News: On Television and Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch podcast now available on iTunes

Since I am starting the new Mindful(l) Media podcast for 3rd Pass Media, I figured I should also make all my other presentations available as a podcast. Hence, here is On Television and Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch, newly added to the iTunes Podcast Directory

Subscribe today and you’ll get all new videos and audio podcasts directly on your computer, iPad, or iPhone each time I publish a new show.

On Television and Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch

 

Audio: Mindful(l) Media: What is Mindful(l) Media and DC Fontana, Star Trek and Women Writers

Mindful(l) Media is a new show and podcast from Dr. Rosanne Welch helping the audience to be more Mindfull about the Media we both create and consume as it relates to the portrayal of Gender, Diversity, and Equality.

Mindful(l) Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch

Listen to Mindful(l) Media: What is Mindful(l) Media and  DC Fontana, Star Trek and Women Writers


Mindful(l) Media is part of the 3rd Pass Media Network which is launching a series of shows this week including Mindul(l) Media, The Render Break Report, New Media Interchange and More. You’ll find more information about 3rd Pass Media at http://3rdPass.Media.

#rd Pass Media Logo


Mindful(l) Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch Show Notes – Episode 1 –  What is Mindful(l) Media and  DC Fontana, Star Trek and Women Writers

Welcome to Mindful(l) Media: Thinking Critically about the Media we Create… and Consume with Dr. Rosanne Welch

First a bit about who I am and what Mindful Media hopes to be.

And then how the original Star Trek acted as a gateway for many female writers thanks to the work of D.C. (Dorothy Catherine) Fontana.

More after this…

Today’s show is brought to you by Audible.com. While I watched hours and hours of television in my childhood, I also read tons of books – and as a professor I have found that you can easily tell the readers from the non-readers by their spelling and their level of vocabulary so I always tell students to find time to read. It’s also deeply peaceful to get lost in a story. If you love audio books you can support us here at 3rdPass Media by starting your free 30-day trial with Audible today. Choose from over 100, 000 books. Including one of my favorites, A Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh – my favorite gift for female friends.

Visit AudibleTrial.com/3rdpass or use the link in the show notes today.


Who I am…

Sicilian kid from Cleveland whose first big trauma came not from my parents’ divorce but from needing to decide whether to watch Gilligan’s Island OR The Monkees when they aired opposite each other in my early childhood.

I grew up to be a television writer on shows like Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences and Touched by an Angel And then I earned a PhD in Film history so I could spend my time analyzing all those programs I adored as a child – and share that Perspective with students.

How I come to critically thinking about media… well, I’ve been doing it all my life without knowing what I was doing.

–from my early childhood sitting at the end of the hallway watching “All in the Family” through the work I did analyzing the shows I was writing spec scripts for in order to create that writing career – through the writing I do now about shows I love such as Doctor Who or The Monkees or a new article I’m writing about how the Civil rights movement made its way onto the television screens of middle America.

So, yes, this will be a broader show about media – but seen through my own liberal/feminist eye it will likely naturally highlight things that catch that eye – things I liked or disliked.

And while I’m speaking to Creators (since thanks to YouTube ‘Content Creator’ has become more ubiquitous than ‘Producer’) I think those Creators all agree that they are also the other big “C” – no, not THAT ‘c’ but this one – Consumers. If what our mothers told us was true – you are what you eat – then I’ll modify that to say We are What We Watch. So as Creators we need to be reminded not to regurgitate old stereotypes into new characters. How does one do that and still create work that audiences will cozy up to? Good question. And something this show hopes to explore.

Spending the last few days discussing feminism and feminists with college sophomores – getting Steinem’s name and going “Ew” until they read about her support of Civil rights and then thought she rocked…

Speaks to misinformation or lack of information in this information-raging modern world.

Feminism on film does not begin and end with Thelma and Louise – in fact I use that film as part of a 2 film a week analysis I have my writing students do. I pair two films and they have to discuss how one learned from the other or what themes match them. Everyone gets that Thelma and Louise is a feminist film – but few pick up that it’s partner in my assignment – Sense and Sensibility is just as much a feminist piece – I mean right down to having been written by TWO women – originally by Jane Austen, adapted by Emma Thompson.

