [B] a study of a theme/issue/controversy, etc. involving more than one show/series, etc. Here are a few possible subjects: acting | authorship | gender | genre/sub-genre | history | intertextuality / self-referentiality | language | laugh tracks | memory | music | narrative | narration/voice-over | paratexts | political correctness | point of view | race | realism | semiotics | subversiveness

Nota bene: one of these (CE)your choicewill be a critical essay written from your own perspective and need not rely on secondary sources. Weight30% of grade. The other (SP)your choicewill be a source paper, incorporating the ideas and insights of other critics and scholars. Weight50% of grade. Feel free to consult with me about your choice of topic(s). Length: CE1500 words (MA students)/2,000 words (PhD students); SP2000 words (M.A. students/4,000 words (Ph.D. students). Due: Oneyour choiceby midnight, July 29; a secondyour choiceby midnight, August 8. Submit via the appropriate D2L drop boxes.

Class Participation: (1) daily involvement in class discussion; (2) significant contributions to the course blog [go here to learn more]; (3) introduction to an example of television comedy of your choice. Each presenter will have a full hour for his/her presentation, which may include screening of a representative episode sample. Make your claim via e-mail; you may not, of course, choose any subject already appearing on this agenda; go here to learn more]; (4) other presentations as assigned. | Weight20% of grade.

 

 

 

 

Agenda

7/8/14 | Meeting 1

Introduction to the Course

Series/Show 1: The Honeymooners | Series/Show 2: I Love Lucy

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


7/9/14 | Meeting 2

Comedy and Laughter Theory

Series/Show 1: The Dick Van Dyke Show | Series/Show 2: Monty Python's Flying Circus

Viewing: TBA

Reading: Bergson, Laughter

Power Points: TBA


7/10/14 | Meeting 3

Comedy on Television

Stand-Ups: George Carlin and Wanda Sykes or Chris Rock

Viewing: TBA

Reading: Marc, Comic Visions

Power Points: TBA


7/14/14 | Meeting 4

Series/Show 1: The Mary Tyler Moore Show | Series/Show 2: Green Acres | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 1]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


7/15/14 | Meeting 5

Series/Show 1: Cheers or Frasier | Series/Show 2: The Wonder Years | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 2]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


7/16/14 | Meeting 6

Series/Show 1: Father Ted | Series/Show 2: Spaced | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 3]

Reading: TBA

Viewing: TBA

Power Points: TBA


7/22/14 | Meeting 7

Series/Show 1: Seinfeld | Series/Show 2: Curb Your Enthusiasm | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 4]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


7/23/14 | Meeting 8

Series/Show 1: League of Gentlemen | Series/Show 2: Little Britain | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 5]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


7/24/14 | Meeting 9

Series/Show 1: The Simpsons | Series/Show 2: Futurama | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 6]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


7/29/14 | Meeting 10

Series/Show 1: The Larry Sanders Show | Series/Show 2: Louie | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 7]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


7/30/14 | Meeting 11

Series/Show 1: The Office (UK) | Series/Show 2: The Office (US) | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 8]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


7/31/11 | Meeting 12

Series/Show 1: The Daily Show | Series/Show 2: The Colbert Report | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 9]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA 

Power Points: TBA


8/5/14 | Meeting 13

Series/Show 1: 30 Rock | Series/Show 2: How I Met Your Mother | Series/Show 3: TBA [Discussion Leader 10]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


8/6/14 | Meeting 14

Series/Show 1: TBA | Series/Show 2: Big Bang Theory | Series/Show 3: Community [Discussion Leader 11]

Viewing: TBA

Reading: TBA

Power Points: TBA


8/7/14 | Meeting 15:

Subject: The Future of Television Comedy

Reading: TBA