From Meek Freaks and Geeks to Chic Winning Streak

For Research Writing we had to do a profile on someone or something, so naturally I decided to write it on one of my all time favorite shows, Freaks And Geeks.  The paper focuses on the show’s lasting impact on the world of comedy and where it’s major players have ended up.

Today the name Judd Apatow goes hand and hand with the term comedy, but in the fall of 1999 the name held no such power as the dreary but sweet pilot of Freaks and Geeks came and went with little fan fare.  The series aired twelve episodes before it was quietly cancelled.  At the time it seemed as if it was the end of the show’s legacy, but the series would go on to become one of the most defining cult classic TV shows once it’s 2004 release DVD, and launched the careers of over a dozen huge actors such as James Franco, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, Linda Cardellini, Busy Philipps, John Francis Daley, and many more.  Even Shia LaBeouf and Jason Schwartzman had brief appearances on the show at the start of their careers.  Freaks and Geeks is significant not just because it’s one of the greatest short-lived series created, but also as it became the building block for a large portion of modern comedy.

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One Community Under Gaga: An Interpretation of Modern Emerson Culture

The following is a paper I wrote that identified the culture of Emerson College.  It’s not directly about TV, but includes many references and one of my main points revolves around Community.  Also I figured I’d post it if only for the fact that in the part about Community I go meta within the essay.

Communities are often identified by the culture that forms around them, but the question of what defines the term “culture” is one of much debate. During a speech to the World Congress, poet, author and politician Aimé César claimed, “Culture is everything. Culture is the way we dress, the way we carry our heads, the way we walk, the way we tie our ties – it is not only the fact of writing books or building houses.”  This is a working definition that can easily be applied to help classify what exactly is Emerson College culture.  Emerson College is an institution greatly known for its acceptance of a wealth of different lifestyles, a place where everyone is encouraged to be unique and create a name that makes them standout from the crowd.  And as a student at the college, I can testify to the truth of that statement.  In a population that is meant to be so greatly diverse it may at first seem hard to label what exactly is Emerson culture, but the college’s dedication to media, communications, and the arts makes it an easy pick.  Emerson culture is essentially the same as general popular culture.

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Dexter – Season 5: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

As part of my winter catch up I marathoned through Dexter’s fifth season and decided to write my overall thoughts on this killer but frustratingly formulaic series. Spoilers for the entire season.

I loved Dexter’s first season. Instantly I was intrigued by the premise and was fascinated by Michael C. Hall’s performance as the titular character.  But like many others I found the following seasons typically a let down. With a premise that holds so much potential over time I’ve realized that the show will never be as good as it could be. It’s very much a formula with every finale wrapping the season up tightly with a little bow making the last episode fairly anti-climatic. With the first season it felt acceptable, and was in fact quite enjoyable seeing Dexter’s fantasy of being cheered on by everyone around him, but with season two it was a disappointment.  Season three continued the trend pretty closely with a neat, fairly boring finale (though I’m less harsh on it than most critics as I enjoyed the idea of Dexter gaining a friend and somewhat liked Miguel Prado, or at least the idea of him).  And then came season four, which although I felt took time to get going (the only thing from the first few episodes I recall was a fairly random plot of Dexter crashing his car due to sleep deprivation) it knocked the ball at of the park towards the end with what was a thrilling finale, and best yet one that left things tremendously messy for Dexter, quite literally.

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Branding The Cattle: Assessing Product Integration In Modern Television

Community (NBC)- “Basic Rocket Science”

Preface: The following is an essay I wrote in October for my Intro To College Writing course with the topic of advertising and branding. I focused on product placement and integration talking about areas such as The Office and KFCs October advertising on Community, Running Wilde, and The Good Guys.

Coke or Pepsi? At first this might come off as a seemingly simple question, but rather it is one that can tell a great deal about a person.  Someone who drinks Coke relishes in nostalgia, it takes them back to being a little kid and grabbing an icy cool Coca-Cola bottle out of the fridge.  On the other hand a Pepsi drinker is someone who enjoys being hip and staying up to date with modern trends.  The product is essentially the same, yet the market and advertising is completely different.  It’s not the product that matters much, but rather the brand.

In 2002 the UK business magazine The Economist ran an article titled Who’s Wearing The Trousers? that directly captures this style of marketing, “The new marketing approach is to build a brand not a product – to sell a lifestyle or a personality, to appeal to emotions.”  Advertisements try to convey this in quick thirty-second spots, attempting to derive emotion from situations with little or no context.  Needless to say this is a difficult task and one that is becoming less and less important when compared to rising use of a tactic known as production integration.  Product integration, also known as product placement, involves placing existing merchandise into a TV show to help further get a brand’s name out. By directly incorporating products into television shows the item becomes apart of a character’s life and can be a factoring point in creating their fictitious personality.  An ad can sell a product, but it’s product integration that can truly help sell a lifestyle brand.  And if done right, product placement can be an exceptional way to get an item on consumers’ mind without them even noticing.

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