Writing is largely a feminist profession – regardless of gender – men have always been and will continue to be feminists – women didn’t vote to give women the vote – MEN voted to give women the vote. Likewise, some of the most feminist films (at least in America) were co-written (or completely written) by men – men like Garson Kanin (who co-wrote Adam’s Rib with Ruth Gordon – they were married screenwriters. I discovered that about Garson when writing my PhD thesis — and I discovered that while Joan Didion wrote novels alone, she co-wrote screenplays with her husband John Gregory Dunne (among them the 3rd A Star is Born and the Michelle Pfeiffer/Robert Redford Up Close and Personal). Meanwhile, on television right now Michelle and Robert King are enjoying a wonderful run as creators and writers of The Good Wife.

It takes feminist men to write/produce quality feminist characters – but in the end if the other cliché we were taught – women’s rights are human rights – then what does gender got to do with it?

Is it not the artistry of writing the art of capturing a bit of humanity to show other humans so they’ll remember how to treat each other when they walk out of the movie theatre?

When we speak of our favorite films among a series such as Indiana Jones, there’s a reason the first film fares the best – Marion is a real picture of a 3 dimensional female and her relationship with Indy rings true – daughter of famed archaeologist and her star pupil spend so much time together they fall in love, but the relationship falters after his death. Even when talking about film #4 which is generally agreed to have been wrong on so many levels, the only line that rings true is the one where Marion asks what was wrong with Indy’s string of girlfriends since her time and he snaps back, “They weren’t you.”

A final note on the title – Mindful – media – yes I have a mind full of media but I also want us all to be mindful of the media in our lives – in the same way this word – mindful – has taken over the business world and even the world of education.

That said, will this be a class – no – a conversation. Feel free to join in by leaving a comment on the webpage.

So I hope you’ll join me on this new adventure as we think mindfully TV and movies


How William Shatner’s Chest Inspired one (or more) Female Television Writers to Succeed in the Boys Club of Hollywood

As a child I didn’t come to Star Trek for the fantasy or for the fun futuristic optimism or even for the glory of the gadgetry of the tricorders and communicators. I came for William Shatner’s chest. Glimpsed quickly one day while changing channels, my pre-adolescent hormones screeched to a halt as I sat transfixed. That tight Star Fleet uniform shirt truly rippled across his chest, which seemed to strain to be released. We didn’t ‘flip’ in those pre-remote days. We sat in front of the set and manually spun the dial like the combination lock on our high school lockers, which brought us in to much closer contact with the (sometimes still black and white) pictures flashing upon our (compared to modern day frightfully small) screens. I don’t even remember which episode it was that first placed his pecs in front of me, but this obsession with Shatner’s chest focused me so much so that I never cared for the writers’ propensity for finding ways for his co-star to flaunt his own brand of sexuality. Forcing the unfeeling Mr. Spock to feel never moved me at all, so in second, third and fourth runs I never found “This Side of Paradise” much to my liking. In the epic mash up between Sexy Shatner and Sexy Spock, Shatner always won. But being a budding television writer even as a ten year old, I recognized in the idea the need to offer the actor a way out of the rigid character description enforced upon him by his creator.

Viewed now from the perspective of a fifty-year old female television writer and scholar, no longer merely a fan, I find the episode fascinating for what it says about the history of women writers – and the female characters they create — in television. In those days of heady chest-worshipping I didn’t know that the D. C. in D. C. Fontana stood for Dorothy Catherine. When I later learned that information from reading The Making of Star Trek, I took her success as a beacon for my own journey, as did many other future female television writers I came to meet throughout my career. While countless books have been written about the influence of the program on science fiction and on television in general, what I came to learn was the influence Star Trek wielded on bringing women into the industry – and how their participation changes the way female characters are portrayed.

Because of Fontana, future writers of future Trek franchises invited other female writers to pitch ideas so that, to my great joy twenty years after I stumbled upon the original Trek, I found myself in the offices of Star Trek: The Next Generation pitching ideas for stories involving what was still largely a boys club of characters. Sure, they had accepted two women into their continuing cast – both in ‘soft’ occupations as ship’s counselor and medical doctor and still under the command of Captain Picard. But the franchise had proved a stepping stone for a variety of female writers I admired (including Jane Espenson and Melinda M. Snodgrass) and I was excited to be among them. I never sold a story to that iteration of the show, but I kept watching — and kept noticing – that written by women, female characters were (and sadly are still) often more developed (in ways other than their chest measurements).

