SATIRIZING THE INDUSTRY
- In "Challenging Sitcom Conventions," Lisa Williamson considers HBO sitcoms—their opportunities for self-parody, media-savvy target audiences, and the way they blur the boundaries between the real and fictional. How does Showtime's Episodes follow suit? Be sure to reference Williamson in your response.
- "Satire or not, Episodes is a rather damning (and, as its writing team says, 'personal') account of the incestuous inner machinery of Hollywood" (Denise Martin, TV Guide). NOTE: The writers' last series, the CBS sitcom The Class, was axed after one short season, and this follow-up comedy is, some argue, an indictment of how even the worst broadcast shows get made, sometimes in spite of a great idea. Explain how Episodes functions as an "account of the incestuous inner machinery of Hollywood."
- What is the overriding argument of "Reflexivity in Television Depictions of Media Industries" (D2L)? And how do Episodes and 30 Rock fit alongside the other shows mentioned (Entourage, Mad Men, Studio 60, and Ugly Betty)?
- 30 Rock's "TGS Hates Women" has been praised for presenting a multi-faceted view of feminism in a prime-time comedy show. Do you think Fey and co. succeed here? Why or why not?