Florian Groß über 30 Rock: Vortrag in Regensburg

Auch Florian Gr0ß hält einen Vortrag auf der DGfA-Jahrestagung in Regensburg. Hier ist sein Abstract:

A Kinder, Gentler Americanization?: Transnational Cool and 30 Rock

International audiences often consume U.S. television series with surprising effects, as Ien Ang has shown with respect to the subversive global reception of Dallas and audiences’ critical take on the show’s celebration of capitalism. Yet, many recent television series seem to be aware of this subversiveness and deliver it already built-in. Especially genre-bending and style-conscious shows of the high profile Quality TV-variety routinely feature non-conformist characters and voice criticism of global corporate capitalism.

I want to trace this phenomenon through a case study of the television series 30 Rock, a metafictional NBC-comedy about the production of a live-action NBC show. The show mocks, criticizes and debunks corporate America and the global impact of U.S. media while at the same time being an international commodity itself. As such, it perpetuates a development that McGuigan has called “cool capitalism,” whose major aspect “is the incorporation of disaffection into capitalism itself.”

By focusing on 30 Rock’s construction of a particular audience defined by taste rather than nationality, I want to read its mocking representation of U.S. capitalism as a contemporary inflection of Americanization connected more to processes of heterogeneity than a homogenizing ‘Coca-Colonization.’ 30 Rock may never be a global phenomenon on a large scale like Dallas. Still, its international impact shows how contemporary ‘narrowcasting,’ through which certain groups of viewers rather than large masses are addressed, can become a transnational phenomenon. The imagined global community of shows like 30 Rock consists of active and subversive viewers who see themselves as parts of a subculture critical of globalized U.S. capitalism—and nevertheless consume a product tailored to their tastes by a culture industry that imagines a strikingly similar group. I want to argue that this paradox can only be resolved if we find a cultural analysis that mediates between the hope that audiences are critical subversives and the fear that they are passive ‘cultural dupes,’ and comes up with a third way of analyzing consumer capitalism.

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