In “Paradise” that is true of what actress Nichelle Nichols is given to do as our cast regular female, Lt. Nyota Uhura (whose first name I never knew until the writing of this essay) and what Jill Ireland is given to do as the guest character, Spock’s former girlfriend, Leila (who in the tradition of sex objects was never provided a last name). Normally confined to dialogue discussing ‘hailing frequencies’ and only seen taking orders from Captain Kirk, in “Paradise” Uhura commits mutiny against her captain. He has to state for the Captain’s log that, “Lt. Uhura has effectively sabotaged all communications.” While all the male starship members also commit mutiny, Uhura is given one-on-one screen time with the lead actor to do so. Likewise, while Leila seems at first to only be demonstrating that the most perfect, porcelain-faced blonde can even be sexy in overalls, she was also spouting Thoreau (as in Henry David) and his brand of 19th century Transcendentalist philosophy to Spock – and to the audience. For a show airing at the height of the hippie movement, Leila served as a mouthpiece for their dream of peaceful co-existence, one not yet shared by other generations. In several online interviews Fontana has chosen Leila as one of her favorite characters, so we know much of what Leila says comes from Fontana’s own philosophies.

Of course, in the end television was then (and still is now) a man’s world so Uhura’s and Leila’s interests are eventually subsumed by Kirk’s desire to prove, “Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is.” This philosophy discounts ‘woman’ as part of ‘man’ and makes the female-gendered idea of creating peace and happiness submissive to the more male dominant idea of success defined by changing the world around him. Why is a love of nature, as evidenced in Spock’s line: “I have seen a dragon… but I’ve never stopped to look at clouds before, or rainbows” less of an ambition for man? Even the American Founding Fathers cared more for the land and its beauty than these final frontier founders seem to do as they travel the galaxy. Why is the existence of this previous girlfriend and the chance to hear “I love you” from a formerly feeling-less alien male, less of an ambition of (wo)man?

Despite her straining to include her voice in this world, the male producer(s) still stamped their voice on the final product that became “This Side of Paradise”. Over the course of my career, I came to learn that Fontana shared that experience with many of the female writers who followed her, each one planting just enough seeds or dropping just enough breadcrumbs of her own opinion onto the fields of male creation for the rest of us ‘chick writers’ to follow. Where as a child I saw “This Side of Paradise” as an epic battle between sexy male leads, as an adult I see it as the continued battle for the hearts and minds of the audience waged by writers of different genders. It is a fight that several other sisters have carried on through the decades and one I’m willing to declare has been won by a relative newcomer to the scene, Shonda Rhimes. Through the creation of her own new frontier in Grey’s Anatomy, Rhimes provides male and female audiences alike with an all-inclusive world entirely conceived in a female mind. What do both the male and female doctors of Seattle Grace Hospital hope to provide their patients everyday? As Rodenberry provided a masculine ‘trek’ for man into the final frontier, the feminine goal Rhimes provides her characters is right there in the title of the hospital, ‘grace’. (And thanks to D. C. Fontana, Shonda chose to use her first name in her credits.)

All this musing makes me wonder how many young female writers are now coming to their careers because of a love of the way Patrick Dempsey’s chest ripples under his uniform shirt?


That’s it for this episode of Mindful(l)l Media “Thinking Critically about the Media we Create and Consume”.

Mindful(l)l Media is part of the 3rd Pass Media network. For more information, visit 3rdPass.media

If you have any questions or comments please send them to mindfull@3rdpass.media or via Twitter @rosannewelch.

Join me in the next episode for more Mindful(l) Media.

