This week’s reading delved into the ever so frequent discussion of hegemony within television, its power as a super structure, and how each respective time period featured television programs that reflected their respective zeitgeist. What is new to me is the position that the shows were not merely taking a side and pushing forth a specific political agenda, but instead as Newcomb and Hirsch suggests, is providing a space for a forum. Rather than looking towards one specific episode to see a show’s standpoint, an entire series can add depth to the conversation. Throughout its airing, shows often have moments of change through opposing standpoints and shifting beliefs. Even though not as extreme as primetime television before the turn of the century, few shows today feature this same shift as characters are older, or writers obtain new beliefs or new levels of fame. I think of even a cartoon like family guy, one that started off with messages and then perhaps somewhere in Macfarlane’s popularity, shifted toward tactless comedy. Also it was mentioned that certain shows ran the risk of complaint and even cancellation when certain topics became a bit too salient, and how in our day and age, with television spreading across multiple platforms and reaching niche audiences, it is much harder to offend. Often because certain shows may go unnoticed at first by certain groups, as suggested by Hendershot in reference to the show Parks and Recreation, it is easier to push boundaries and go beyond the status quo in ways former broadcast television could not.
I would argue even further that in today’s television, there are shows that still are trying to take on that traditional patriarchal hegemonic family structure, with often some kind of post racial, neoliberal attachment to it. I think of shows like Fresh off the Boat and Black-ish, which are essentially the same shows that All in the Family and Father Knows Best are, just perhaps with race being part of the joke more often. In other shows, mostly shows on cable, there are sitcoms that are taking more risks, putting there political agenda in the open through character rants, for example Master of None, where episodes are literally discussions, but favoring a perspective. Other times shows are so ridiculous that they lose their point all together and try to see how far they can push things. They both kind of disregard the notion of a forum since one clearly takes a point and cannot in my opinion be argued against by other shows with opposing views, since people may not know about the other show. The second example in a way destroys the forum by laughing at both sides, such as a show like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.