Rosanne Welch talks about “Why The Monkees Matter” with Jean Hopkins Power
Jean Powergirl takes the host reigns and welcomes her guest Rosanne Welch, PhD to the show! They’ll be discussing Roseanne’s book, “Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture.”
Rosanne: These techniques weren’t necessarily being used by shows like George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. They would eventually be in things like Dream On and many other shows later would use those kinds of old footage, but now that I bring up George and Gracie. What they did is that they spoke to the audience, which is another thing these guys did.They broke the 4th wall of theater by speaking to the audience and admitting to the audience that we know we’re a show and you’re watching us, which is meta-narrative if you want to get all professorial about it, but it made them — it gave them a chance to get closer to the audience and it connected the kids to them.
Jean: So, by doing that there’s a lot of current shows — and I’m going to kind of nerd out with you on this — like The Office for example or these mockumentary type things where they say they’re aware that we’re going to be watching them the Monkees had already been doing that.
Rosanne: They’d already been doing that. Exactly and it made them very hip and cute to the children watching because they were the generation who hadn’t been paid much attention to yet and now these boys were paying attention to them.
A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy. Capitalizing on the show’s success, the actual band formed by the actors, at their peak, sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined and set the stage for other musical TV characters from The Partridge Family to Hannah Montana. In the late 1980s, the Monkees began a series of reunion tours that continued into their 50th anniversary.
This book tells the story of The Monkees and how the show changed television, introducing a new generation to the fourth-wall-breaking slapstick created by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers. Its creators contributed to the innovative film and television of 1970s with projects like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laugh-In and Welcome Back, Kotter. Immense profits from the show, its music and its merchandising funded the producers’ move into films such as Head, Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces.
Rosanne Welch, PhD has written for television (Touched by an Angel, Picket Fences) and print (Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work and Kids and The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space). In the documentary world she has written and produced Bill Clinton and the Boys Nation Class of 1963 for ABC NEWS/Nightline and consulted on PBS’s A Prince Among Slaves, the story of a prince from West Africa who was enslaved in the 1780s, freed by order of President John Quincy Adams in the 1820s and returned to his homeland.