Video: …lay down on the grass and be cool. from “Why Monkees Matter” with Dr. Rosanne Welch

A Clip from this longer presentation: Why Monkees Matter: How The Writing Staff of The Monkees Brought the 1960s Counter Culture to Mainstream Pre-Teen Viewers

 


Dr. Rosanne Welch presents Why Monkees Matter: How The Writing Staff of The Monkees Brought the 1960s Counter Culture to Mainstream Pre-Teen Viewers at the 2014 Cal Poly Pomona Provost’s Symposium on Faculty Scholarship (http://www.cpp.edu/~research/)

Transcript:

…Also then, they save the plant before the bad human, you know, of course, our boys are the heros. They save the plant and the, the smoke that the plant creates? If you ingest it make you not want to fight anymore — just lay down in the grass and be cool. I mean, if that’s not an anti-authority, let’s all go smoke pot message, I’m no sure… and yet here it is on mainstream television for pre-teens — for 12 to 13-year-olds. 

View photos from this presentation 

Dr. Rosanne Welch presents on "Why Monkees Matter" at Cal Poly Pomona - 21

Description:

Based on a chapter in my upcoming book The Metatextual Menagerie that was The Monkees, which includes a series of interviews conducted with surviving writers and performers of the 1960s television program, The Monkees I will discuss how the writers and actors used the show as a platform for their own emerging counter culture/anti-war messages.

Worth studying for its craft and place in television history (the show won an Emmy as Best Comedy Of 1967) the program’s true importance may come from its impact on the politics and culture of the era. Considered innocuous by the network, thepress and the parents of the era, the storylines and jokes created by the writers and the actor’s ad-libs brought the emerging counter-culture to the attention of young teens whose parents might not have appreciated the message. Cultural icons such as Timothy Leary recognized the subversive nature of the program, seen through the writing and in choices made about costuming, hair length, musical guests (Frank Zappa, Tim Buckley, Charlie Smalls) and songs performed by the band brought issues of Vietnam, voting and civil rights to the ‘young generation’ for whom the show clearly had ‘somethin’to say.

Subscribe to Dr. Welch’s YouTube Channel

 

About the Symposium:

The 2014 Provost’s Symposium is a forum to learn about each other’s scholarly work, make new friends, renew old acquaintances, and enhance our appreciation of the rich and diverse array of professional endeavors pursued by the faculty at Cal Poly Pomona.

Video: Nyssa from Doctor Who: Feminism in the Whoniverse with Dr. Rosanne Welch

A clip from this longer presentation – Doctor Who: Feminism in the Whoniverse with Dr. Rosanne Welch


Watch this entire presentation – Doctor Who: Feminism in the Whoniverse with Dr. Rosanne Welch

Dr. Rosanne Welch (http://rosannewelch.com) speaks on “Feminism in the Whoniverse” of Doctor Who, the BBC television program now in its 50th year. She reviews each of the Doctor’s female companions and speaks on how they are represented in the program and how they represented the women of their respective periods.

Transcript:

Tegan comes alone and Tegan is pretty tough, pretty bossy, so they have to soften that. She can’t regenerate, because she’s not a Time Lord, so we’re going to add a second companion in this period, the lovely Nyssa. Nyssa of Traken. She’s an alien. Another chance to have an alien character coming with us. She’s actually a really cool character. She looks like she’s not real tough, because she’s got the fluffy hair thing going on, but in fact, not only is she equally intellectual to The Doctor, being an alien, she can match him culturally. He can’t think he’s better, right? “Humans are so much less than a Time Lord.” Well, her people are just as good as a Time Lord. They have a nice balance going on there and when you put them together, she’s a soft person to look at, but she’s a very tough character. She pulls him into place often and she’s younger than he is. So being younger she still has that mantle of wisdom that she brings to the story. Even to the point that, when it’s time for her character to leave the show, she doesn’t leave for a dude alone — she does meet a guy on a planet, but he’s a doctor and their planet is kind of like a leper colony and there’s been this disease affecting people fro many years and she wants to stay and help find a cure so the people on this planet can be healed. so, she has a social justice cause in her life. She gives up traveling, having a good time in the Tardis, to go do something of value in the world. 

Feminism in the Whoniverse was presented at the Cal Poly Pomona University Library where Dr. Welch teaches in the IGE (Interdisciplinary General Education) program.

This is the 4th talk on various aspects of Doctor Who that Dr. Welch has presented. You can find these talks using the links below.

