Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the 21st Century by Amanda D. Lotz

By Amanda D. Lotz

From the meth-dealing yet committed family members guy Walter White of AMC’s Breaking undesirable, to the part-time basketball trainer, part-time gigolo Ray Drecker of HBO’s Hung, depictions of male characters confused by means of societal expectancies of fellows and concerned approximately altering American masculinity became ordinary around the tv panorama. enticing with a wide selection of indicates, together with The League, Dexter, and Nip/Tuck, between many others, Amanda D. Lotz identifies the slow incorporation of second-wave feminism into triumphing gender norms because the catalyst for the contested masculinities on demonstrate in modern cable dramas.

Examining the emergence of “male-centered serials” corresponding to The defend, Rescue Me, and Sons of Anarchy and the demanding situations those characters face in negotiating sleek masculinities, Lotz analyzes how those indicates mix feminist ways to fatherhood and marriage with extra conventional structures of masculine identification that emphasize men’s function as services. She explores the dynamics of shut male friendships either in teams, as in Entourage and males of a undeniable Age, in which characters try the bounds among the homosocial and gay of their relationships with one another, and within the dyadic intimacy depicted in Boston felony and Scrubs. Cable men offers a miles wanted look at the under-considered topic of the way buildings of masculinity proceed to conform on tv.

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Additional resources for Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the 21st Century

Sample text

The first delimitation is one of chronology, described most simply here as the beginning of the twenty-first century. As the following discussion explores, that era was characterized primarily by the emergence of television storytelling that began—technically in the late 1990s—to offer up conflicted and complicated male protagonists struggling in some way with the issue of how to be a man at this time. But two related concepts require further explanation beyond the chronological distinction of the twenty-first century.

And is inadequate for explaining the breadth of masculinities evident in contemporary television. Although arguably a less readily accessible and inherently “academic” term, “hegemonic” as an adjectival modifier better asserts the complexity of how power operates to make certain embodiments of masculinity seem natural. 33 Despite the flexibility presumed by sociological gender theory, the concept of hegemonic masculinity has been awkwardly used in media analyses. My deployment of hegemonic masculinity is strategic and somewhat at odds with how it often has been used in media scholarship, which typically begins by establishing essential traits of hegemonic masculinity and then endeavors to identify them in the media texts being studied.

Such a programming strategy hardly made it a competitor with broadcast networks, whose economics demanded an evening full of programming, seven nights a week. 21 This somewhat extensive explanation of shifting competitive strategies among broadcast and cable channels is necessary because the emergent depictions of manhood and masculinities explored here 32 << Understanding Men on Television overwhelmingly originate from cable channels. 22 Cable channels are the predominant outlet for the stories and characters considered here, and the fairly consistent failure of series focused on men’s lives or unconventional masculinities on broadcast channels such as What about Brian (ABC, 2006–2007), Big Shots (ABC, 2007– 2008), October Road (2007–2008), Eli Stone (ABC, 2008–2009), and The Philanthropist (NBC, 2009) further suggests a meaningful industrial component to this storytelling adjustment.

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