Thursday, October 18, 2012

Labels and Life and as Rebel

I have been trying to figure out what it means to be in Southern Studies and wondering what will eventually become my thesis. During my short time here, I have been driving to auctions and flea markets, reading lots of heady texts with five dollar words on the South and watching tv with Southern themes. It’s amazing that the show Honey Boo Boo has the high ratings it does, as well as the visual fact that this family needs subtitles underneath them to be able to understand them. The label I have in this new place seems to be the girl from California. People ask about culture shock, expecting an answer to be shock about the South. Instead they find out that my family is from Texas and I grew up in Dallas AND Chicago. I’ve worked in the South in Daytona Beach with other Southerners, as well as in Flat Rock and Durham, North Carolina for summer theatre. I taught in Savannah at the college and own a house there. The culture shock isn’t a West to East move, it’s a teacher back as student and an older student navigating a group of mostly younger people in a new course of study. In watching Southern themed television, it’s been about Texas. I watched and was hooked on the new Dallas, partly after working with Linda Gray and in part I was the right age this go round-I was sent to bed around the time the original Dallas aired. I enjoy seeing how the series features the city that I grew up in. It’s pure soap opera but fun. Then with a swing of the pendulum in the opposite direction, I move to the Texas themed cartoon, King of the Hill. My mother once stated that the character of Bobby “is so weird, he’s normal”, and that probably covers much of the show and its situations. The pilot was on the other day and the subject dealt with a neighborhood that gossips and a chain of circumstances that lead to child protective services looking in on the family. What shows from the creation of the show is that it is a family that loves each other (and it’s one of the funniest pilots I’ve seen). The couple can’t have anymore children and they love and support the son even though he isn’t the stereotypical all American boy (his dream is to grow up to be a prop comic). The family is loving and open enough to take in a niece and support her in her dating life and attempted career as a beautician. Although a comedy, the show depicts a loving family and supportive group of neighbors in a Texas town. The comedy comes through pointing out and playing up the stereotypes. The small Texas town and football are two other stereotypes that play through in Friday Night Lights, although popular with critics, this show never found the audience it deserved because of the misconception it was a sports show. It was so much more. Many critics felt that it really showed a partnership of a marriage. The scenes with Taylors at school and at home really portrayed something that felt pure and realistic. I could also mention the outrageous comedy of GCB but in viewing all these shows, there stereotypes exist but the foundation and the core of the show comes from loving families. _______________________ _________________________________

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