Subscribe to Dr. Welch’s YouTube Channel

 

Video: Fanfiction Workshop with Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Melissa D. Aaron at Cal Poly Pomona

Fanfiction Workshop with Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Melissa D. Aaron at Cal Poly Pomona 

Fan Fiction Workshop

Slide1

 

Known for their popular “Doctor Who” and “Harry Potter” lectures held at the CalPoly Pomona library, Dr. Rosanne Welch (http://rosannewelch.com) and Dr. Melissa Aaron hosted a workshop on writing Fan Fiction in the Special Collections room of the campus library to celebrate April’s National Library Week and the “Unlimited Possibilities @ your library.”

The two professors and professed followers of fan fiction spoke about the history, style and variety of this popular form of writing and then lead the audience with prompts for a few drabbles (flash fan fic of 100 words written in 5 minutes). Thanks to all who participated and to Special Collections Librarian Natalie Lopez for inviting us!


Further reading and resources

Saundra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, Star Trek: The New Voyages

Henry Jenkins. Convergence Culture. NYU Press: New York, 2006. See also his web page, Confessions of an Aca-Fan: http://henryjenkins.org

The Organization For Transformative Works: http://transformativeworks.org

Jamison, Anne. Fic: Why fanfiction is taking over the world. SmartPop: Dallas, TX, 2013. See also her student’s research on Twilight fanfic: http://fiftyshadesofpopculturetheory.blogspot.com/2012/03/welcome-to-engl-5960-summer-2010-aka.html and her tumblr: http://professorfangirl.tumblr.com.

“A Fair-y Use Tale.” http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2007/03/fairy-use-tale


A fanfiction glossary

  • Fic: short for fanfiction. 
  • Canon: The source material and that which is agreed to be fact within it.
  • Fanon: Popular fandom ideas, usually arising from a seminal fanwork: e.g. nicknames, character traits or relationships (see Shipping.) May become canon.
  • Crossover: Works in which the characters or settings from two or more works are combined. 
  • AU: Alternate universe. Works based on a what-if scenario, or in which a critical change has been made.
  • Gen fic: “Generic” fanfiction; stories with no romance. 
  • Shipping: Short for “relationshipping.” Romance fics featuring characters that might or might not be romantically involved in the source material.
    • Canon ship: Characters are romantically involved in the source material. 
    • Fanon ship: Characters are not demonstrably romantically involved in the source material, but wildly popular among fans or a group of fans. 
    • Slash: Same-sex romantic relationships, generally not canon, or not provably so. IMPORTANT: slash is not the same thing as porn. A slash fic might feature a same sex relationship with little or no physicality. Porn is simply porn, and may include nearly any characters or group of characters of any gender.
    • Crack ship: Relationship portrayed is unlikely, bizarre, or ridiculous, e.g., the Whomping Willow and the Giant Squid.
    • Mary Sue: An original character, frequently a self-insert. The single most defining characteristic of a Mary Sue is to warp the canon universe and its characters to center around the new character. The character may be ridiculously skilled beyond age or experience, or all the characters may be in love with him or her. He or she often has a tragic past. Eyes that change color according to his or her moods are a warning sign. 
  • Fanfiction.net: Also known as the Pit Of Voles, this is probably the largest single repository of fanfiction on the web, and also probably its least discriminating. 
  • TV Tropes: A wiki collecting fandom tropes from a variety of media. Valuable, but also a dangerous time sink.

Music: “Brittle Rille” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) under Creative Commons License.

Video: Zor and Zam from “Why Monkees Matter” with Dr. Rosanne Welch

A Clip from this longer presentation: Why Monkees Matter: How The Writing Staff of The Monkees Brought the 1960s Counter Culture to Mainstream Pre-Teen Viewers



Dr. Rosanne Welch presents Why Monkees Matter: How The Writing Staff of The Monkees Brought the 1960s Counter Culture to Mainstream Pre-Teen Viewers at the 2014 Cal Poly Pomona Provost’s Symposium on Faculty Scholarship (http://www.cpp.edu/~research/)

Transcript:

Here is a lovely little bit of dialog. “They want to put the blame on teenagers. Take the war, for example. Whose fault is it? Not ours. We’re not fighting. It must be those crazy kids. They’re the ones doing all the fighting.” I mean, this is not just vaudeville happening. This is serious political commentary in the course of a teenage comedy show. You didn’t get that on Full House when that was the big program in American television. Now, my favorite funny part is in the very last episode of the show, so they got away with a lot. It starred this alien plant. If you look at it a little more closely, it resembles a plant that one wasn’t supposed to know much about. In fact, only in certain state now are we supposed to know about it. This plant has come and its power is being taken over by a bad human who’s using it to rule the world. Right? I think that’s funny. In the midst of this particular episode, they even have this anti-war song that they chant during a montage in the show and if you just take a peek at that for a minute, it’s kind of beautiful. I particularly like the last line, “Two little kinds playing a game. They gave a war and nobody came, ” which is the — it starts with a game and no one shows up, so the 2 kings are all alone. So, here we have this marvelous anti-war song in the midst of this.

View photos from this presentation 

Dr. Rosanne Welch presents on "Why Monkees Matter" at Cal Poly Pomona - 21

Description:

Based on a chapter in my upcoming book The Metatextual Menagerie that was The Monkees, which includes a series of interviews conducted with surviving writers and performers of the 1960s television program, The Monkees I will discuss how the writers and actors used the show as a platform for their own emerging counter culture/anti-war messages.

Worth studying for its craft and place in television history (the show won an Emmy as Best Comedy Of 1967) the program’s true importance may come from its impact on the politics and culture of the era. Considered innocuous by the network, thepress and the parents of the era, the storylines and jokes created by the writers and the actor’s ad-libs brought the emerging counter-culture to the attention of young teens whose parents might not have appreciated the message. Cultural icons such as Timothy Leary recognized the subversive nature of the program, seen through the writing and in choices made about costuming, hair length, musical guests (Frank Zappa, Tim Buckley, Charlie Smalls) and songs performed by the band brought issues of Vietnam, voting and civil rights to the ‘young generation’ for whom the show clearly had ‘somethin’to say.

Subscribe to Dr. Welch’s YouTube Channel

About the Symposium:

The 2014 Provost’s Symposium is a forum to learn about each other’s scholarly work, make new friends, renew old acquaintances, and enhance our appreciation of the rich and diverse array of professional endeavors pursued by the faculty at Cal Poly Pomona.

Video: Tegan Jovanka from Doctor Who: Feminism in the Whoniverse with Dr. Rosanne Welch

A clip from this longer presentation – Doctor Who: Feminism in the Whoniverse with Dr. Rosanne Welch

 

Watch this entire presentation – Doctor Who: Feminism in the Whoniverse with Dr. Rosanne Welch

Dr. Rosanne Welch (http://rosannewelch.com) speaks on “Feminism in the Whoniverse” of Doctor Who, the BBC television program now in its 50th year. She reviews each of the Doctor’s female companions and speaks on how they are represented in the program and how they represented the women of their respective periods.

Transcript:

We had Romana, a female Timelord. The only one we’re going to see in the course of the show. And we move on to Tegan. Very interesting. Very fun character. Very tough. However, the best job that we can give her in this period is she’s a flight attendent. That’s the coolest job we can give a woman. She’s not the pilot, right? She’s not even a military woman. She’s a flight attendent. Which is not a bad job. My friend has that job but even she says to me, “It’s pretty much Denny’s waitressing in the sky.” Now, it’s not. She gets trained to do all kinds of important things of there’s a crash and what not, but that’s the job we find ourselves giving the female in this period. Not an entirely, you know, super-intellectual job. I will say, it kind of interesting that the uniform and the idea that a woman in uniform — a person in uniform — is someone of power. That’s something visually that made them happy.

Feminism in the Whoniverse was presented at the Cal Poly Pomona University Library where Dr. Welch teaches in the IGE (Interdisciplinary General Education) program.

This is the 4th talk on various aspects of Doctor Who that Dr. Welch has presented. You can find these talks using the links below.

Subscribe to Dr. Welch’s YouTube Channel

Walking over the Monkees’ Star on the Walk of Fame

The Monkees Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

On our way to the Cupcake Theatre today to see their performance of Avenue Q I realized we were walking over the names of so many of the actors of our childhood.  Then I further realized that I had yet to check the address of the star given to The Monkees in 1989 following three years of fan reaction to all the hoopla started by MTV in 1986 when they began rerunning all the episodes for the 20th anniversary of the show (during which time I stayed home all the days of the Pleasant Valley Weekend and used my VCR to capture all my favorite episodes).  

Turned out we were only a couple blocks from the star and so we checked it out on the way back to the Hollywood and Highland center. The Monkees’ star sits quite respectably at 6675 Hollywood Blvd, right in front of the Vogue Theatre where Head premiered and as I remembered, it is a star with a little television box in the middle, adding to the thesis of my book which is that their television program was just as important – if not moreso – than their work as a band.   

It was weird to imagine all the people in the street on the day they received the star – but not hard to do since thanks to YouTube I have seen video footage taken that day of the speeches each actor/musician gave and heard the cheers of the crowd.  What a nice experience for all those fans – and how fun to know now, in hindsight, that the diehard folks were going to be treated to continued reunion tours every so many years right up to today when I’ve been able to take my son to see them – and to read articles by all kinds of people – from Penn Jillette to Rachel Maddow – talking about how much they, too, loved the show.  

Video: Many of our leaders blame us from “Why Monkees Matter” with Dr. Rosanne Welch

A Clip from this longer presentation: Why Monkees Matter: How The Writing Staff of The Monkees Brought the 1960s Counter Culture to Mainstream Pre-Teen Viewers

Dr. Rosanne Welch presents Why Monkees Matter: How The Writing Staff of The Monkees Brought the 1960s Counter Culture to Mainstream Pre-Teen Viewers at the 2014 Cal Poly Pomona Provost’s Symposium on Faculty Scholarship (http://www.cpp.edu/~research/)

Transcript:

I just like pictures of script to remember that there is a writer involved. I know the words are too small, but this is a script by Coslough Johnson. All the writers on the show, I have a whole chapter in my book on authorship — all the writers ended up winning Emmys later in life. He got his for writing on Laugh In, which was also a very politically themed show. He wrote an episode called “Monkees Watch Their Feet” and it’s about aliens taking over the teenagers of America. So, The Monkees are going to save the day for them. So, first of all, we have this patriotic business going on here — here is standing Mike Nesmith, with the flag and Pat Paulsen who, if you remember, comically ran for President back in the day. He’s giving a report to America about what’s wrong with teenagers today. It is that the aliens have taken over, but he talks about who we blame. “Many of us blame our leaders. Many of our leaders blame us.” This is ho the teenagers, the hippy culture, is feeling. Then more so, he defines Micky in this episode, as “Someone tormented by a war he must fight in a country thousands of miles away.” How can you get away with dissing the Vietnam War on modern American television in 1967? And they just blip it right through and you don’t even notice it.

View photos from this presentation 

Dr. Rosanne Welch presents on "Why Monkees Matter" at Cal Poly Pomona - 21

Description:

Based on a chapter in my upcoming book The Metatextual Menagerie that was The Monkees, which includes a series of interviews conducted with surviving writers and performers of the 1960s television program, The Monkees I will discuss how the writers and actors used the show as a platform for their own emerging counter culture/anti-war messages.

Worth studying for its craft and place in television history (the show won an Emmy as Best Comedy Of 1967) the program’s true importance may come from its impact on the politics and culture of the era. Considered innocuous by the network, thepress and the parents of the era, the storylines and jokes created by the writers and the actor’s ad-libs brought the emerging counter-culture to the attention of young teens whose parents might not have appreciated the message. Cultural icons such as Timothy Leary recognized the subversive nature of the program, seen through the writing and in choices made about costuming, hair length, musical guests (Frank Zappa, Tim Buckley, Charlie Smalls) and songs performed by the band brought issues of Vietnam, voting and civil rights to the ‘young generation’ for whom the show clearly had ‘somethin’to say.

Subscribe to Dr. Welch’s YouTube Channel

About the Symposium:

The 2014 Provost’s Symposium is a forum to learn about each other’s scholarly work, make new friends, renew old acquaintances, and enhance our appreciation of the rich and diverse array of professional endeavors pursued by the faculty at Cal Poly Pomona.